How to style with indoor plants..
I can’t imagine my home without plants in it.
They are as much a part of my space as chairs or paintings or floor rugs. Show me a green-free room and watch me start to twitch with the anticipation of filling it up with a little chlorophyll. I don’t have a green thumb so much as a green mind set!
But for a lot of people, introducing greenery to your interiors can be a little intimidating. The added responsibility of keeping something alive while also making it look stylish can seem challenging. But don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be the Amazon jungle in there. A few well-placed pots can be the difference between a blank canvas and a room that shimmers with colour and life.
If you’re feeling a little cautious, why not start with some small succulents? They are hardy little things and can be beautifully sculptural or quite quirky and charming. If you build up a collection in a variety of different sized pots, they are conveniently mobile so you can move them around as you wish – tuck them into bookshelves, have them keep you company at your work desk, let them freshen up the bathroom, or bathe in sunlight on a window sill. I especially like to use metallic pots or pots with a glossy sheen to them for my smaller plants – they gleam and reflect light in a way that can make even the dimmest corner glow. They needn’t look fussy. Just make sure you take them out of their plastic container, pop them in something lovely, and keep them clean – a dusty, cobweb covered succulent is a sad sight indeed.
I love to use them as a table centre piece instead of cut flowers. They have an organic and earthy feel which can make for an elegant and sophisticated look. For the table setting below, I’ve played with quite a limited colour palate – blues, greens, a dab of yellow – for a jewel-like effect. I find it best to stay away from a uniform look – pot your succulents in a range of differently sized pots and don’t be afraid to mix a plain ceramic pot with something a little more elaborate. It can make for an intriguing visual story.
If you’ve got light and space to play with, go bold with a large planter pot and a luxuriant Calathea or Begonia rex with its beautiful wide leaves and tinges of pink or the graphic, glossy lobed leaves of the ever popular monstera. Use this largest plant as the central piece around which to gather a “family” of different sized plants. Steer clear of placing two or more of the same or same sized plant next to each other and avoid having a tiny pot lost or towered over by much bigger pieces. Again, it’s fun to experiment with a range of heights and pot shapes – the clean white curve of a big planter can be complimented by a couple of smaller pieces in neutral tones and using a stool, plinth or stand can be a stylish way to create different levels.
There is something quite magical about hanging plants and, because they don’t take up any floor space, they can usually find a home in even the smallest room. I’m a particular fan of the Devcils Ivy or Scindapsis. With its trailing vine of foliage, it can be such an elegant way to add greenery to a space. You can arrange in much the same way as you would with fairy lights by trailing it over small hooks along the wall or ceiling.
A hanging pot of rhipsalis or Ceropegia - Chain of hearts is a lovely way to introduce a waterfall of draped greenery and they have the added advantage of being relatively low maintenance. I’m a macramé devotee from way back and a macramé hanger for your pot is a great way to add a little bohemian moment to your greenery in a way that is hip rather than hippie.
Just as you would with any other aspect of your home, have a play and experiment with your indoor plants – move them around (they’ll like that anyway depending on where the sun is shining), place them a different heights, see where they seem happiest and look most at home. Remember, there’s no need to confine them to tables or corners - put some pots on the staircase, hang them above the bath tub, nestle them among the pots and pans in your kitchen. In no time, they will become as essential to you as your couch or a favourite painting, and, like me, you'll be hooked forever on green.
To take a guided video tour through my home and get some more plant tips check out : In My Place on Realestate.com.au
Photography by : Melissa Mylchreest
Small but perfectly formed: your guide to a beautiful balcony
A big garden with endless lawns or a wrap around veranda packed with picturesque furniture may be the enviable luxuries of a gardener’s daydreams. But, having been an apartment-dweller for most of my life, I’ve become a convert to the charms of small gardens, of creating a tiny urban oasis that offers sanctuary and delight and comfort. And there is something particularly special about a balcony garden. A balcony inhabits a unique space – they can be very much part of the street they are elevated above but at the same time are more like an extension of a room than a designated outdoor space. I like how intimate they can be while still allowing one to be part of the life of the street - leaning over the railing to chat to a neighbour, tossing a set of keys down to a friend, watching revelers make their way into the evening. While an enclosed or screened balcony can be a beautiful hideaway (or sometimes just plain necessary depending on the location and the quality of the neighbours!), my favourite balcony gardens have been the ones that allow me to enjoy my neighbourhood and that contribute to the beauty of the streetscape by adding colour and life to a building.
