We Need Healthy Interior Spaces

Are you tired of the starkness of the minimalist trend? Does grandma’s 1970’s colorful and cluttered knick-knack décor have your head disarrayed? Then you are going to like the new design trend of Biophilic Design, which is melding nature with indoor spaces. 

Google Tel Aviv biophilic design (Office Snapshots)

Biophilia Definition via Green Plants for Green Buildings “We believe in biophilia. Biophilia is the instinctive bond between human beings and other living organisms and living systems. Research suggests that buildings that contain features of preferred natural environments will be more supportive of human well-being and performance than those that do not contain these features.”

One main factor for this healthy natural design trend becoming popular is the Covid pandemic, this has increased the popularity of Biophilic Design within common areas, public spaces, workspaces, and residences. People are working remotely more and creating a peaceful space in common areas of café’s, libraries and homes offices have become the spaces we spend the most time in. It makes sense to design these spaces more inviting, comfortable, and healthy.

What is Biophilic Design?

Biophilia is defined as the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature. Biophilic design, an extension of biophilia, incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views and other experiences of the natural world into our modern environment.

Biophilic design has become more popular and evident since the Covid pandemic, it was once of lesser interest has grown into an entire movement that aspires to transform our interiors by combining nature and natural elements into our interior environments.  

Design specialists suggest by adding several live houseplants and trees to a space will create a calming, balanced atmosphere, live plants also help filter toxins from the air. If house plants are not for you, painting natural shades of green, blue and neutrals is also a way to incorporate biophilic design. 

Another idea is to place furniture close, or facing windows as you view nature, large windows will increase the light in a room, thus melding your interior with nature, such as the sky and trees. Natural shapes will incorporate Biophilic Design into spaces with pieces of artwork showcasing ocean waves, trees, and flowers. Larger design examples are sofas, tables, and storage pieces with shapes with smooth lines (opposed to angular) representing tree branches, rolling hills or clouds in the sky. Here are additional components to help transform spaces to have more Biophilic Design elements in them. 

“It’s a movement, not a trend” By Shivani Vora When it comes to new homes and residential developments, biophilic design is quickly gaining traction. It’s a style that connects homeowners to nature with elements such as indoor plants and fountains, terraces, and gardens. Views of the ocean, mountains, and other outdoor landscapes also figure in. “Biophilic design is a movement today, not a trend,” says the celebrated designer Clodagh who has worked on biophilic-focused projects for the last two decades.

Principles of Biophilic Design

  • Environmental features: Incorporating well-recognized characteristics of the natural world into the built environment: color, water, air, sunlight, plants, animals, and natural materials and landscapes.
  • Organic natural shapes: Plants, animal, and shell patterns, shapes resisting straight lines and right angles, arches and vaults and domes, and simulation of natural elements incorporated into art, architecture, design.
  • Natural motifs: Altering the sensory experience of a space, change, and transitions; complimentary
    contrasts, the relationship between balance and tension.
  • Light and space: Understanding how, and why humans react to light such as warm, cool, shaped, filtered, diffused, etc., informs how to use it. The same relates to differing kinds of spaces: Shaped,
    harmonious, jarring, light and dark.
  • Geo-based references: The importance a of place is tied to meaning, Historical, social, geographic, cultural, and ecological.

Benefits of Biophilic Design

Biophilia is more than just a perspective, biophilic design has been found to:

  • Live plants increase oxygen 
  • Increase mood & feeling of well-being
  • Improve productivity
  • Reduced stress levels
  • Improve health
  • Mental restoration & reduced fatigue

Additional Resources

Portable Living Green Walls

Portable living green walls are the answer for small spaces that cannot hold a full scope living green wall. Your local plantscape company will have a design team that will custom design portable living green and floral walls for any type of space, from professional offices to residential homes.

Open or free flowing design style of today’s offices are not a trend, they are here to stay, at least until the next trend approaches. The style does lend itself to benefits such encouraging better collaboration among workers that leads to more creativity and company spirit.

