Designing a Beautiful Indoor Garden



A good garden never goes out of style – especially when it’s in your home. Green plants and vibrant flowers are a timeless way to enhance indoor spaces, and a thoughtfully designed indoor garden can add calm and vibrancy.

“Green, of course, is a mood lifter,” said Funda Durukan, owner of New York-based interior design firm Durukan Design. “Aside from green accents, it enhances the ambiance with its intense natural energy.”

Small or large, an indoor garden is the perfect way to create a slice of botanical bliss that doesn’t clash with other types of home decor. Fun planters, sculptural elements, and even herbs can bring an indoor garden to life and act as a statement space or place to relax. There really are no rules when it comes to designing the space, but these tips from design experts can help create something that seamlessly integrates elements of nature for balanced indoor/outdoor living.

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Consider the environment

“A courtyard/garden should be viewed as an interior space and experienced as an extension of the interior space of a home. Important things to consider include how you move around or through the garden and how other spaces interact and are viewed with the garden and landscape.

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“Know your environment and work with plant species that thrive in their natural environment and can be cared for to keep them healthy and colourful. Remember that the color palette of a landscape should affect interiors and vice versa.

“Work with the climate, the landscape and be realistic about what is thriving in your area. Do not force landscaping that is not intended for climate or architecture.

“Choose plants that grow slowly in a year-round climate and fast in a short-season climate. Provide adequate watering and select plant species that can keep unwanted invasive plants at bay. Keep a palette simple in color and shape and create a focal point to organize the visual presentation.

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“The structure of an indoor garden should be concise and clear. Adding sculptural focal points can provide a shapely counterpoint to the garden’s structure. This can be a plant/tree, a static or mobile sculpture, or a water feature. A movement element in a garden landscape activates a static composition. A colored or textural element in plants or furniture will add visual interest as well.”

Adding sculptural focal points can provide a shapely counterpoint to the garden’s structure.

Mike Schwartz

Steve Kadlec, Founder and Director of Kadlec Architecture + Design in Chicago


Choose durable green

“The most important thing is durability and how well the plants live in an indoor environment. Obviously this has to be the top priority when bringing things indoors.

“We love using preserved moss indoors. It looks vibrant, cleans the air of toxins and lasts very well over the long term. Something like preserved moss retains its natural green color and requires no maintenance.

“I would advise against using live plants that need regular watering. Chances are they won’t last long and will be brown or shriveled a month later, if not sooner.”

– Funda Durukan, Director and Director of Interior Design at Durukan Design in New York

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keep it casual

“It should be one of the most relaxing and happiest parts of a home. My absolute favorite way to incorporate houseplants into a space is to use English ivy. It adds a bit of asymmetry and interest, say, when hung on a mantel or display case.

“When designing an indoor garden, be laissez-faire. This part of your home is meant to feel relaxed and therefore styled in a relaxed manner. Stacks of magazines and books can be on the floor next to your favorite outdoor reading chair. When it gets cooler, an outdoor-friendly throw blanket resting haphazardly over an armchair. This is the area where it should look a bit unbuttoned to help you relax.

“Filling a courtyard with pots and containers becomes cluttered without a sense of history. Think of the area in terms of “spaces” so it’s streamlined. Let’s face it, maintaining a beautiful indoor garden is a messy business and rugs are impractical. Don’t sacrifice aesthetics for function.

“You can always change the decorative elements in your garden as the seasons change, such as cushion covers and planters. Effortless decorating is key to a designer approach to greenery. Keeping it simple will keep your greenery in your home cheerful.”

Thomas Guy interiors

– Lance Thomas, director at Thomas Guy Interiors in Louisiana

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Balance is the key

“I like to really balance things out. If you have something in the window zone, maybe something that needs less sunlight can take a nearby corner to balance the levels and heights of the plants.

“Size is one of the biggest factors to be aware of. You don’t want to create distractions or block views or natural light. Make sure what you are trying to achieve is in relation to other elements in the room.

“The pots and containers that the plants are in should have colors and styles that connect with other surfaces in the home so the garden easily reflects the mood you already have. In today’s world there are so many affordable companies with many options at reasonable prices to make sure everything fits together.

“Educate yourself on the level of care you need to give your indoor garden because some plants are really low maintenance while others are very picky. Determine if you want to mix low-maintenance and low-maintenance plants, or if it’s best to stick with simpler greenery.

—Stephanie Shroeder, director of Alchemy Studio in New York

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