Design by Terrain: Late Summer Harvest Centerpieces


Last month in Westport, we welcomed Chef Vivian Howard for a very special Southern Supper with our friends from Garden & Gun. Along with the delicious meal, a highlight of the evening came in the form of gorgeous tablescapes from Design by Terrain. Recently, we caught up with designer Deb Herbertson for a closer look at her arrangements, inspired by the arrival of harvest season. Deb also shares her tips for dressing up your own table, below. 

Deb says, "My inspiration for this table design was the late summer harvest. I wanted the arrangements to reflect the abundance of the season's end. As the bright colors of summer fade, the landscape is filled with wonderful grays, pinks, browns, and burnt oranges. When gathering my components, I imagined a Dutch still life. Fruit and flowers are natural companions, and the combination felt perfect for the end of summer.

"The foliage for the arrangements was picked right out of the garden. I love the texture of interesting greens, so I started with ornamental grasses, smoke bush, oak leaf hydrangea, andromeda clippings, and some wonderful late-season rosehips. The blooms are a combination of dahlias, sunflowers, and Queen Anne's lace. I also popped in a few pink echinacea blooms to brighten things up. The palette feels reflective of the turning seasons, with peaches and pinks heading into grays and browns. For the fruit, I visited our local farmer's market to pick up peaches, plums, and tiny champagne grapes. You just can't beat that color combination -- Mother Nature is the best decorator!"

"When you're creating a tablescape like this at home, the key is layering. Start by placing a layer of ornamental grass (or almost any greenery you like) down the center of the table. This provides some nice texture and makes a foundation for your design. Putting together your florals can seem tricky, but it doesn't have to be hard! First, choose all of your containers; I selected a number of small, green bud vases. Your containers can be anything, but be consistent with your design -- all pottery, all glass, all silver. When choosing flowers, stick to a single palette for a cohesive design. Once the flowers are arranged, nestle your filled vases into the grass runner. Next, add lots of fruit that coordinates with your floral palette -- this is such a fun, easy way to elevate the table. Finally, don't forget the candles. You can never have enough votives and candlesticks!

"The best part of nature is that it's perfectly imperfect. Don't worry if there's an almost 'done' bloom or a brown leaf, because that's what makes an arrangement interesting. And remember, the most important things at the table are the people around it!"

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