How to Create a Front-Facing Vase Arrangement

These step-by-step instructions show you how to arrange a vase of flowers in a simple but effective front-facing design.

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Add Small Stems of Foliage to Final ArrangementEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Fresh Flower Arranging © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

These straightforward steps will equip you with all the essential knowledge and skills you need to create any vase arrangement.

Before you arrange your flowers and foliage, cut the stems at an angle (keeping all the stems as long as possible until you arrange them), split any woody stems, take the pollen out of lilies (if using) and give them all a long drink in deep water.

Materials Needed:

  • flared vase
  • sterilizing tablet or flower food (if using a clear glass vase)
  • chicken wire (optional if using an opaque vase)
  • florist's scissors
  • foliage (2 types)
  • flowers (4 types)

Prep the Vase and Flowers

Fill a clean, well-washed, flared vase with fresh water and - if you are using a clear glass vase - add a sterilizing tablet. Sort all the flowers and foliage into separate piles. Ideally, you want to have 5-8 stems each of two different types of foliage and 3-5 stems each of four different types of flower.

(From left: eucalyptus and ruscus stems, pink lisianthus, dark pink snapdragons, pink single roses and pink lilies)

Mix of Flowers for Front Facing ArrangementEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Fresh Flower Arranging © 2011 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Position the Stems in the Vase

Place 3-4 stems of one type of foliage in the vase (image 1). These stems will naturally fall at an angle against the sides of the vase, creating a loose fan shape, and form a basic framework. They are designed to be slightly shorter than the other foliage. If you use an opaque vase, insert chicken wire into the vase first to ensure that each stem rests at the correct angle (image 2).

Add More Foliage

Add the second type of foliage in between the first stems. Stand each stem in front of the vase first to compare it to the display and gauge how much to trim it (image 1). Then cut and split it again and add it to the arrangement at an angle. If it still looks too tall, recut it and arrange it again. Shorter stems of foliage should stand at the front of the vase, with longer stems at the back and sides.

Once you have built up a fan shape that is basic, but still quite sparse, stop adding any more foliage for now (image 2).

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Excerpted from Fresh Flower Arranging

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2011

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