Open spaces do have disadvantages, one being that the acoustics are poor, not to mention privacy issues. Enter portable living walls! You will have your choice to have a stationary wall or one that is easily portable that is on wheels. We have shown some examples below of situations that portable walls can be an asset within a space such as dividing work stations from a conference table and one that adds color and style to the decor.

Advantages of living green walls:
1. Improves Air Quality
2. Reduces Airborne Dust
3. Is a Noise Reducer
4. Stabilize Moisture Levels
5. Reduces Carbon Dioxide Levels

This portable living green wall has a variety of green plants with different color tones, textures and leaf sizes to add interest, the purple plants are bromeliads.

Key benefits of a Green Wall:

Improved Indoor Air Quality – Air that has been circulated throughout a building with a strategically placed green wall (such as near an air intake) will be cleaner than that on an uncovered building. The presence of vegetation indoors will have the same effect. These processes remove airborne pollutants such as toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, and other volatile organic compounds.

Noise Reduction – The living plant surface provided by greenery such as moss walls and green walls will block high frequency sounds, and when constructed with a substrate or growing medium support can also block low-frequency noises.
Value in Marketplace – Green buildings, products, and services now possess a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Higher Standard of Health and Well-Being – Buildings that feature and promote Biophilia have been documented as having a greater positive human health impact than those without. Studies have shown that visual access to natural settings leads to increased job satisfaction and productivity and post-operative recovery rates in medical facilities.

Here you see portable living green wall dividing a conference area from personal desks in an open office setting.
A portable living wall designed with red Antherium brightens up an industrial office space. The living wall can be moved to different areas of the open space to divide and areas.

Your local plantscape company can assist you with your questions pertaining to placement, design and to installation a portable living green wall. You can read more about buildings and offices going green in The Wall Street Journal and Green Plants for Green Buildings.

Top Eco-friendly green event ideas

Are you planning a Eco-friendly or green event?  Are you having a trying time dreaming up unique ideas to decorate with that will W-O-W your clients and their guests for your Eco-friendly events?  Live plants and trees are a true “green” decorating trend that is catching on and growing for all types of events from weddings to corporate events. Decorating with live plants is a creative way to bring the outdoors in, and make interior spaces more inviting.

Advantages of decorating with live plants and trees and a couple of examples:

1. Feature: They are brought in and placed by a professional company; they are picked up as well.

Benefit: No trash, pick-up or clean-up is needed by your wedding party or friends and relatives.

2. Feature: They are eye pleasing, add a natural feel plus they can be functional and there is no waste.

Benefit: Green is considered a neutral color, plus blooming plants can be used to coordinate with the color theme of the event. Plants and trees can be set up to guide traffic or hide unsightly areas without having people give directions or having to post signs.

3. Feature: Live plants and trees bring the beauty of nature indoors connecting life with nature, which is referred to asbiophilia or “love of life.”

Benefit: Findings have shown that our physical health depends on influences of nature the human bond with nature. Biophilic design can reduce stress, clarify thoughts and improve our well-being. This makes live plants perfect for weddings, parties or trade shows and corporate events!

Beach weddings are popular and pretty although the beach can be lacking in direction and placement for attendees. Plants can lead the way to the seating and to the alter plus they add color, beauty and romance! Trees and plants can define areas or hide unsightly areas, too.  Living walls with floral or with green plants are a big style trend. They are designed to coordinate with the events color trends.  Living walls are a beautiful backdrop for photos of the wedding party, and guests love them as they make your event very memorable! In addition no plastic or debris will blow away or be left behind and no clean up. The big plus is that plant rentals are not as costly as cut flowers!

Plants and trees will camouflage unsightly poles and columns used for tents and other temporary cover. The greenery will add beauty to the event too! An additional advantage is that there is minimal clean up, your plant rental service picks them up and takes them away to be cared for and utilized for another event, and that is a form of recycling!

David Monn a prominent designer and event planner utilizes plants and trees for quite a few of his events. We love this example of his work.

