There are many ways to design “pool floats”; this one is fast, easy and budget friendly.
Floral design, photography and text by Nita Robertson, AIFD, CFD
Floating arrangements in pools are showstopping additions to event décor, and you can design them in myriad sizes and shapes, using virtually any type of botanicals (depending on the temperature and time of day of the event.) Balance and weight are key to creating floating designs so that they will float level and not tip over. You can use various items to create bases for floating arrangements, including polystyrene foam sheets, wreaths, hearts and orbs; polyethylene foam pool noodles; Hula-Hoops; and floral-foam wreaths, hearts and tiles with plastic bases. For this quick, easy and economical float base, I chose pool noodles. And in keeping with the spirt of “American Grown Flowers and Foliage Month” (July), I used all Certified American Grown flowers and foliage.
STEP BY STEP
To create a floatable base for the design, bind four equal lengths* of polyethylene foam pool noodles together with zip ties. Bind the first noodle to the second noodle, then bind the second noodle to the third, and so on. Next, bind appropriately sized lengths of pool noodles around the edges of the “raft,” atop the first layer of pool noodles, to create a “well” for the arrangement container.
* The number of pool noodles needed and their lengths will be determined by the desired size of the design.
Cover the outer edges of the pool noodle “raft,” as well as any other surfaces of the pool noodles that would be visible, with banana leaves, securing them to the “raft” with greening pins. Alternatively, any large elongated leaves, such as Aspidistra, ti, ginger, Dracaena, etc., will also accomplish the task of camouflaging the pool noodles.
Form chicken wire into a “pillow”-shaped structure, to fit inside the rectangular arrangement container; this will be the design mechanic. Tape the chicken-wire structure into the container with waterproof tape. Fill the container with flower nutrient solution (or water).
Arrange fresh flowers and foliages into the container, beginning with Japanese aralia leaves (or other large broadleaf foliage such as Monstera Alocasia, fan palm, etc.), to create a wide base that will extend beyond the edges of the pool-noodle “raft.” When arranging the flowers and additional foliages, create physical balance by evenly distributing the weight of the materials. Group flowers and foliages—especially smaller blooms—to create maximum visual impact. Remember, this design will likely be viewed from a distance.
Tie at least two lengths of thick monofilament (at least 25 pound test) to various places on the sides of the “raft”; these lines will enable you to anchor the floating design in the center of the pool by tying the ends to secure structures or other points around the edge of the pool, such as ladders, diving-board bases, etc.
Alternatively, tie one end of a length of thicker monofilament to the center of the bottom of the “raft” and the other end to a brick, a construction block/CMU or other heavy “weight.” This anchor will rest of the pool floor, directly below the floating arrangement, so you need to know the pool depth at the center of the pool. NOTE: Even when painted the same color as the pool floor, these anchors are often still visible.
Without anchor lines or weights, the floating arrangement will likely drift toward the pool skimmer(s)/filtration system.
Design multiple arrangements for a pool and/or float individual flowers, balloons or plastic orbs/ornaments in the water, to create greater impact. Weight single blooms, balloons or ornaments with monofilament and metal fishing weights or sinkers.
DESIGN TIP: For additional drama at night, incorporate solar-powered yard/pathway lights or landscape spotlights into the floating design.
BOTANICALS FROM CERTIFIED AMERICAN GROWN FLOWER FARMS
• Helianthus annuus (sunflower, mirasol)
• Ranunculus spp. Butterfly™ series (butterfly buttercup, butterfly crowfoot, butterfly Ranunculus)
• Nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist, devil-in-a-bush, wild fennel)
• Musa acuminata (banana leaf, plantain leaf)
• Fatsia japonica (Japanese aralia, glossy-leaved paper plant)
• Aucuba japonica (spotted laurel, Japanese laurel, gold-dust plant)
• Asparagus virgatus (tree fern, tiki fern, broom fern)
• Mentha spp. (mint)
• Pool noodles
• Lightweight rectangular container
• OASIS™ Florist Netting (chicken wire)
• OASIS® Waterproof Tape
• OASIS™ Greening Pins
• Zip ties (long)