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  • Paul Hopper

Deep green

I’ve always loved greenhouses and excursions to the Kew Botanical Garden greenhouses were a highlight of my family visits to London when I was growing up. There’s something wonderfully romantic about them – from their elegant structures to their exotic inhabitants, these unique, luxuriantly green indoor worlds transport you to another time, another place. They are the site of both extraordinary scientific endeavor and of the sheer beauty and abundance of plants and blossoms from distant lands and foreign climates. While one often thinks of the grand greenhouses of royal residences or universities, even the most humble of backyard conservatories has a graceful presence and integrity of both function and form.

The concept of growing plants in a protected environment has been around since the Romans and the story goes that in order to supply the ailing Emperor Tiberius with the daily cucumber prescribed to keep him alive, a specularium was constructed so they could be grown all year round. From the Italian giardini botanici of the 13th century to the Korean mandarin hothouses on the 15th century, from Charles Lucien Bonaparte’s famed Leiden greenhouse, to the orangeries of Versaille and Sans Souci, from the spectacular Crystal Palace in London to the extraordinary Royal Greenhouses of Laeken, the building of greenhouses, orangeries and conservatories flourished alongside the scientific and cultural fascination with botany and exotica and advances in the production of glass and other building materials.

Gardens and the collection of exotic species from distant lands also functioned as a signifier of social and economic worth, with flowers following trends in much the same way that fashion did.

“a constant desire to keep ahead of the fashion...was one of the chief stimuli to horticultural innovation. It underlay the preoccupation with rarity, novelty and hybridization. It encouraged the gentry to spend large sums of money on improving new varieties from overseas, and forced them to to install stoves and greenhouses in which tropical plants could be housed...” (Thomas Hill, the Gardeners Labyrinth, 1594)


But for all that glass and apparent transparency, the greenhouse is often completely opaque – glass panes fogged by humidity on the inside and frost on the outside, and dense foliage creating shadow and intimacy and camouflage. Moreover, the greenhouse is neither strictly part of the domestic space of the house nor the strictly functional work space of the grounds. Rather they occupy a unique location both geographically, socially and imaginatively. Brimming with exotic plants from exotic lands and sometimes claustrophobically warm, the greenhouse becomes the perfect location for transgressive behaviour and have long been the favoured site of poets and film makers for secret assignations, stolen kisses and the like. As a kid, of course, those trips to the Kew greenhouses were never about swooning under ferns! Rather, it was all about dashing around those perfect secret gardens with their endless hiding spots, opportunities for ambushes, and discovering of marvelous insect-eating plants.

Today, my wanders amidst the greenery of Sydney’s Botanic Garden greenhouses are less childish dash and more leisurely stroll. I love the deep calm that those luscious and beautiful spaces provide. The city disappears behind dripping wet walls of glass, sounds become muted, and just when I think I must know every plant and exotic flower possible, I’m surprised and newly enchanted by something I’ve never seen before - just as I was as a child.

Images from top: , Kew Conservatory via Broadsheet, via; small greenhouse via Coffee and Kinfolk; the Royal Greenhouses of Laeken in Belgium, Orangery at Sanssouci via The Art of Gardening Buffalo, the Calyx at Sydney Botanic Gardens


I'm dreaming of a green Christmas


Forget about white - we are all about the green Christmas here at Terrace! Between the most gorgeous indoor plants and the most elegant of accessories and decor, we've got you sorted for Christmas. 

We of course would always LOVE to receive indoor plants for Chrissy but we also think they are pretty much the ideal gift for anyone - unique, beautiful, unexpected, and life-affirming. What better way to celebrate than with something that will literally breathe new life into one's home.

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Whether you’re choosing for your fussiest friend – the one with immaculate taste and a perfectly curated house – or for that mate for whom “interior styling” is a foreign concept, a beautiful indoor plant or selection of plants is the perfect gift. For your style savvy friends and family, indoor plants present a whole new opportunity for creating interest and stories within a space. Go for a sculptural monstera in an elegant planter or a collection of small succulents in gem-like pots – either way, they will be delighted with the chance to rearrange shelves, shift tables, and reposition décor to make their beautiful new arrival at home. Add one of these charming watering cans to the picture, and having a green thumb never looked more stylish.

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For your not so fashion-forward friend, a gorgeous indoor plant is the perfect way for them to inject fresh life into their space with very little fuss. Send them here for easy tips on styling with indoor plants and start them with a lovely pothos which, being sturdy and low light tolerant, are easy to care for. They are excellent air filters also and will give the place a good “clean” while sitting there looking pretty! A ficus robusta is similarly hardy though remind them not to over water it or put it in the way of a cold draft. Its broad shiny leaves are best kept dust free so include a water mister - this one is so beautiful that even the laziest house keeper will look forward to spritzing with abandon!



Contrary to popular belief, many indoor plants are surprisingly robust. Choose well, and your gift will last for a long, long time. Remember that many people are going away over the holidays, however. We recommend you give them a little set of instructions to keep their plant happy (we can let you know what the plant will need) while they are gone or else volunteer to babysit the plant until they are back.

