Bring the Great Outdoors In: Everything You Need to Know About Interior Landscaping

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The great outdoors is often regarded as the best place to be when rekindling your love for nature. But what if the weather makes it impossible to go outside? Will you forgo enjoying the benefits of a close encounter with nature?

The truth is, you don’t have to.

Lucky for you, there is a way to make the interior of your home feel like the outdoors. When done correctly, it can even help you achieve a greater sense of wellbeing, both physically and emotionally.

If the situation leaves you confined indoors, it is a good idea to bring the great outdoors in. And to do this, all you need is interior landscaping – a combination of elements and principles in outdoor plant design as well as textures, colors, patterns, and proportion in interior design.

This article covers what landscape design experts say about interior landscaping and how you can integrate it in your indoor home layout.

What is Interior Landscaping?

As the name implies, interior landscaping is a mix of two different arts: interior design and landscaping. In essence, this practice entails arranging, designing, and caring for living flora within an enclosed environment.

If you’re already familiar with the trade, you’ve probably encountered the terms “interiorscaping” or “plantscaping.” Both terms refer to the exact same thing, although interior landscaping is the most accurate word for the craft.

While the space being “landscaped” is not actually being reshaped, interior landscaping is still considered the most appropriate term to use for it. This is because you’ll also find angles, plains, and horizons indoors that can be accentuated, softened, or altered through the addition of plants.

Like outdoor landscape designing, interior landscaping also makes use of color, ornaments, focal points, and sculptural elements to achieve an eye-pleasing environment.

7 Factors to Consider in an Interior Landscape Design

While not all interior design companies can do landscaping and not all landscape experts can design interiors, there are still some people you can trust with your interior landscaping needs. Even so, it would be wise for you to learn about the different factors that should be considered when the design, so that you know what to look for.

Among the considerations are:

1. Flow

Like interior design, your interior landscape should also have a smooth flow within the space. Aside from making each element work in harmony, you can also achieve optimal flow when there is continuity between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to work in an open layout. It simply implies that there should be a common string that relates the inside to the exterior parts of the property, which can be through spatial transitions or clear views provided by windows, doorways, and even glass walls.

2. Form

The form describes the three-dimensional shape of a plant used in the interior landscape. When choosing plants to use based on its shape, you must make sure that it will fill an indoor area in a way that won’t overwhelm it. The key is to imagine what it would look like when it grows within an enclosed space.

When deciding on an interior landscape, you’ll encounter the following forms of plants that aptly describe what they look like:

  • Weeping – Weeping plants have leaves and branches that appear to be drooping toward the ground.
  • Columnar– Also called fastigiate, columnar trees have single narrow trunks that are perfect for areas with very limited floor spaces where spreading trees are impractical.
  • Round– These plants spread in an even, circular manner and are ideally placed in a space on their own so they would be visible from all directions.
  • Pyramidal – These can be placed between two pieces of furniture along the wall to achieve symmetry in the design.
  • Vase-shaped – As the name implies, these plants are just the right shape for vases. Their V-like form starts narrow from the stalk and spreads wider as you go up, with the flowers and leaves arching over.

To make sure the plant form fits the interior landscape, remember to consider the ceiling plane that the plant will create as it grows.

3. Scale

Aside from plant forms, you also need to think about the scale of the flora you plan to bring inside for your interior landscape. Make sure to consider the size of the landscape space. Pick plants that not only fit the room but also the exact spot where they will be placed.

Remember that, while an overly large plant can overwhelm the space, something too small may look out of context and fail to add significant visual interest to the design.

4. Texture

This describes how smooth or coarse a plant’s surface seems. It covers both the appearance and feel of the plant.

Plant textures can range between strappy and fuzzy or spiky and bold. Whatever the case, be sure to incorporate textures that offer contrast and interest in the space.

For instance, rooms with long window panels can benefit from mixing various foliage textures to create visual interest in a wide, open space. It is also a good idea to stick to pots with the same color to direct attention to the variety of textures in the foliage.

5. Color

Color is a crucial element in both landscape and interior design, which explains why it is also a vital factor when it comes to interior landscaping. In fact, it’s quite a powerful element that can either pull all of the elements together or throw it into chaos.

In interior landscaping, the plants, as well as vases and pots, add color to the design. Just remember to choose shades that are echoed in the other elements of the design (e.g., furniture, wall, ceiling, and floor).

6. Balance

Balance means there should be an even number of plant material on both sides of the focal point. Taking shapes and sizes into account, plants should be evenly placed where windows and doors are present. Aside from acting as a frame for the doorway, plants flanking the passage also serves as your interior design’s link to the great outdoors.

However, it is worth noting that asymmetrical designs can also be considered balanced. In fact, such technique in interior landscaping adds a relaxed or informal ambiance to the space, especially if you use several plants of varying sizes on either side of the imaginary centerline. The key is to keep the plant mass and visual weight even on each side.

7. Focal Point

If there is a space in the room that serves a special purpose, you can place a large plant to highlight it. The plant which would serve as a focal point of the interior landscape should be significant enough to demand attention, whether due to its size, color, shape, or texture.

You can even choose to place a big tree inside, so long as you put it close to a south-facing window so it can get sufficient sunlight to survive.

Landscape Your Interior

Landscaping the interior of your home is no longer an odd or unusual thing to do. In fact, it has become quite popular for interior designers to put more effort into incorporating foliage into their designs.

So, let this article guide you on your journey in bringing the great outdoors in.


Rachel Hennessey manages the Pools and Landscaping Division of Hennessey LLC. She also works on Tender and Pre-Qualification and brings in new business to the company’s Construction, Interiors and Civils Division.

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