With the “Sketch and Score Method,” you can plan ahead for that “surprise package” and score highly—with both judges and brides.

In this second installment of our series, I’ll explain a little more about how to use the “Sketch and Score Method” to prepare for design competitions and/or professional evaluations. Even if you’re not planning to compete or to apply for professional credentials, using this method helps you sharpen your design skills and be ready for the many surprises that life as a professional floral designer can throw your way.

Here’s how the method works: Think of a design challenge that is likely to come up for you either in competition or real life. Sketch that design to the given requirements (occasion, design style and any other criteria). Then evaluate your sketch with a score sheet containing the principles and elements of design. Adjust your design until you can give yourself a perfect score.

Next, make the design, and score the design, as well. Of course, the score you give yourself may differ from that of another judge. Even trained judges differ in the scores they give. But the more practice you get in scoring your own sketches and designs, the better designer you will become. We’ll talk more about scoring in future issues.

Once you get a perfect score on your sketch and your design, you can add notes about possible substitutions in your ingredients list and try these out, as well. In time, you will accumulate your own library of sketches, or templates, for different occasions and design styles.

This month, we’re applying the “Sketch and Score Method” to creating elegant, artistic designs in the category “Cascading Bouquet.” This type of bouquet requires a cascading line that falls down and just a little forward from the center of the bouquet. Here, the cascading line is counterbalanced in each case with design elements on the opposite side of the bouquet (the top) that are shorter than the cascade but have a similar visual weight. The greatest visual weight is given to the area of focal emphasis, which is accented with a variety of design techniques.

All three of the bouquets are made in medium-size straight-handle bouquet holders. In each case, the handle is finished with foliage (the first step in making the design).

In this bouquet, white Dendrobium orchids are used to create the cascadin line, which is balanced with a layered pair of Anthurium leaves. ‘Freedom’ roses occupy the focal area, reinforced by overshadowing loops of lily grass. Hypericum berries and groupings of white Freesia and of button spray mums are tucked next to the red roses, adding interest and texture to the focal area.


Freedom’ hybrid-tea roses (Rosa), ‘Red Mikado’ spray roses (Rosa), white button spray mums (Chrysanthemum), white Freesia, white Dendrobium orchids, red tutsan (Hypericum) berries, variegated lily grass (Liriope), Anthurium foliage, cast-iron (Aspidistra) leaves.

Hard Goods

OASIS ® Wedding Belle ® Holder (medium, straight handle).

Here, the template is realized in a green-and-white color harmony. Miniature green Cymbidium orchids dominate the focal area while the cascading line is created with lime-green rattan sticks. The visual weight of the slender rattan sticks is enhanced by gathering the sticks together into groups and banding them with bullion wire. The bullion wire also allows for the bending of the rattan sticks into shapes that may be considered to resemble leaves or tails of wide ribbon.


Miniature green Cymbidium orchids, white Freesia, green carnations (Dianthus), green tutsan (Hypericum) berries, Anthurium foliage, variegated Japanese Pittosporum.

Hard Goods

OASIS ® Wedding Belle ® Holder (medium, straight handle), OASIS TM Midollino Sticks (Apple Green), OASIS TM Bullion Wire (Apple Green).

Red Anthurium, backed with a large Philodendron leaf, give this version of the template design a bold and dramatic look. Bent Equisetum is used to balance the weight of the red Anthurium. White and light green materials occupy the upper part of the focal area: lily buds are inserted together in a tight grouping, along with ‘Green Ball’ Dianthus and miniature green Hydrangea, plus a green Cymbidium orchid bloom that serves to harmonize the red and green halves of the bouquet.


Red Anthurium, ‘Red Mikado’ spray roses (Rosa), green Cymbidium orchid, miniature green Hydrangea, ‘Starfighter’ Oriental-hybrid lily (Lilium) buds, ‘Green Ball’ Dianthus, horsetail (Equisetum), Philodendron ‘Xanadu’/‘Winterbourn’ leaf, Fatsia japonica leaves, lily grass (Liriope).

Hard Goods

OASIS ® Wedding Belle ® Holder (medium, straight handle), OASIS TM Bullion Wire (Red).