The holidays are here and you know what that means: It’s time to pull out those Christmas boxes and get to your decorating! But what to do about the outside of your home? Don’t despair, because we’ve enlisted the help of the super-talented landscape designer Daniel Keeley of DK Design to write up a simple how-to on creating holiday arrangements. We love the natural flair of the arrangement he chose and can’t wait to try it ourselves.
Thanks for stopping by, Daniel! Happy Holidays!
1. Begin by selecting a planter or garden container for your arrangement.
Tip: It can be any size, shape or color you like. We chose an elegant stone urn, perfect for dressing up an entryway or for serving as a focal point.
2. Fill your container with soil, which will be what holds the various components of your arrangement in place.
Tip: You could also use sand or a variety of other materials, but we have found that plain old dollar-per-bag top soil works best.
3. Next, start your arrangement by using several leafless branches to âbuildâ a small tree shape. Just stab them down into the soil until they are secure.
Tip: We used Filbert branches because of their interesting shape, but you can use any type of branch. Simply take a look around your garden and cut or gather whatever looks good to you. You might even get a head start on spring gardening chores, by cutting branches that need to be pruned anyway. A pair of hand pruners will take care of most branches, but for larger ones a pair of loppers can make the job a lot easier.
4. Now is the time to add the pine cones that form the main lower detail of our arrangement.
Tip: We used giant Sugar Pine cones, but any size or type of cone will work fine. Use floral wire to attach the cones to your âtreeâ branches so that they drape elegantly down the side of your container. By using several cones, you can make an attractive cluster as shown here.
5. Ok, now you are ready to start filling in your arrangement.
Tip: To do this, you will need an assortment of various evergreen branches. We used varieties of cypress, cedar, pine, boxwood and fir, but any evergreen foliage can be substituted. Again, take a look around your own garden to see what varieties you can find. Look for leaves with different textures that will complement one another such as glossy magnolia, billowy yew, and of course holly. If you have a live Christmas tree, you could also use the lower branches that are usually removed when putting the tree in the stand.
Once you have gathered your greens, start by establishing a general shape with one variety of foliage. In our case, we began with cypress branches. Place the stems one at a time, remembering to maintain balance throughout the arrangement. Secure them in the soil until your arrangement looks full and you have achieved the desired shape.
6. Next, add other varieties of greenery to add texture and interest.
Tip: Use longer stems to complement the overall shape, and bundle shorter branches down low and toward the front for maximum effect. For our arrangement, we placed longer stems of pine and fir throughout, and concentrated pieces of boxwood and juniper (complete with berries) down low.
7. The last step in creating your natural holiday arrangement is to embellish it with a few final details.
Tip: Once you are satisfied with the overall shape and composition of your arrangement, add some finishing touches of festive color and exciting texture. We incorporated fresh berries from native honeysuckle and privet, cut right out of the garden. We also added a large spray of wine-red Nandina foliage for that extra oomph! For your arrangement, take one last stroll around the garden and see what beautiful bounty Mother Nature has to offer.