Centerpieces from the Backyard
Dig around a little and you'll find most of the materials you'll need to create these natural centerpieces.
Take the Plunge
Tired of blooms that wither and droop in the summer heat? Try this easy but elegant design by professional home stager and HGTV guest contributor Kate Hart (hartstaging.com), who uses it to give flowers staying power during all-day open houses. Use it to dress up your next outdoor cookout. Kate's idea: Place your favorite flowers -- either as single stems or bunches -- into vases that are tall enough to just cover them. Then fill the containers with room-temperature water until the flowers are submerged. Replace the water every other day and the buds will stay perky for up to a week. (Tip: If your flowers float, tie the stems together with light-colored string and press a rock into the center to weigh the bouquet down.)
For years, we watched carpenter and designer Carter Oosterhouse transform ordinary planks into jaw-dropping furniture and accessories on Trading Spaces. So we had a hunch that when we asked the star of HGTV's new show Carter Can to top our springtime table, he'd turn to his favorite medium: wood. Carter's idea: Gather leftover firewood or branches from the yard and trim them into similar sizes. Tie a few together in bundles and place them in glass cups and vases. Place some spring leaves underneath.
You don't need to bust out the burlap to celebrate Earth Day's 40th anniversary on April 22. Try this fresh idea from interior designer Michelle Adams, founder of eco-friendly textile line Rubie Green (rubiegreen.com). She found all the raw materials she needed at her local farmers' market. To make it, scan the produce aisles for root vegetables like onions, carrots and radishes with their stalks and leaves attached (flowering bulbs work great, too). Grab a couple of clear wine decanters or vases and rest one veggie (or a bundle of them) root side up in the opening, letting the greens dangle down inside the glass.
David Tutera, event planner and host of WE TV's My Fair Wedding, is known for transforming events from mangy to magnificent. No surprise that he was bursting with clever ideas for making over our bare dining table. His idea: Place a block of floral foam on a cake stand and prick stems of leaves, vines and greens through it. Add a few colorful flowers in between the greens, and top with a glass dome for a terrariumlike effect. Have leftover blooms? Lay them on small saucers or bread plates around the table.
Daring designer Genevieve Gorder worked decorating miracles on The Learning Channel's Trading Spaces, and she did the same with this month's centerpiece: Her arrangement comes together for about $6! The ingredients: a cheap bunch of supermarket flowers, a bag of colorful dried beans and some tall glasses from your cabinet. Fill each glass with a 2- to 3-inch layer of beans and add a few tablespoons of water. Trim one flower stem to fit inside each glass, then arrange the "vases" down the center of the table.
For the Birds
To beat the midwinter blahs, we asked designer Angela Adams (angelaadams.com) to whip up a centerpiece that brings the outdoors in. Famous for her nature-inspired rugs, handbags and bedding, the Maine native created this tablescape with twigs, spray paint and plastic birds. Re-create the look with a quick trip to the craft store and a walk in the woods.
After a day at the beach, bringing the ocean home is as easy as emptying your pockets. We collected shells, starfish and beach grass -- and dipped into our sand pail -- for this summery centerpiece. And these materials last, so you'll be set for a breezy get-together long past the summer.
Designer Vera Wang is well-versed in unfussy elegance -- just ask any bride she's dressed! She brings that same understated beauty to her Simply Vera Vera Wang line for Kohl's. So when we asked her to create a spring table for us, she dreamed up something fresh, clean and chic. Her idea: Pluck large leaves from your backyard and place them in bowls and pitchers. Add a few sprigs of sage and rosemary, and you'll have a centerpiece that's easy to love all season long.
South Carolina boys and authors Matt and Ted Lee have made a career of getting back to good old American basics. To wit, they created this centerpiece from the canned-foods aisle. To re-create the look, choose retro-looking cans from your own market, empty them -- to make a pie, perhaps -- and fill them with small bunches of flowers.
Shell it Out
Vern Yip -- designer and host of HGTV's Deserving Design -- has created the perfect hiding place for Easter eggs: a grassy centerpiece. Poke small holes in the eggs, drain the yolks and fill each shell with water. Add a few wildflower stems and nestle the eggs in a flat of wheatgrass.