09/12/2012 07:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Autumn Leaves: Designing for Fall

Autumn is here.

As brutal as the heat has been, summer seems to have passed by so quickly. But then it always seems that way, doesn't it? Probably because we are all out there trying to do so many things while the weather is warm and the days are long. We make plans and time always passes more quickly when we have plans.

Some people dislike the onset of fall. To some it is sad, reminding them of the passage of time. To others it is the fact that bright sunny days become shorter and fewer. They may even dislike the fall colors because it reminds them of that.

To me though, the fall colors are the richest, most vibrant and soothing of any season. I love the mixture of golden and rust hues. For designing, they mix with almost every other color of the palette.

Sure, the usual rust, yellow and orange of past traditions can become harsh and hackneyed.

But when I think of fall tones, I think of muting the oranges into umber and sienna tones. Darkening the yellow into deep antique golds and subdued ochre. In designing with flowers, I love to start with the rich browns and rusts and then add burgundy and deep reds, or purples and even pinks or lime green and olive tones. Even white flowers can look gorgeous with autumn tones. Slightly burnished metallics of coppery and gold tones for containers and accents are wonderful with autumn colors too.

Lately we have even taken to carrying over some of these combinations into our winter holiday compositions because they are too beautiful to relinquish so quickly.

Almost anyone can make beautiful floral arrangements by selecting a few deep colors of their choice and then adding an abundance of branches or twigs from trees and shrubs; anything you can forage from your own yard or your neighbor's works. Autumn is time for the loose, natural look and the amateur floral arranger does not need to worry too much about design and composition. Just keep it loose and airy with as much texture as you can gather. Generally the foliage will last longer than the flowers so when the flowers wither, simply pluck them out and tuck in a few new blooms. Try to find some berries and pods to include. Texture is such an important component of fall arrangements. When walking down almost any residential street, you find great stuff falling from trees this time of year. Add fruit too. Fall fruit like pears and apples are beautiful, or artichokes.

Clay or other rustic containers work really well with this look. Wrap a glass or a homely container with burlap or linen (or even brown craft paper) and tie it with string or raffia. Voila! You can design like a pro.

Autumn is a season that calls our attention to Nature. It is a beautiful time of year, and I say "Embrace it!"