Photo by Melody

Reflective Designs

By Marie Harrison (can2growFebruary 11, 2011

The Creative Arrangers group of my garden club meets once a month to study and do a specific design type. The topic of December’s lesson was “Reflective Designs.” Members in the group range from experienced designers to those for whom these classes are a first exposure to floral design.

Gardening picture

The group follows the guidelines published in National Garden Club's Handbook for Flower Shows, 2007 Edition.

NGC Definition and Requirements for Reflective Designs as published in the Handbook are:

  • Definition: a creative design containing material/s that reflect, give back image/s of light or other components to the viewer.
  • Reflective materials are placed to reflect light and/or provide visual involvement of the viewer with the reflective part/s of the design.
  • Reflective materials are an integral part of the overall design.
  • The reflective material may be shiny metal, plastic, paper, pieces of mirror, mirrored objects, etc.
  • Staging a design on or in front of a mirror is not a Reflective Design.

Before the designer can tackle this design type, some basic terminology must be understood. The casual reader will read, "creative design" and know that the design should be creative. However, according to National Garden Clubs, very specific guidelines define a creative design.

ImageThe NGC Creative Floral Design is an art form. In this art form, creativity, imagination, and originality are essential. The designer is basically freed from all the constraints of Traditional Design Style. Designs no longer have to follow a set pattern, and the designer can basically forget about gradation of sizes, forms and colors that traditional designs require.

NGC Creative Design Style, as in NGC Traditional Design Style, must adhere to the principles of design (balance, rhythm, contrast, dominance, proportion, scale). However traditional designs are designs IN space, while creative designs are designs OF space.Image

In creative designs, concepts are borrowed from different styles and periods to create new concepts and forms. Usually there is great restraint in the amount of plant material or the number of components used. Unlike traditional designs with one point of emergence and one focal area, creative designs may have multiple points of emergence, and interest or focal areas may be scattered throughout the design. The designer discards the notion that fillers and transitional materials must be used and works to achieve structural clarity. Designers learn to select fewer components but to use them boldly. 

Designers create space within, around and about the physical components by using the organizational technique called interpenetration of space. They may penetrate space by placing components that thrust from foreground to rear ground of a design, or from the rear ground to the foreground.

Here are some results of our class. Mouse over the pictures for additional comments. Look at them and consider constructing some Reflective Designs to decorate your spaces. At least you will be a bit more knowledgeable should you have an opportunity to attend a Standard Flower Show in which Reflective Designs are displayed.      




Image  Image

  About Marie Harrison  
Marie HarrisonServing as a Master Flower Show Judge, a Floral Design Instructor, instructor of horticulture for National Garden Clubs, and a University of Florida Master Gardener immerses me in gardening/teaching activities. In addition to these activities, I contribute regularly to Florida Gardening magazine and other publications. I am author of four gardening books, all published by Pineapple Press, Sarasota, Florida. Read about them and visit me at

  Helpful links  
Share on Facebook Share on Stumbleupon

[ Mail this article | Print this article ]

» Read articles about: Flower Arranging, National Garden Clubs

» Read more articles written by Marie Harrison

« Check out our past articles!

Discussion about this article:

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America