Bring the Beauty of Your Garden Inside!

Floral arrangement

Posted on by plsadmin

Why spend money on store-bought bouquets?   If you’ve already invested in your garden then you have plenty of beautiful materials available to make your own floral arrangements!

Rules of Thumb:

As far as I’m concerned there isn’t a wrong way to make a bouquet so long as you like it.  Even a simple mass of color can make a spectacular display!

Mass of Bouquets

Photo credit #1 below

However, a few rules of thumb can help you design an arrangement that may be more pleasing to the eye:

  • Use odd numbers of materials.  Odd numbers are typically more pleasing to the eye so try using groups of 3, 5, or 7 of each type of flower.  A single flower will act as a contrast or accent within your design.
  • Give your design a low center of gravity.  If you put your largest and heaviest-looking flowers high in the arrangement the design will look top-heavy.  Your largest flower should be at the base of the arrangement, right at the top edge of the vase.  The sizes of the flowers should steadily diminish as you move up the design.
  • Create movement.  You can use your design to direct the viewer’s eyes.  Because your largest and brightest flower is at the base of the design the viewer’s eyes will be drawn there first.  If you continue to use steadily smaller flowers of the same type as you move up the arrangement then you will create a path for the eye to follow.  Try arranging the line in an ascending spiral or climbing stair.

Going further…

Typically, I make my arrangements using three types of materials: line, mass, and filler.


Line Drawing

Line materials are long and narrow and establish the bones or structure of your design.  I like to use 3 or 5 lines to fan out at the back of the arrangement.  Some good plants for line materials that you could find in your garden include:

  • Flower spikes from hostas, astilbe, liatris, baptisia, salvia, and veronica
  • Ornamental grasses like Karl Foerster or little bluestem varieties
  • Colorful twigs like red or yellow twig dogwoods, pussywillows
  • Twisted material like corkscrew rushes or twigs from corkscrew willows (‘Curly Locks’ or ‘Tortuosa’)



Mass Drawing

Mass materials are the showstoppers of a floral arrangement.  It’s best if they are larger flower heads with a coarse texture and bold colors.  Mass materials are typically the type you use to create weight and movement in your design.  For this reason, it’s a good idea to have a range of sizes from large to small.  Here are some flowers  to look for in your garden:

  • Large flower heads like peonies, roses, hibiscus, sunflowers, echinacea, lilies, irises, dahlias, and lilac blooms
  • Colorful succulents – especially ones that form rosettes that appear flower-like



Filler Drawing

Filler materials are, obviously, meant to fill in the empty spaces in a design without adding much weight.  This is typically done with green materials or small, delicate splashes of color to contrast or complement your mass material.  Some excellent choices for filler commonly found in gardens include:

  • Green materials such as leaves from dracena spikes, ferns (either fully open or as fiddle heads), astilbe, asparagus fern, eucalyptus, and rosemary.
  • Large leaves from hosta can be used as a backdrop to your design.
  • Small flowers like coreopsis, columbine, lobelia, gaillardia, geum, baby’s breath, lantana, verbena, coral bells, and pincushion flower
  • Colorful foliage like dusty miller, coleus, purple or variegated sweet potato vines can help add small splashes of color and texture.


These are some bouquets we threw together when we were cleaning out some pots at the end of the season.  It seemed a shame to throw the plants out when they were still looking good so we decided to bring a bit of that beauty inside.

Floral arrangement - bouquet (Christina's)Line: astilbe flower spikes

Mass: sempervivum succulent at base, zinnias (two yellows and two oranges)

Filler (flowers): alyssum, verbena, gomphrena, ageratum

Filler (foliage): duranta

This bouquet has an asymmetrical feel to it – the duranta foliage on the right side has a denser, heavier appearance than the delicate purple alyssum on the left side.

Floral arrangement - messy bouquet (Annika's)

Line: astilbe flower spikes

Mass: sempervivum succulent at base, snapdragons

Filler (flowers): zinnias, ageratum

Filler (foliage): dusty miller

Notice how the top snapdragon is larger than the snapdragons below it?  Also how there’s a large gap between the top snapdragon and the rest of the flowers?  These make the design feel top-heavy and a bit awkward.

Floral arrangement


I spent a bit more time refining the second bouquet into a more polished arrangement.  

I added a few more filler plants that helped to connect the top snapdragon to the rest of the design and lower the center of gravity.

This arrangement cost me nothing, took less than a half hour to arrange, and lasted an incredible 2 weeks for me to enjoy.  So go ahead, give it a try!

Want to add some more meaning to your bouquet?  Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board on the secret language of flowers!

All of the plant materials used in our designs came from some container gardens we set up in 2014.  To learn more about container gardening, check out some of our other articles:

Container Gardening: DOs and DON’Ts

4 Easy Maintenance Tips for a Beautiful Container Garden

Container Gardens: Choosing the Right Pot

Want to enjoy some containers but don’t have the time to design your own?  Call or email Annika and let her take care of it for you!

Office: 952-252-3301


Annika is the horticulturalist at Peterson Lawn Services. Call (952) 929-0422 to schedule a free garden consultation today!

Looking for fun gardening ideas – not sure where to start?  Check out our Pinterest page!

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Photo credits:

1) “2012 Sechseläuten – Gesellschaft zu Fraumünster – Limmatquai 2012-04-16 15-43-10” by © Roland Fischer, Zürich (Switzerland) – Mail notification to: roland_zh(at)hispeed(dot)ch / Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

All other photos belong to Peterson Lawn

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