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Inside out plants: turning design on its head

On trend indoors and out - when is a house plant not a house plant?

Have you noticed the recent trend in garden and interior design? The indoor/outdoor scene seems to be morphing and merging into one!  The division between home and garden has faded. We are now seeing furniture, accessories and planting used interchangeably indoors and out.  How can this work?

The lines between indoors and outdoors have softened and trends see us using furniture and plants interchangeably.

New materials

Waterproof manufacturing materials have allowed garden furniture to look pretty much like conservatory furniture.  The concept of a garden room for dining has been fully embraced in the UK and with the addition of garden heaters these can be used all year round.

Film star plants! Sansevieria laurentii together with Anigozanthos (Kangaroo Paws) were both used OUTDOORS on Alan Titchmarsh's Love Your Garden.

Architectural merit

TV gardeners are using house plants as annuals in a bid to create architectural beauty. We are all more aware of the impact of shape in a garden, whereas once it was all about colour. A plant in an attractive container can speak volumes. It needs no flower to merit a prime position within an outdoor space. It can work because people either have to think of these plants as 'disposable, (sob!) or be prepared to move them into a warmer, drier spot to overwinter. supplied Monty Don with these Kangaroo Paws for the TV gardening series, Gardeners' World.

TV gardeners

Recently on BBC TV's Gardeners' World, for example, Monty Don used Kangaroo Paws (Anigozanthos flavidus) planted in pots in order to provide an eye-catching feature. These Australian natives can happily tolerate the English summer outdoors but will not be hardy all year round. The flower buds do, indeed, resemble kangaroo paws in subtle shades of red, orange, yellow and copper.

The researchers from TV garden makeover show, Love Your Garden, asked for these Sansevieria laurentii in order to plant in pots for a patio. Then the ever-popular Alan Titchmarsh, presenting the first in a new series of Love Your Garden, used the strong forms of Sansevieria in pots to adorn a structured but inviting seating and relaxing area adjacent to the house.

Use cactus plants both indoors and out for their great architectural merit..

Going potty!

Container growing remains a strong trend as plot sizes generally continue to dwindle and people endeavour to make better use of every square inch of space. Succulents and cacti make a great feature when they are presented as a collection and some can even withstand temperatures down to about -10C. The key to successful planting in containers is all about collective volume and a single plant rarely will be enough unless it's a truly impactful specimen.

Use the vertical element and plant some climbers!

Clad the vertical

The garden vertical element has also undergone a revolution in the last few years and climbers are on trend. If you are lucky enough to have an old brick wall boundary you won’t mind looking at it but most fences are incredibly ugly. Timber looks a lot better with a plant cladding!

There's nothing beautiful about a standard fence panel!


One thing to consider if you are creating an unusual house plant container display, is protection. These are not the most robust of plants and you would be wise to bring them undercover or indoors during the winter.

The succulent 'picture' made from living plants and mounted on the wall of this patio complements the house plants in pots. But all of them will require protection during the winter.

Plant decorators for weddings and formal functions

An entirely new career has been forged since Kate Middleton walked down the Westminster Abbey aisle in 2011. She chose to install an avenue of English field maples and hornbeam as centrepiece to a charming floral display of native plants and flowers. It expanded upon the theme of flower arranging and opened up ideas of outdoor plants used as decoration indoors.

The trees in the aisle at Westminster Abbey started a trend that shows no sign of stopping! There are now hundreds of 'plant decorators' offering services for weddings, parties, business meetings and funerals. They are looking to use plant structure, sometimes teamed with flowers, and the key to their success is in the original way that they place beautiful plants in volume within various settings. It's a trend that has caught the imagination of millions. Interior designers are now well and truly in love with plants, having recognised not only their amazing structural beauty but their health giving benefits too.

See what plants can do for a space? Architectural beauty is appropriate for both indoor and outdoor spaces and it's a popular trend. People are now using house plants as garden plants on a regular, seasonal basis. They are also following the trend of utilising garden plants as house plants too. Versatility is key! There's a great selection available at, all delivered to your UK door. Watch the video to see some of them:

By Perfect Plants


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