Principles of Basic Floral Design

Do you have a good sense of color, balance and design? If so, you may enjoy arranging flowers into pleasing, eye catching arrangements. All you need are a few basics, some practice and lots of experimentation.

After learning the principles and elements of flower arranging you can experiment to see just how and when the rules of thumb can be bent or broken to allow for a free flowing of creativity and personal style.

1. Unity occurs when all the elements of your design harmonize in a well balanced and well proportioned arrangement.

2. Harmony is achieved when all the elements, flowers, foliage and container harmonize and compliment one another.

3. Proportion is essential in achieving a balance between the flowers, the container and the surroundings in which you place your arrangement. Two rules of thumb apply here, first, the height of the arrangement should be at least one and a half times taller than the height or width (whichever is greater) of your container. And secondly, the height of the arrangement should be no more than two and half times taller than the container.

4. Radiation is the illusion that all the flower stems are radiating from one point in the arrangement. It is important not to crisscross stems and thus create mass confusion. Begin each design by placing the central stem first and continue to move outward in all directions.

5. Repetition helps unify the arrangement, however be cautious not to overuse repetition, and thus create an uninteresting arrangement.

6. Depth is achieved by determining the height and width of the arrangement first, then filling in, making sure to extend flowers over the edge of the container to create a three dimensional appearance.

7. Balance is one of the most, if not the most important principle of floral design. Arrangements must be physically balanced so that they don’t tip over. They must also be visually balanced to be pleasing to the eye. Symmetrical designs are balanced the same on either side of the center. Designs are asymmetrical when one side is short and heavy while the other side is long and graceful. Colors need to be in balance as well, as dark flowers appear heavier than light colored ones.

8. Rhythm is the visual line over which the eye moves. This can be created by using dark to light colors, using heavy textures with softer ones, or simply by spacing flowers at regular intervals from the bottom to the top of the arrangement.

9. Focal point is the place that draws your eye by using the largest, darkest and most flowers, usually in a central location in the arrangement. Round arrangements do not have a focal point while contemporary arrangements may have more than one.

10. Transition is created by using filler flowers to transition from the large flowers to the smaller ones. Color transition is important as well to keep the feeling of unity in the arrangement. A medium colored flower can be used to transition between light colored flowers to darker ones.