Trees are great for trade shows. Plants and trees guide visitors through isles and soften the harsh open spaces at a trade show convention halls. The nominal fees make good impact on your budget. Plants will also help cleanse the air of toxins as they absorb gases such as carbon dioxide and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and Benzene found in some plastics, fabrics, motors and machinery.


Plants and trees around the entire space make the room more inviting for visitors.

Trees can also mark an area, guide traffic or to hide unsightly wires, supplies or as seen here they are camouflaging a trailer.

We love his relaxing park bench seating area for tired attendees that is created around plants and trees at a food industry trade show.

Plants, trees and living walls can be rented through your local plant rental service. They typically have consultants that will visit your venue and help with design, layout tips and plant and tree suggestions. You can find a reputable local plant rental service here Plant and tree rentals.

For additional Eco-friendly wedding and event ideas search and start you own idea boards on Pinterest

Why are living Moss walls becoming so popular?

Moss walls are a healthy choice as they help cleanse the air, reduce noise and add a natural design element to a space without adding clutter.  Hopefully you have seen a moss wall, or possibly you have seen one without knowing exactly what it was!

Moss walls along with living green walls are the latest trend for live greenery in Interior design for esthetics as well as wellness benefits.  Innovators in the plant industry found that they could create dimensional art pieces that abstracted natural design, which could be custom designed to complement all styles of interiors. They began incorporating moss along with beautiful and sustainability hand-harvested pieces of driftwood and other natural elements, into custom vertical moss pieces.

In the plant rental service industry clients ask for designs that required minimal maintenance.  A moss wall is created from preserved mosses; therefore they need very little care. Your preferred local plant rental service company is able to custom design moss walls that are a work of art, or prefab framed Moss walls are available with customization.

(photo) -Modular units of different species of Moss are mixed with cork and stone to create a zen-like wall art.

Biophilic is a word that you have most likely started hearing about much more and it’s going to have an increasing influence on your world with interior design and architecture.  We have an intuitive and deeply ingrained attraction to nature, and a biological need for contact with the natural world.

The word ‘biophilia’ literally means a love of life or living things. (It stems from Greek and is the opposite of phobia. Phobia = fear of. Philia = love of.)

Edward O Wilson, an American biologist made the concept popular in 1984 with his book ‘Biophilia’. He won a Pulitzer Prize in 1978 for On Human Nature. In the 21st century, He defined it as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life”. In the last decade or so biophilia has been recognized by the scientific and design communities. There have been studies that show convincing evidence of the positive benefits of interaction with nature.

Research shows that it can:

  • Improve productivity,
  • Lower stress levels,
  • Enhance learning comprehension,
  • Increase recovery rates from illness.


(photo) Fallingwater, the famous house by Frank Lloyd Wright is a good example of Biophilia, melding life with nature.

Living moss walls will not only make your space look better, but it also adds appeal to the indoor air aroma and makes the areas air quality much healthier! Live plants, trees and moss use CO2 that helps circulate air throughout an area. They help remove harmful VOCs (Volatile organic compounds) from the ambient air while releasing fresh, pure oxygen.

If controlling indoor sound is a concern, try a moss wall! Distractions from noise are one of the top complaints from employees in workplace with open layouts. Reindeer moss walls have been tested and found to have a NCR rating of .9, that’s very efficient!

I hope I have given you some insight on the background, esthetics, and health benefits of moss walls. Now that you understand the theory of Biophilia, melding human life with nature and our surroundings, and how it is incorporated with interior design you will see why it is a growing trend in our health and beauty conscience society.

I hope this information will intrigue you to explore your surroundings and to find a space to install a colorful artsy moss wall. You can start with a moss bowl on your table or a small moss piece in a small picture frame style wall hanging.

You can find examples of moss walls, moss bowls and moss art on internet sites such as Houzz, Pinterest, Instagram.  You can also contact your local plant-scape business that are listed under Interiorscape, Plant Services and Plant Rental Companies.

