Notes from the Field: A Stylist’s Tips for Summer Floral Arrangements

June 17, 2013

Text by Karin Lidbeck Brent

June, July and August are the busiest months of the year for stylists, as our shooting schedule ramps up to get featured homes shot during the summer season when trees are green, flowers are in bloom, pools are open and patio furniture is out.

Even though summer is a naturally beautiful season without much styling, having the right flowers and the right containers on hand is still important at this time of year, since flowers can make or break a shot. Packed in my car, I always have plenty of choices for vases in assorted sizes, because I never know until I arrive at a shoot exactly what is going to work.

Photograph by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Photograph by Karin Lidbeck Brent

The abundance of flowers in the summertime makes styling easier and certainly more fun. I use every source to find flowers and foliage, gathering and cutting from my garden, my yard, the side of the road, the woods, garden centers, supermarkets and florists.

One of my favorite styling secrets: I often buy flowers in plant-form at a garden center. I cut the blooms from the plant and then plant the pot. It’s an economical way to buy flowers and grow your garden at the same time! That way, I have more flowers each year to cut for styling.

To create floral designs with more interest I look for containers that are unexpected, like these sculptural butternut squashes. They look perfect when hollowed and filled with one of my summertime favorites, Dahlias!

Photograph by Karin Lidbeck Brent

Considering the room style, the colors and furnishings, I choose containers for the arrangements that reflect the room’s style. I am always on the lookout for objects that will make great and unusual vases.

Photograph by Michael Partenio

To me, each floral arrangement is a chance to enhance the space, like adding a piece of art.

Photograph by Michael Partenio

I’m sure you have noticed that the final layer are the flowers and foliage. Whether simple or grand, modern or traditional, they are the stylist’s way of adding life to a photo, and always the part I enjoy the most.