Interior landscaping offer designers new career possibilities, says Jane Perrone
Green walls, conservatories, hydroponics, hanging plants, air plants, terrariums, aquascaping: indoor spaces are just as likely to be packed with plants as outdoor areas these days.
But does that mean new opportunities are opening up for garden designers, too? Yes, says Ian Drummond, director of Indoor Garden Design, a Londonbased firm that’s been designing interior planting schemes since 1975. “Landscaping isn’t just about your garden,” says Drummond. “There are huge opportunities for landscapers and designers to work in these areas.”
The percentage of UK adults who own a garden has fallen from 80% to 77% since 2000 according to a report in the Telegraph last year, so turning the focus indoors may be a canny move in the longer term.
Kenneth Freeman, head of innovation at interior planting company Ambius, says the industry is in the healthiest state it’s been in for the past 20 years. “There is a growing understanding of the benefits of interior landscaping in offices, retail, hospitality and particularly in workplaces,” he explains. “Any designer with an understanding of how indoor plants can have an impact on health and wellbeing would probably have a successful time of it.” Drummond agrees: “There are huge opportunities for designers to work in these areas, including event landscaping, where you dress someone’s garden for a party or event – that often includes both inside and out.”
Both Freeman and Drummond emphasise that interior plant design doesn’t just mean plonking a ponytail palm in the corner of an office. There is an increasing interest in high-quality designs, according to Freeman, with many large-scale projects in the offing. “Clients are looking for much more imaginative design and using a more diverse palette of plants, and bigger plants – orders for big trees up to 6-7m tall for instance,” Freeman explains.
And there are new skills for garden designers to learn: not least the effects of limited light and a lack of seasonal variation. “People who come from a more traditional garden design background need to try to rethink the principles of design,” Freeman says.
So, have garden design courses caught on to the interior trend yet? Not quite, but there are online interior landscaping courses and training events run by industry body www.plantsatwork.org.uk