(Photo) You can start small with a moss bowl. This moss bowl almost appears to be gravitating up to reach out to you!

(photo) This Moss wall presented in a frame incorporates plants to create even more texture and color for art lovers.

(photo) A representative from a Plant Service Company demonstrates how versatile a modular Moss system can be. This sample combo-pack shows Moss mixed with stone and bark panels for color, texture and design appeal. Panels come in many sizes or they can be custom designed.


Decorate With Plants This Christmas

twig WreathThere’s nothing like the nostalgic fragrance of evergreens at Christmas to stir the senses and conjure sweet memories of holidays past. For many, decorating both outdoor and indoors is a holiday tradition. Decorating with cedar, pine, holly, ivy and herbs is both simple and inexpensive, especially if you can cut the greenery from your yard.

Twigs of different textures and lengths are ideal, either natural or spray painted. Wire a few pine cones to twig for a festive and often dramatic look on front doors, fireplace mantels, or almost any flat or vertical surface.

If you cut your greenery yourself, you’ll want to follow a few rules or use alternative ideas to help the greenery retain it aroma and freshness.

Evergreen boughs are typical for Christmas wreaths, but look around your property for ivy, pine boughs and pine cones, magnolia balls and leaves, and ornamental grasses. Indian corn, corn husks, gourds, ferns, rose hips and air plants can add fanciful shapes, textures and colors.

If you have garden herbs, gather rosemary, thyme, lavender, mint, apples or crabapples. Use them in dried flower arrangements, bouquets and potpourri.

Soak greenery overnight in a wheelbarrow, ice chest, or bathtub filled with water so they can absorb as much water as possible. Gather more than you need and use the extra later for replacement plants. Did you know that if you recut the ends and pound them with a hammer they will absorb more water?

If you’re having an event, decorate just before the event for the best freshness and aroma. Another way to prolong freshness is to keep arrangements away from warm air flows and sunny windows, and mist daily if possible. Mist with water or with a wilt-proof product from any nursery or hardware store. As parts of your display dry, wilt, or discolor, simply replace those parts with your replacements plants as needed.

Tip: Take indoor wreaths or displays outdoors overnight to keep them fresher longer.

If you have small children or pets, be sure to use only plants that are safe. Check The List from University of Florida.

For ideas, we recommend Pinterest. Search term: christmas in florida decorations.

The Mighty Pumpkin

Nothing says October and Halloween more than the mighty pumpkin. Basically a squash from the Cucurbita family, its cousins are all types and shapes of squash as well as the cucumber.

pumpkin standPumpkins are prolific here in October—you’d think they had their roots in American Indian culture, but six of the seven continents grow pumpkins. Antarctica can’t grown them, but Alaska can!

Morton, Illinois is the self-proclaimed “pumpkin capital”—no doubt because Libby, a division of Carnation Company, grows their pie pumpkins on 4,000 acres in five counties in Illinois. They are grown by private farmers, then Libby sends in their own crews and equipment at harvest time during which they process 500,000 pumpkins a day from October to January. Conservatively, that’s over 42 million pumpkins!

Carving pumpkins is actually an Irish tradition! The great Irish immigration of the 1840s brought over 500,000 potato farmers to America after their crops were wiped out from a devastating fungus. With the Irish came their tradition of carving scary faces onto turnips or potatoes and placing them in windows or near doors to frighten away “Stingy Jack”, a wandering evil spirit.

The Legend of Stingy Jack

Jack invited the devil to have a drink with him, but didn’t want to pay for his drink. He convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy the drink. But Stingy Jack put the coin in his pocket, preventing the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack and Devil then cut a deal: if Jack freed the Devil, the Devil wouldn’t bother Jack for a year, and should Jack die, he wouldn’t claim his soul. The next year, Jack tricked the Devil into climbing a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While the Devil was high in the tree, Jack carved a cross into the tree’s bark to prevent the Devil from climbing down without first promising Jack that he wouldn’t bother him for ten more years. Not long afterwards, Jack died. God wouldn’t allow him to go to heaven, and the Devil had agreed not to send him to Hell. So Jack wandered into the night, lighting his way with a coal placed in a carved-out turnip — and has been roaming the world ever since.

