Like so many of you lovely readers, I think of flowers as gorgeous little gems. I often identify my favorite style of floral design as “pavé”-style construction. In this week’s post, I wanted to share some prime examples of this compact and abundant, “flower-on-flower” look and describe some of its most valuable attributes.
Tips for Creating This Style of Arrangement
- Try using one type of flower in varying shades.
- Carefully clean stems so they are free of greens and foliage, leaving only the blossoms and stems.
- Flowers should be cut so that the blooms fall just above the neck of the vase.
- Work from the outside in — start by setting flowers in a ring around the edge of the vase and work row-by-row toward the middle. You will be begin to create concentric circles and the stems will form a “grid” in the vase.
- With each successive layer of flowers, you will have more structure with the stems and you can use this structure to support the next layer.
- Keep a “dome shape” in your mind’s eye and work to make the inner layers of flowers stand slightly taller than the outer layers.
- Don’t be afraid of the flowers jutting out at an angle; with each new layer, they will stand a bit straighter and taller.
- By the time you reach the middle, you should have a firm network of stems to support the taller flowers and they will stand straight up!
Image above: Garden roses in sweet peach and cream, including my peach garden rose obsession, “Juliet.” You might notice that this arrangement of garden roses doesn’t include greens or filler flowers. There is a purity to this design, yet the variety of colors within the soft spectrum and the range of rose types and shapes creates texture and movement. In this style, the technique is very accessible — simply clean the flowers of all greenery and cut them short so that the “head” of the blooms sit just above the “neck” of the vase.
Image above: An array of pavé-style arrangements viewed from above. These fresh green, purple and white arrangements are primarily single-flower, monochromatic arrangements made modern and sophisticated with a pavé design. Flowers above include roses, hydrangea, viburnum, ranunculus, hyacinth and sweat peas.
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Image above: A “creamsicle” spectrum of carnations in pavé style. YES, EVEN CARNATIONS. I am a champion of the simple, fragrant and affordable carnation. In my view, the pavé style is never more effective than when used to turn an oft-overlooked “wallflower” into a sensation. I love this arrangement because you can buy these flowers in any season and at your local grocery store or bodega on the way home from work. When cleaned fastidiously, organized into color blocks and cut short in a vase, even the most timid, amateur floral designer can become an expert with carnations.
Image above: Icy chartreuse greens and whites arranged in a snug, clean design. Flowers include hydrangea, dahlias, roses, parrot tulips, snowberry and brassica cabbage. So modern! The pavé style allows you to use traditional flowers like hydrangeas and dahlias and still craft arrangements that could exist in the future :)
Image above: A riot of hot colors create a fabulous landscape. This arrangement includes ranunculus, parrot tulips, celosia, cabbage roses, hyacinth and a whimsical touch of jasmine. Don’t you want to take a bite out of these flowers? The pavé style allows you to truly appreciate and investigate the incredible blooms on the flowers in this arrangement. Let flowers like this speak (or scream!) for themselves by cutting them short and arranging them in this chic fashion. — Sarah