The Guide

DIY Floral Arrangements: Spruce Up Your Space With These Simple Tips

March 7, 2016

It’s time to shed those winter layers and spruce up your space with some simple fresh flora.

We sat down with Heather (a studio based floral stylist, and the driving force behind Greenstems) to get tips on how to give your space that organic and natural Spring flair.  

Where’s a good place to start when making easy, effortless arrangements?

  • Shop with a purpose! Are you creating a centerpiece or side piece? Having a clear purpose from the start will make your visit to the flower shop more manageable and less overwhelming.
  • Choose the right vase. Pick a vase from your collection at home or from the store. One of my favorite local places for vases in Vancouver is Vancouver Special. Keep in mind that the larger the opening of your vase, the more you’ll have to work with your flowers in the arrangement!
  • Ask for help. Be curious. It can be intimidating to enter into a flower shop when you’re a newbie. Find a local flower shop you feel comfortable with and then go in and start asking questions! Don’t be shy.
  • Once you get home with your flowers, strip any leaves on the bottom 6-8″ of the stems. Make sure the stems are clean for the part that will be under water.
  • Always cut your stems diagonally to create the widest surface for the flowers to drink from and be sure to cut UP the stem on anything that has a woody stem.
  • Pay attention to light! The brighter the location the quicker flowers go through their life cycle. When possible place out of the direct sunlight.
  • Study your flowers – they change and they grow and it’s important that you take some time to get to know one another. Care for your plants and flowers with a little extra attention early on while they adjust to the new surroundings. 

How much should I spend on flowers and plants?

When it comes down to budget, the easiest way to allocate is for the duration of your event or pop-up. For a 2-day event, put your budget into floral. For a week-long event or longer, put your money into plants. With longer events, you don’t have to worry about the expiration of florals and can place small greenery throughout your space.

What’s the number one mistake you see people make with plants and flowers?  

Lighting. Don’t underestimate how important it is to know the lighting of your space. One of the best things you can do is to take note of the natural light in your space. Here is a great guide from The Sill with an easy light test to help you do this. Figure out what type of light you are working with and then bring that information to your plant shop.

What are some of your top plant and floral picks for Spring?

Spring is one of my favorite seasons. The flowering branches are so quick with their season that I always make a point of using these. Some of these spring essentials include quince, magnolia, cherry blossoms (don’t wait to see them blooming!). These are all florals that you don’t need a lot of to enjoy. I also love the simplicity of tulips. And if you’re looking for beautiful fragrances – check out the hyacinth.  

Do you have any books/inspiration for floral newbies?

I think the best thing for plant beginners is to attend a workshop. Nothing really compares to hands on learning. Some workshops even start from the very beginning, meaning you can pick your own flowers and then create your own arrangement. I’m a believer in workshops because you are surrounded by other enthusiasts that are eager to learn, and this makes for a great environment. Plus, they are really fun! If you only have 30 minutes, check out this quick online class from Skillshare that will teach you how to create floral arrangements with flowers from the grocery store 🙂


Heather March started GREENSTEMS in 2009 after spending nearly 10 years enjoying a successful career in  Landscape Design in Toronto, Ontario. Specializing in transforming her client’s outdoor spaces into an extension of their indoor living space, she has always been passionate about nature and the waxing and waning of the seasons.