In America, the Irish found pumpkins more plentiful and easier to carve than turnips, so their Jack-of-the-Lantern (or Jack O’Lanterns) simply became pumpkins.

Pumpkins are 90% water, fairly easy to grow, and are rich in potassium and Vitamin A. Their flowers are edible. It is believed that pumpkins originated in Mexico and Central America and explorers brought them back to their native country.

During the autumn season, the pumpkin is creatively used in interior landscaping, as well as on porches and gardens everywhere.

Effect of Hurricanes on Plants, Birds, and Bees

Just as birds provide a great service to plants by dispersing their seeds over a wide area, so too does a hurricane. The power of wind scatters seeds and fruits great distances. Winds that blow at hurricane force for hours and hours at a time in one direction disperse seeds to new locations. The new locations may favor germination, while other locations may not.

ficus in hurricaneBecause hurricanes are usually a late-summer/early-autumn event, the season is treacherous for the journey of migratory birds flying south from northern breeding grounds to their winter homes in the South. Two of the most powerful storms ever recorded, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, have impacted the birds’ eastern flyway to Florida and central flyway through the gulf states. In some instances, birds get “caught up” in the eye of the hurricane where they are carried along for hundreds of miles off course.

When so many trees and plants are stripped of their leaves, birds may find fewer food resources. Fruiting fall flowers may fail to bloom. Flooding can drown plants, and high winds rip their roots out of the ground. Insect populations may become decimated.

It’s been documented that birds find refuge in the eye of hurricanes and are carried off course by the storms. In survival mode, the birds often return to their starting point in migration.

Bees do surprisingly well in high winds, but when fruit, flowers and leaves are stripped from trees and plants, there is less food available for ants. Consequently, where plant-friendly bee colonies exist, ants may move into the hives forcing the bees out.

Hurricanes, like most natural forces, produce winners and losers.


  • Orchids use strong winds to spread their seeds.
  • Spadefoot toads breed during heavy rainfall.
  • Ground birds find ground shelter beneath downed trees and brush.


  • Migrating birds are blown off course and the weaker are separated from the flock.
  • Squirrels toss their young ones out of the nests when nuts become scarce on the trees.
  • Sea turtle nests on beaches can be washed out to sea before hatchlings arrive.

While researching for this article, we ran across a very interesting paper written in September, 1945, entitled Hurricane Damage to Tropical Plants. We believe this 1945 hurricane (they had no names then) has had a lasting impact on which tropical plants are used and not used in south Florida in the decades since.

Living Walls of the World

When it comes to using plants on the vertical spaces of buildings to help clean the air, Taipei leads the way. One of the first green wall concepts in Asia was built by companies that specialized in sustainable waste disposal and green energy and their vertical garden helped to camouflage a landfill site. Since then, the architecture has soared! The smog-eating Tao Zhu Tower, a twisting double helix of 40 luxury condos is the latest. Its 23,000 trees and shrubs will absorb 130 tons of carbon dioxide per year.Tao Zhu Tower

Bogota has embraced the green wall concept throughout their airport, restaurants, hotels and offices. It’s said that the 8-story Santalaia in Bogota could be the second largest green wall project in the world. read more »Santalaia

Designed by a French botanist, Patrick Blanc, the Musée du Quai Branly is a must-see museum for American tourists who visit the nearby Eiffel Tower. The living wall is 650 ft. by 40 ft. and covers the entire north side of the facade. learn more »Branly Museum

In Italy, the residents living in 63 unique living spaces in the Treehouse Apartments in Turin are protected from smog and noise pollution with multiple terraces containing over 150 trees. There are 50 more trees in the court garden to help create the “perfect microclimate” inside the building. read more »HT italy urban treehouse

