Beyond the Vine

Practice makes perfect: Hone your design style with a decorative, hanging garland this season.


If you are a creative person, then chances are your friends always put you in charge of “crafty tasks”— like tiling their backsplash, or telling them where their new staghorn fern should go (and then hanging it for them). They say to you, “I’m just not that creative. I need your eye.”

But, you see, we are all naturally creative, and for the most part the old adage is true: Practice really does make perfect. The longer you study something, the better you get at it; the more tools you accumulate to perfect the process.

There are two things to practice when thinking creatively: your source of inspiration and your strategy.

Inspiration: Why am I doing this? You need this catalyst to get your wheels turning and to start thinking of ways to execute the project.

Strategy: What’s in my tool box that can be used for this project? Think about who might have skills you don’t have to help you complete a project, and also consider the steps involved and what materials you need to source.

The more you practice this inspire-strategize design cycle, the better you will become at it. You’ll acquire more tools to get the job done faster and more efficiently. You’ll become skilled at using those tools, and you will build muscle memory — you’ll know where to look for things that you didn’t even know existed before!

Design is the planning and purpose behind a project.

Since inspiration is the most essential element to the design cycle, let this project inspire you to host a festive outdoor dinner party this summer. Think of a reason to celebrate! (There are so many.) Your children will be home visiting from college. Your best friend just had a new baby and you want to host them for a relaxing dinner. You are young and new to town, and you want to entertain guests at your place and let them get to know you!

Your inspirations are your own, but this setup shows how you can create a different take on the popular table garland. By building a simple PVC structure, you can create a beautiful hanging piece over your table. For those handier than the rest of us, you could even build your frame out of copper pipe or wood!

A line of bud vases and vintage glass bottles creates a version of a floral garland that highlights the beauty of each bloom and creates a wall of color.


Forgeable vines make for great hanging garland — wisteria, passion vine, morning glories, ivy, and southern smilax just to name a few. And remember, leaves of three, let it be!


Using evenly spaced zip ties, securely affix garland to your canopy frame, and then carefully tuck greenery around the plastic so it is hidden from view.


PVC pipe and fittings, PVC cutter, measuring tape, and zip ties are all you need to construct your garland.

Suzie Bunn is the owner and creative director of Statice, a Greenville-based floral design studio. Find her at



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