How to Create a Spring Flower Tablescape Outdoors

by Maddy Piggott
Spring table settting Photo by Julian Fernandez
Photo by Julian Ferndandez

There are few activities that capture the essence of joie de vivre like creating a spring tablescape — especially for an outdoor event. Dining al fresco, or rather en plein air, is a quintessential experience in France. The warm air and long sunlit hours beckon with the promise of days spent relaxing and evenings filled with revelry; outdoor life begins to seamlessly merge with the comforts of home once more. 


The French — notorious masters of design — unsurprisingly return their attention to their outdoor entertaining spaces at this time of year, treating them with the same care as the interior of their homes. Similar to indoor entertaining, outdoor hosting revolves around extending a sense of hospitality and creating a setting that evokes memorable experiences. At the heart of this practice lies the ritual of setting the table. Plates, tableware and linens are all carefully selected, and finally it comes to the flowers, which are not seen as simply an aesthetic flourish, but an invitation to delight in the beauty of nature and to welcome in the season’s feeling of renewal.

Inspired by the French appreciation for elegance and simplicity, we delve into the symbolism, techniques and joys of adorning outdoor tables with flowers. From handpicking the ideal blooms to arranging them with finesse, discover our expert tips on how to create a spring tablescape like a seasoned pro.

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How to select the right flowers for a spring tablescape

When it comes to choosing flowers for your table, the possibilities are endless. However, during the spring season, certain blooms take center stage. In France, where buying seasonally is revered, March and April bouquets typically feature tulips. With their graceful stems and vibrant hues, these iconic flowers symbolize sophistication and refinement, making them an exquisite choice for any table setting. Tulips are followed by delicate peonies in May and June, adding a romantic touch to your table, and from late spring to early summer, fresh lilacs lend a whimsical air to the scene.

While purchasing seasonal flowers is common practice, many people also take joy in cultivating their own blooms and draw inspiration for their floral arrangements directly from their gardens. This personal touch adds a unique charm to the table, as each individual creation reflects the beauty of what’s in bloom at that moment, creating a connection between the dining experience and the natural world just beyond.

How to pick a floral color palette

But selecting the perfect flowers is only the beginning. The next consideration is ambiance. Consider the overall theme of your event or gathering. Whether it’s a formal dinner party or a casual brunch with friends, choose a style that reflects the mood and atmosphere you wish to create. 

To achieve your desired look,  carefully observe how color and texture interplay within your display. For a traditional note, opt for a monochromatic color scheme using a single variety of flowers in varying shades. To add a playful touch to your table, mix and match different types of flowers in complementary colors. For a spring themed table, balance vibrant stems with pastel toned blooms for a gentle yet lively tone. 

It’s also important to consider the color scheme of your table linens, dinnerware, and surroundings when choosing your flowers. Opt for blooms that complement or intentionally contrast with your existing decor; the aim is to create a cohesive look that complements the outdoor setting.

Picking a design for your spring tablescape

Flowers in hand, it’s now time to play with placement. There are countless styles and arrangements to suit every taste and occasion, but here are a few French favorites: 

Classic Centerpiece

Create a stunning centerpiece using a mix of spring flowers arranged in a low, wide vase. Surround the vase with candles or greenery for added ambiance and sophistication.

Napkin Accents

Tuck a single stem of a spring flower into the napkin rings. Or fold the napkins around small floral sprigs for a sweet touch.

Table Runner Display

Create a lush and sprawling arrangement of spring flowers along the length of the table. Use a mix of foliage and blooms to add texture and depth.

Individual Bouquets

Place individual bouquets of spring flowers at each place setting for a personalized and thoughtful touch. It’s sure to delight your guests.

How to style your flowers

Once you’ve selected the perfect blooms for your table, it’s time to think about how to display them to maximum effect. Start by selecting a suitable vase or vessel for your flowers. Opt for something low-lying to ensure that guests can see each other across the table without obstruction. 

Consider using a variety of vessels and containers to create visual interest and dimension in your tablescapes. Wide vases are ideal for creating sprawling arrangements that cascade gracefully across the table, while tall, slender vessels can add height and drama to your centerpiece. For a spring tablescapes, consider using vintage glass bottles, which add a light and whismical touch. Alternatively, sleek and modern vases can lend a contemporary elegance to your arrangements, creating a striking contrast against more traditional elements on your table and the natural setting.

As your arrangement is taking shape, incorporate some greenery along with your flowers. Foliage like eucalyptus, ferns, or ivy can provide a lush backdrop for your blooms and create visual interest. Additional foliage and branches from your garden can be inserted into your bouquets or placed directly onto the table if extra volume and texture is desired on the day. 

Tips for a professional looking floral arrangement

Consider practicality: Keep practicality and safety in mind when selecting decorations. Avoid tall centerpieces that obstruct guests’ views or delicate items that may easily break outdoors. Opt for low-profile arrangements and sturdy decor that can withstand outdoor conditions.

Consider the scent of your chosen flowers: Avoid overpowering fragrances that may interfere with the dining experience.

Refresh as Needed: Outdoor arrangements may need refreshing more frequently due to exposure to elements like sunlight and wind. Be prepared to replace wilted flowers or add fresh blooms as needed throughout your outdoor dining event.

Arrange on-site: Arrange your floral centerpiece directly on the outdoor table rather than indoors. This way, you can take into account the specific layout and dimensions of the table, ensuring a perfect fit and optimal visual impact.

Don’t forget about lighting: Soft, diffused lighting, such as candles, casts a warm glow over the table, accentuating the delicate beauty of spring tablescapes and creating an atmosphere that is both inviting and enchanting.

Get creative: Experiment with different flower combinations, vases, and table settings to discover your unique style and create memorable dining experiences for you and your guests.

Written by Madeleine Piggott

Read Next: French Interior Design Inspiration for Spring 

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