The living wall at the University Claustro de Sor Juana in Mexico City is one of our favorites. Beautifully designed free-form art pairs with a touch of whimsy—a bicycle defying gravity. learn more »Mexico City

Whether referred to as green walls or living walls, the plants and flowers that thrive in the wall systems provide benefits beyond the aesthetics:

  • Overall wellbeing and happiness
  • Natural air filtration in their walls
  • Removal of harmful volatile organic compounds
  • Air and noise pollution filters
  • Thermal regulation

Studies indicate that hospitals with living walls have faster patient recovery rates, office spaces have fewer employee complaints and fewer sick days, and homes are more peaceful and tranquil.living wall hospital

Living wall by Pat For ideas for your home or office, or to view more spectacular walls around the world, visit Pinterest, search term: living walls

Finally, here’s the living wall we have in our reception area at Plantique. Come visit!

Who Let the Dogs In?

Studies. We seem to have a love/hate relationship with studies. From paleo diet studies to sunscreen ratings, on TV and the Internet we are bombarded with studies. Still, one study caught our eye: “Studies show how pets lower stress hormones, and some show that workplaces that allow pets see higher morale and productivity.”

doggieSound familiar? It’s very similar to what they say about having plants in the workplace! “Plants help purify the air and have a calming effect on workers making them more productive and less likely to make mistakes.” Combining plants with pets in the office is an intriguing cocktail.

In today’s hi-tech entrepreneurial office environment, more and more business owners are bringing their dogs to work and allowing employees to do the same. In fact, about 5 years ago a Greensboro, N.C. office allowed people to bring their dogs to work during a self-reported test on stress levels. While the dog owners mellowed out and breezed through their day, the stress levels of the non-pet workers increased. The study was published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.

Before we let the dogs in, office managers beware! Some plants are toxic to pets.

Plants Toxic to Pets

The list of toxic plants is long (see below for a complete list), but these are popular office plants in South Florida.

Azalea—causes vomiting, diarrhea and excessive drooling. Possible death.
Lilies—the Peace and Calla lilies may cause minor drooling, but the Tiger, Day, Asiatic, Easter and Japanese Show lilies are highly toxic to cats.
Dieffenbachia—causes intense oral irritation, drooling, nausea, vomiting and difficulty swallowing if ingested.
Sago Palm—If ingested, the leaves and seeds can cause vomiting, bloody stools, damage to the stomach lining, sever liver failure and in some cases, death.

For a complete list of plants toxic to pets, visit the ASPCA.

Plants Make Workers More Productive

officePlants-1839436Office spaces with plants have happier, more productive workers. In fact, a 2014 University of Exeter field study found that green plants increase worker productivity by 15%. In today’s competitive space, that could translate to thousands, even millions of dollars added to the bottom line, especially when you consider lower employee turnover, fewer sick days, and staff that are more focused on the tasks at hand.

The study looked at two large commercial offices in the UK and The Netherlands over a sustained period of time. This study concluded that offices with green plants increased workplace satisfaction, self-reported levels of concentration, and a perception of better air quality than offices designed for simply “clean and organized work spaces.”

In the United States, 10 high-performing buildings in 5 cities were included in a Harvard University study that found that green-certified office spaces not only play a huge role in our professional life, but can also impact on our well-being at home in three important ways:

  • 26% boost in the ability to learn and understand,
  • 30% fewer sickness related absences and malaise during office hours,
  • 6% improvement in sleep quality at day’s end.

If adding plants to the office can increase performance of workers compared to those who work in conventional office spaces, it could be surmised that adding plants alone would “pay for” the capital costs and maintenance of green improvements.

Another Harvard survey of over 200,000 employees worldwide reported that 77% of workers reported that natural light and air quality are important to them, yet only 58% and 38% are satisfied. Could your office benefit from “humanizing” the workplace by bringing in elements of the outdoors indoors?

Please share this article with someone you think could benefit from a greener workplace, or call us to arrange a visit with one of our Interior Plantscape Specialists. (800) 749-0124.