The practicalities of creating a sustainable balcony garden can present some challenges and will depend primarily on the size, aspect and conditions of the balcony. After a browse through Pinterest it is tempting just to go crazy and start loading up your space with all manner of blossoms and vines and hanging plants and tables and lounges.
But steady on! There are a few important things to consider before you start going all Home Beautiful. They are much the same questions as you would apply to any garden with a few that are very that are specific to the balcony space:
- How much light does it get and at what points during the day? Will any plants be mostly in the shade?
- Is it windy? If you’re planning on hanging pots then this is a good one to consider!
- Is it sturdy? Get its load baring capacity checked before you start piling on giant concrete pots. (Check out our new range of lightweight pots!)
- What’s the drainage like? Do you want year-round greenery and season blossoms or are you happy for it to go bare over winter?
- And, very importantly, what do you want to use it for? Is it a place to grow a few herbs or is it somewhere for you to spend time relaxing and entertaining?
With these considerations in mind, here are our tips for creating a beautiful balcony garden:
- Make it an extension of the room – it can really open up the home and create a lovely flow of space. I love to use a gorgeous outdoor mat or rug that complements the interior space. Go here for one of our current store favourites.
- A stylishly simple row of planters or pots with uniform planting can look particularly striking on a large balcony but for a smaller space I prefer to introduce a range of heights and sizes to the plants to give a more textured, garden-y feel.
- Utilise space creatively – this might mean creating a vertical garden on one wall or using hanging plants if floor space is very limited.
- If you plan on taking your morning coffee with the papers or an evening glass of wine with friends on your balcony then durable, stylish and comfortable seating is a must! Ditch the milk crates and go for pieces that will not just withstand the elements but help to create a really beautiful and inviting sanctuary.
Images 1 to 3 Terrace Outdoor Living, image 4 via Design Rulz, image 5 via House of Home, image via 6 Architecture Designs, image 7 via Woo Home image 8 via Harrisons Landscaping & the rest Terrace Outdoor Living.
How To ..... Kokedama !
A kokedama is, like Japanese bonsai or Chinese penjing, a form of garden art. The word translates to “moss ball” and is as much about the artistry of display as it is about a living plant. To make a kokedama, a plant and its root system is transplanted from a pot into a ball of soil which is then surrounded by a layer of moss and then wrapped with twine or string. Sometimes kokedama are fixed to a surface, like a piece of wood, but more often you will see them suspended from string. These hanging moss balls have taken off as a hugely popular form of garden creativity much in the same way as the resurgence of macramé we discussed a couple of weeks ago. They can be such a charming and playful way to nurture and display a plant – like big mossy pom poms – and they can also be elegantly sculptural and beautiful. Hanging kokedama are the perfect way to overcome the challenge presented by spaces where the available surface area for keeping potted plants is limited. With kokedama, the sky is almost literally the limit!
