Have you ever wanted to unlock your door with a fingerprint? Control the indoor and outdoor lights with your phone? You can do those things and more with a smart home. We show you how to get a home with connected technology and remote-operated devices that are designed to improve and simplify your life. We sift through the many options, including smart appliances, new apps, and smartphone and tablet innovation, and only bring you those that can make your life better. We give you tips and tricks for navigating the new home technologies and help you with buying decisions.See More
A classic mixed-flower arrangement doesn't have to be difficult -- use your intuition (and our easy instructions) to arrange gorgeous bouquets.
Make an impressive flower arrangement on your own. Just start with cohesive color scheme (we chose pinks in every shade).
-- Start by arranging the flowers in your hand, placing the larger flowers near the base of the group.
-- Pay attention to height and shape by arranging taller lilac stems near the top and back.
-- Lightly bind the stems with twine and place in a vase.
-- Fill in the gaps with sweet peas or other small blooms.
-- Insert a few leaves of greenery near the bottom to form a casual "rim" for the arrangement.
Skip the florist's foam and see what alternative materials you can use to make your flower arrangements sing.
Low enough to allow easy conversation, an arrangement in a silver bowl makes an ideal table centerpiece.
-- Use moist floral foam in shallow containers to give short stems more stability.
-- Build from the outside in: dangle white strawberries over the bowl's edge, then intersperse large roses around the base of the arrangement.
-- Place a rose or two in the center, then use hypericum, sweet peas, and pansies to fill in the gaps for a full arrangement.
Dark, vibrant colors in a bouquet add drama.
-- Choose dark flowers in the same hue, such as the ruby-red dahlias and maroon 'Black Prince' snapdragons shown here, so the color impact is more obvious.
-- Arrange the base color in your hand (we used blue lisianthus, larkspur, blue veronica, and aster for a purple/white combo), then insert a few dark-hued blooms in between. Fewer dark flowers gives more contrast.
-- Rim the arrangement with the wide greens of euphorbia, ivy, and hosta.
Long-stem flowers are great for large, full bouquets. To get this playful look...
-- Choose a few shades of the same color to make it easier to arrange -- then you only have to balance light and dark rather than different hues. We chose China asters and zinnias in all shades of pink.
-- Strip stems of any leaves that would otherwise be standing in water.
-- Cut the remaining stems to gather just over the lip of the vase and place in bunches at the bottom.
-- Fill in gaps with wild verbena.
Blue and violet are the flower arrangement harmonizers, able to mingle among clashing colors and generate tranquility.
-- For an artistic twist, purchase (or cut from your garden) small bunches hyacinths, tulips, irises, and hydrangeas in any shade from the indigo family.
-- Cluster the flowers in bunches in the vase, varying the shape, texture, and stem length. Place the brightest flower in the center to create a focal point.
-- Place a few leaves of greenery on one side to offset the bright colors.
Gladiolas play well with others; they add instant height and drama and bright, even color tones.
-- Use a large, sturdy container to hold the hearty glads. We used a clean, brightly colored bucket.
-- Place the glads in the bucket first, spreading them to cover the back of the arrangement.
-- Fill in with round clusters of sedum and ornithogalum to ground the arrangement.
Lush arrangements are easier if you choose flowers with large blooms, such as lilies, lisianthus, and roses.
-- Start the arrangement by grouping two or three of the largest flowers in your hand.
-- Add the other large flowers in bunches of two or three around the largest, making sure to vary height.
-- When you're satisfied with your arrangement, cut all the stems across the bottom and place in a vase.
-- Place several stems of longer snapdragons near the back of the arrangement, then fill in with tiny sprigs of greenery.
Peonies, one of the lushest flowers in the garden, get a fresh spin in this casual arrangement.
-- Large blossoms give you lots of impact and are easy to arrange. Just "stripe" the blossoms.
-- Anchor one side of the arrangement with flowered cabbage, place a large white hydrangea on the opposite side.
-- Line the middle with ruffly pink peonies, including a few buds for interest.
Ornamental or flowering cabbage and kale are surprising additions to a traditional flower arrangement; look for varieties with a sturdy, straight stalk.
-- Build this arrangement one half at a time by placing two heads of cabbage in a vase, stems cut so one is taller than the other.
-- Arrange the other half using flowers inspired by the lighter tones in the cabbage: lilacs, pink stock, sweet peas, and lisianthus.
-- Balance the arrangement by placing one or two lighter-color flowers on the side with the cabbage heads.
To successfully mix a large variety of flowers, try the clustering method.
-- Group like flowers together to create focal points in the arrangement. Try a burst of apricot-color roses mingled with dahlias, hydrangeas, hop vines, viburnum berries, and orchids.
-- Cut the stems fairly short so the flowers are low and spread into one another.
Having a rough shape in mind before you start arranging helps you make decisions about where to put each flower.
-- Achieve a cone-like shape by cutting stems in tiered lengths, with the bigger blossoms getting shorter stems.
-- Place the larger flowers in the vase, building a rim around the lip. Add flowers according to height, ending with long-stemmed fillers in the center.
A classic arrangement filled with eye-popping pinks and reds gets more punch when arranged close to the lip of a bright pitcher. Start with a handful of red roses and fill in gaps with pale pink, miniature coral-color, and bright pink antique roses.
For a country-style, relaxed arrangement, start with a Mason jar, a few long-stemmed flowers, and several bunches of fillers.
-- Group the flowers in your hand, cutting the stems to the desired flower height. We used soft pink tulips, white and pink peonies (you only need one or two to make an impact), pink delphiniums, and purple irises.
-- Place in Mason jar.
-- Fill in the gaps with lots of feverfew and cushion spurge to give the bouquet volume, making sure the flowers spread in all directions.
You don't need an endless variety of flowers to create a gorgeous and interesting arrangement.
-- Gather or purchase peonies in a few different colors, a few stalks of larkspur or another long-stemmed flower, and a few sprigs of greenery.
-- Arrange the peonies in a round bunch and place in vase.
-- Insert a few stalks of larkspur evenly throughout the bouquet.
-- Tuck greenery in beneath the peonies.
A far-reaching, multicolor arrangement like this looks way more difficult than it is.
-- Start with a dozen roses in any color, laying them in the container so they spread to all sides.
-- Add a few stems of sweet William for differing textures.
-- Fill the back of the arrangement with lush greenery, such as lady's mantle, pushing a few bunches in between the rose heads.
Like these flower arrangements and want to learn more? Sign up for our Better Flower Arranging in 10 Days newsletter!