Mckenzie Powell Design besotted blog i

It’s a new year and a new you, better than ever!  Let’s make this a year of learning, expanding your creative skill set and enhancing your life, are you with me?  Have you ever considered trying your hand at a floral arrangement? A thoughtful arrangement can be pulled together fairly quickly, is appreciated by just about everyone, and  there is zero commitment needed if the recipient isn’t head over heels for your thoughtfully chosen florals (silly them). Floral design really is an art, so we thought it best to consult an expert to find out the best way to approach building a small arrangement.

If you aren’t already familiar with McKenzie of McKenzie Powell Designs, she is a premier floral & event designer based here in Seattle (she designs for destination events as well). McKenzie’s florals feel simultaneously lush & organic, appearing effortless but in reality, every detail is carefully considered. We are head over heels for her work (and her), and are certain you will be too!

McKenzie’s Advice

To start, keep in mind that your container doesn’t have to be an actual vase. A beautiful pitcher, goblet, or candleholder could easily stand-in as the vessel of choice. Here I used a simple footed soup bowl with a bit of chicken wire to help me get started with a base of foliage. Chicken wire is especially helpful with more shallow containers, as the first stems will tend to fall out if they don’t have additional support.

Mckenzie Powell Floral Design how-to

When gathering materials for your arrangement, make sure you don’t overlook what’s in your own backyard. Of course you’ll want to get your hands on some beautiful blooms, but unique foliage and filler stems add so much interest with product that’s often at your fingertips. Even in the middle of winter, I was able to step outside and find a nice variety: pink snowberry, pieres, hawthorne berries and hemlock.

Next, look for a large bloom to add a focal point and weight to your arrangement. In this case, I used a few beautiful red amaryllis stems, but garden roses, peonies or dahlias are other good options depending on the season.

mckenzie powell floral design _photo by mnporteriLast, I chose medium to small blooms that would allow me to create different layers. I used the anemones and ranunculus to fill in and saved the small blush roses for the end to add an airy touch. You may also want to go back with any of your other lighter, wispier blooms or foliage if the arrangement ended up too compact or round. Personally, I love a more organic shape, so I let a few stems drape down or float above on their own.

McKenzie Powell Floral Design how-to photo by mn porter

Thoughtful packaging and presentation is always a nice finishing touch if you’re giving it away as a gift. A simple cardboard box wrapped in gorgeous paper and tied with some silky ribbon is not only the cherry on top but will keep it from tipping in the car.

Mckenzie Powell Floral design How-to iii

Photos by M. N. Porter

Author / Miss Michelle P.

Miss Michelle P. is a photographer, designer and co-professor for Souvenir Foto School. She lives in the Pacific Northwest. Her muse is light.



  1. Wow this is beautiful!! Thank you for sharing! One of my long time dreams have been to learn flower design. Thanks so much for the tips!!

  2. Great post and tutorial! I’ve always wanted to try my hand at floral arranging but for whatever reason have always been intimidated! For further learning, Studio Choo of SF just published a really fabulous book on floral how to called the flower recipe book. Highly recommend it!

  3. Oh Brett, I’ve seen the Studio Choo book, & you are correct – FULL of practical tips! I’m going to encourage you to dive in, pick up some blooms & start playing! Even if the arrangement isn’t perfect, chances are you will still get enjoyment from having pretty flowers around. :)

  4. So gorgeous! I have no knack with floral arrangements (ive read all the tutorials but the flowers never flop the way I want so Im obviously doing a lot wrong) so Im in total awe of talented floral designers.

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