What you will need to make your own:
- Potting mix
- Peat soil (which helps retain moisture)
- A small amount of slow release fertiliser
- Sphagnum moss
- Your selected plant
- Twine or string
- An extra ball of twine or string (you might like to use a pretty colour for this)
- 2 large round bowls
1. Place the sphagnum moss into one of the bowls and wet it down with water so it’s nice a damp but not too mushy
2. Take your other round bowl (the size of which will help determine how large your moss ball is) and crisscross a few lengths of twine across the bowl with plenty of length overhanging the edge – you will be using this to secure the moss towards the end of the process
3. Line the bowl with a layer of the damp sphagnum moss
4. Place the plant, with its root system in tact into the moss lined bowl and pack around its roots with your mix of peat, potting mix and fertiliser – be sure to pack it densely and firmly as this is what will form a sturdy moss ball
5. Cover the exposed soil mixture with a layer of sphagnum moss and, using the lengths of twine, tie it firmly down
6. Using your second ball of twine, tie the end to the existing knotted twine, gently remove the ball from the bowl, then wrap the twine around it, crisscrossing back and forth all the way around until you are satisfied that the moss is firmly secured and the whole thing looks gorgeous
7. Suspend the moss ball from the ceiling or from a shelf or beam, making sure that the plant is upright
8. Voila! Your very own kokedama.
I used a scindapsus plant for this one which is ideal for kodedama because it is a hardy little beast as well as being lovely. It can cope with inconsistent watering and will continue to flourish in the shade. You can use all kinds of plants for your kokedama but just be aware that some will require very specific and consistent care. Try tropical plants like orchids, anthuriums, angel hair vines and begonias. Depending upon their moisture requirements, you can pop the whole ball into water when it starts getting dried out then hang it somewhere it can drip for a while (i.e. not over your Persian rug). I hang mine out over the terrace from time to time and it’s a pleasure to watch these organic sculptures swinging gently in the breeze.
Phot credits Top image via http://www.rv-orchidworks.com/ all other images are Terraces own.
Macramé - a fresh look
Macramé is a trend that would seem to perfectly embody the adage that “everything old is new again”. The craft phenomenon that saturated 1970s decor and fashion certainly made an impact on my childhood as we didn't have a garden and our apartment was festooned with macrame. We even learnt how to do it in school!
Macramé has made a comeback in recent years with a fresh aesthetic that has all the appeal of the retro style but a clean and chic style that lends itself beautifully to contemporary interiors and outdoor spaces. We have been embracing and pioneering the macramé resurgence here at Terrace and love being part of this ever-evolving and beautiful craft.
Macramé - what is it?
Macramé is the craft of knotting string, yarn, cord or rope into intricate patterns. Think of it as a cousin to knitting and crochet but without the hooks or needles.
While for many of us, macramé calls to mind brown 1970s interiors decorated with knotted jute owl wall hangings, it actually has its roots in 13th century Arab weaving and the Moorish conquests saw it spread throughout Europe. It is also associated with sailors who, in their long hours on the ocean, knotted hammocks and belts then sold them at port, thus introducing the style to different part of Asia and into America. We love that exotic history – the idea of fringed cloaks on desert camels and lonely sailors under hot skies. It gives it back its romance, balances out the kitsch reputation it’s, perhaps unfairly, gained over recent decades.
Macramé had its first real resurgence as what we would call a “trend” in Victorian England where very fine knotted lace was used to decorate curtains, doilies, sheets and other furnishings. The trend eventually faded and it wasn’t until the 1960s and 70s that macramé made a real comeback. This is the era that most of us will be familiar with, an era in which macramé was both a mainstream household decorative form and also associated with the hippie movement’s fashion, jewellery, and accessories.
The recent resurgence of the art of macramé has a new level of restraint. Even large scale decorative pieces have a delicacy of style. And rather than entire rooms full of macramé objects, moderation has become the name of the game with decorators opting for one striking piece in a space or a small collection of lighter pieces. Just as it was in previous decades, macramé popularity as a decorative trend in the home was mirrored by its increasing popularity in fashion. Indeed, macramé has now secured its place as a desirable component of the most stylish homes and gardens, and as a technique used in contemporary haute couture fashion.
Gone are the days of heavy rope hangings and jute bags. Macramé’s new lightness and cool elegance is a pleasure to behold and embrace. At Terrace we have totally embraced Macrame and seen it evolve and morph in to many exciting products such as wall hangings and furniture. Check out some of our Terrace pieces below.
Shop some Macrame looks at Terrace here !