Pop into the store to check on these on trend and now available indoor plants:

  • Monstera – its distinctively elegant leaves are loved by gardeners and artists alike so much so that the monstera has reached the status of iconic plant. Made famous by Matisse, they are an always welcome addition to any space.
  • Calathea – often called a peacock plant for its beautiful variety of rich colours and leaf patterns, this hardy indoor plant is rarely attacked by pests and likes a well-lit spot away from direct sunlight. Mist it regularly to recreate the tropical atmosphere it thrives in but don’t over water it.
  • Philodenron Xanadu – its gorgeously decorative leaves are the perfect combination of lush and tough. This tropical plant will thrive in plenty of natural light, well-drained soil, and plenty of added compost.
  • Strelitzia Nicolia – this striking plant can grow quite large but will be happy indoors if kept away from the cold and treated with slow-release fertiliser. Its stunning flowers give it the common name of Bird of Paradise and it adds real tropical drama to any room.

If your friend's home is already a veritable greenhouse of foliage then choose from our selection of stunning new arrivals for the perfect plant pot, stand or accessory. Our favourites for creating the perfect urban oasis include this elegant crescent stand, these gorgeous hanging arrow planters, the contemporary banjo pots, and the charming pocket planter.

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Stealing Santa's thunder has never been easier! See you in store. 

Spring into space


Spring, of course, is a favorite time of year for us here at Terrace. It’s when the pleasures of outdoor living really kick off for the year and with the longer days and softer, warmer nights, we get a rush of questions and interest from customers on how to make the most of their outdoor spaces. For a great number of us city dwellers, this usually means a pretty small space. A balcony, perhaps, or a little courtyard. Often our outdoor spaces are almost like another room in the house and can be quite sheltered but, unlike other rooms, they tend to get a little neglected over the winter so it’s time to give them some love and care. It doesn’t matter how small it is. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the intimacy that can be created in a small outdoor area is something special and is just as unique as a massive spread of lawn or sweeping veranda. So don’t ignore your outdoor space! Even if it’s just a tiny pocket of air and light, it can add so much to the quality of your domestic life and – let’s face it – will also improve your property value.

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When considering what to do with your outdoor area, here are a few things worth keeping in mind:

  • Really think the space through before you start purchasing or placing items. What are the dimensions? What do you want from the space? Is for entertaining? Or is it a private space for you to kick back with the papers and morning coffee? How does the sun hit the space – will you need more or less shade? What plants are appropriate for the conditions? Will they need to be hardy or is there room for some more delicate blossoms?

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  • Resist cluttering up the space with lots of bits and pieces! It’s easy to do especially when you’ve got a rush of spring time enthusiasm! But before you know it, your little courtyard or balcony is crowded and messy, too hard to maintain, and not inviting. It can be hard to picture what might work so research and look at other designs (did you ever have a better excuse to trawl through pinterest!) and come and ask us! It’s one of our favourite things to talk about.

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  • A protected space allows you to be a little more flexible with the use of indoor furnishings in an outdoor setting but take care – even slight exposure the elements can wear down fabrics and finishes very quickly if they are not designed for outdoor use. With such gorgeous variety in outdoor fabrics and furniture now available, there’s no reason why you can’t find something to suit your style. The same will go for selecting plants and pots – it’s worth investing in things that last and are appropriate to your environment.

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  • Consider the practicalities – are you planning on entertaining groups of people and if so, have you given yourself and your guests enough room to get to and from their seats? By very fact of being outdoors, people will want to spread out more, be freer in their movements – try to be generous with the space you allow, even if you don’t have much to spare.

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  • What kind of lighting would you like? Candles and suspended lanterns are always pretty and we are really loving these ropes of led lights which you can weave through branches or hang from beams for a gorgeously festive atmosphere.
  • Bench seating around the walls can be a great way to make a small courtyard inviting without sacrificing too much space. And we have some beautifully designed furniture options that seem to create space rather than take up space. For example, we are big fans of pieces like the pop chair & or the multipurpose Wire tray table which are light and airy and don’t block out greenery or sunlight.

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  • If you’re lucky enough to have a large area to work with, keep in mind that you don’t have to fill up every inch of space! Enjoy the luxury of light and space and choose furnishings that complement it like lovely wide benches or oversized comfort seating like the Butterfly lounge chairs. Avoid small bits and pieces that make the space feel unbalanced. The same goes for plants – think the big beautiful leaves of a Monstera or Strelitzia Nicolia, the sculptural branches of a frangipani or the super trendy Ficus Lyrata. If you’re arranging smaller pots, group them with large and medium sized pots to create a balanced story.

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  • And, finally, plants, plants and more plants! With hanging pots and vertical gardens, there are all kinds of ways to make a green space work for you. There is nothing quite like stepping outside into a verdant, green wonderland. It works wonders on your mental and physical wellbeing. And if you don’t know your Scindapsis from your begonia, never fear – we can help you with that too. In fact, try to stop us!
"Adding greenery to your life and transforming your space into an urban oasis is one of our greatest pleasures...."

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    So step outside right now, smell the jasmine in the air, and start thinking of how you can spend more time outside this spring by nurturing your outdoor space into a sanctuary of green and comfort and calm.

    All images are Terrace Outdoor Living projects excluding (from top) image 2 - via Think Outside Gardens, image 3 - via Homesthetics, image 5 - via Think Outside Gardens, image 14 - via Gardenique

    How to style with indoor plants..

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    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!

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.

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    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.


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    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.

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    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

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     Photography by : Melissa Mylchreest