How to arrange flowers like a pro


You can make a beautiful, perfectly shaped flower arrangement without floral tape or foam. Designer Rebecca Cole shows how to make a grid using just the greens and flowers themselves to create a gorgeous natural arrangement.

How to arrange flowers like a pro

Make a beautiful arrangement using the natural grid created by the branches of the plants and flowers themselves.

Step 1. Beginning with greens, find a V-shaped stem and place it in the corner of the vase, laying the leaves across to the opposite side. Then repeat that several more times around the vase until there is a network of crisscrossed stems.

Step 2. Begin adding flowers, slipping the stems into the natural grid created by the greenery. Use the biggest-headed flowers first. In this case, use roses.

Step 3. One rule of arranging is to always use an odd number of each kind of flower.

Step 4. Layer with one kind of flower at a time. Don’t jump from a few roses to some other kind of flower, to some other kind after that. All of one kind, then all of the next, then all of the next, etc.

Step 5. Finally, after the flowers, include some weedy grasses or flowers with different textures.

Step 6. Every few days, take the vase and place it carefully under the faucet, run the water a few minutes until all the original water is out and fresh water is in. This will help your arrangement last a full week longer.


I'm Rebecca Cole for I'm going to show you my absolute favorite way to make a flower arrangement. Not using oasis, no tape, no grid, no nothing; just all good, natural stuff. Now you want to have a flower arrangement with probably several different kinds of flowers, which is great. And what most people will do is they'll choose their flowers and they put one rose in, one tulip, one calla lily, and kind of jump all around and hope that they kind of fix it as they go.

Now. Layer, layer, layer.

And the first layer we are going to put into our arrangement is going to be our grid. It's actually going to help hold all of those beautiful flowers together. So in lieu of oasis, or tape or flower frog or something, I'm going to show you how to make a natural one.

So you take a leaf, any kind of leaf or woody stemmed thing like this, and we'll use both. And we're going to find the little areas of the stem that are the "V" where the little tributaries happen. Just about a half an inch below that "V" I'm going to make a little cut. All the leaves that are going to go into the water we take off because those leaves actually rot the water a little bit and start to rot the leaves. Now I'm going to take that "V," put it all the way to one side of my vase, and lean the flowers over the other side. Basically I'm crisscrossing my little tributaries kind of like this, and sticking them in; and as I keep building that and doing it, it's going to make a tighter and tighter little area, where later I'm going to put a bunch of flowers.

So I have it pretty even. Now I'm going to pick a flower, the biggest flower I have. Let’s say we're going to use peonies, or roses, or dahlias. Something with a nice big head like this, and I'm going to use these flowers next. Now one rule of flower arranging is that you should use odd numbers of flowers. And I'm going to put them in such a way that they're not exactly the same distance apart from each other. So that they really kind of look like, let's put seven in, seven of the same kind of flower.
So you see that here they’re very close and they have a little bit of a space. The thing that's nice about this is that right now that could be enough, you might say, “Call it a day. Wow, does that look great.” Well now we're going to add another layer. And now maybe the next layer is going to have a little bit of different color to it. Let's say these hyacinths; that's really kind of fun.

I've finished all my roses, now I'm going to do all my hyacinths rather than jump from hyacinths to calla lily to something else. This way you're going to be able to keep your arrangement nicely balanced. And, you see, I have four right there and I'll let you see the magic of adding the fifth one, and all of a sudden it becomes a much more balanced arrangement. Beautiful.

I almost like it enough right there. Sometimes that's enough, but why not go a little further? Let's do some little nubby thing. I do love it when an arrangement doesn't just stay all sweet, sweet and it's all flowers. I like to get cool little nuts and berries, and grasses, weedy things, because I think it adds some texture that's really nice.

Same thing with a garden. When you plant a garden, you want have a little texture in your garden, and not just big showy flowers. You'll see how adding these, this is crocosmia, and some of the things can really dance up above it. The stem part is not all that attractive, so what we're really doing is getting it so that at this point we're going to put the arrangement in, that's what we're going to see. We're just going to see the best part of the flower.

Now I feel like it's getting a little dark. This is why the layering is so nice, because you can kind of build it as you go, it's like painting. Maybe what you decided you wanted your arrangement to look like at the beginning is not necessarily what you're going to end up with. So I feel like I really need that color, and so I'm going to put that color in at least three places because I'm doing it in odd numbers.

There you go, a beautiful arrangement that's going to last you a good four or five days. Even longer if you take this vase over to your sink. Just so you don't have to undo it and do it again, sit it in the sink, turn on the water, let the water run all the way through, and the old water's going to pour out. Now you have all new water and you didn't have to touch it. Now it's going to last seven days.

meet theexpert
  • Rebecca Cole

    Rebecca Cole Floral and Interior Designer Rebecca Cole is now one of the most in-demand interior and landscape designers in the country and has been declared a 'stylish, urban horticulturist' by New York Magazine and a 'garden guru' by the New York Post. more about this expert »

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