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The Great Indoors (Stylist)

This article was written 5 years ago.

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Photography by Anya Holdstock

Spring has officially sprung, but it’s still not quite warm enough to head out into the garden, cocktail in hand. Stylist discovers how to enjoy the great outdoors from the comfort of your central heating.

The days are getting longer, the sun is getting brighter, and yet it’s still not what you might call warm. All is not lost, because the latest interior design trend is all about bringing the outside in. Pioneered by architects like Frank Lloyd Wright in the mid 20th century, it’s not a new idea, but the current revival for all things mid-century combined increasingly convincing research supporting its benefits make it the latest antidote to our ever-more digital lives. Research shows that houseplants can reduce stress, improve concentration, and even lower blood pressure. “By altering the balance of humidity and air quality, indoor plants not only have a positive affect on our energy and efficiency levels,” says Tor Harrison, founder of botanical studio Toro (toro-studio.com), “They also dramatically lift our spirits.” It takes more than just sticking a spider plant in the corner though, so we asked the experts for some tips.

4.    Living Wall

For the ultimate space-saving, high impact way to bring the outside in, create a vertical garden or ‘living wall.’ Ferns, grasses and ivy all work well to provide instant cover, and if you’re keen on a kitchen garden you’ll be glad to hear that herbs, lettuce and strawberries will thrive too. “Simple living walls can be created by training climbing plants up a trellis,” says Gary Grant, the man behind the UK’s largest living wall (greenroofconsultancy.com). “Most house plants can be used, the issue is matching water and light requirements.” Choosing plants with similar needs appropriate to the space is key, but choose right and almost nowhere is out of bounds – even dark spaces can be fitted with artificial lighting systems. Large-scale vertical gardens should be installed by professionals but for smaller scale installations, modular systems and ‘planting pockets’ are available. The modular Wolly Pocket system (woollypocket.co.uk, from £29.99) is easy to hang yourself and comes with an optional irrigation system.

Top five Instagram accounts to follow for green-fingered inspiration:

·      Gardening coach, photographer, and wannabe urban farmer @gardengirl_la is full of clever ideas for growing food in tiny spaces

·      London’s oldest (and swankiest) garden centre, @cliftonnurseries is worth following for ideas, even if your budget won’t stretch to actual purchases

·      Toronto-based Darryl Cheng of @houseplantjournal shares pictures of (mostly) indoor plants together with tips and tricks for looking after them

·      @plantsofbabylon finds and photographs tiny signs of life in even the most hostile urban environments, proving that plants can flourish anywhere

·      English gardener John Tebbs shares products and stories inspired by the garden @thegardenedit