A Landscape Designer's 5 Main Tips For Bringing the Outdoors In

A Landscape Designer's 5 Main Tips For Bringing the Outdoors In

By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
A recent NASA study found that houseplants can remove up to 87 percent of air toxins within 24 hours, while other studies have linked them to increased productivity, concentration, and creativity while decreasing stress and anxiety.

With the winter months upon us, you might find yourself looking for ways to bring some green indoors. Well, we turned to an expert to get some advice on how to do this in your own home. Landscape Designer Fernando Wong is the creative mind behind a diverse portfolio of projects ranging from The Four Seasons At The Surf Club in Surfside, Florida, to the Sculpture Garden at the recently opened Institute of Contemporary Art in Miami's Design District

A combination of sliding doors, strategically placed voids, and large indoor plantings create fluid boundaries between indoors and out. The interior courtyard garden—landscaped with tropical plants and volcanic sand—is visually accessible from nearly every room, including the dining and kitchenarea.

From his home base in Miami Beach, Wong (who has Panamanian roots) has been fortunate enough to not have to to hunker down for the winter months, but with a new outpost in Southhampton and projects all over the world, the international landscape designer knows how to make a stunning statement by bringing the outdoors in. "I believe that there's a language through vegetation that can make people feel one way or another," he explains.

Take a look at these five tips from Wong to help you create a little design-worthy, indoor vegetation of your own. And make sure to explore our gift guide for the plant collector for some amazing planters, terrariums, and other necessities for the indoor gardener.

Designer Christiane Hogner in Bruxelles

1. Opt For a Vertical Garden 

Turn a blank or otherwise bland wall into a major focal point with a vertical garden—from a full-length living wall to a smaller, wall-mounted container-style option that allows you to display herbs, succulents, or plants in rows. Remember that plant type, lighting, and watering conditions are top considerations when installing a vertical garden. Try pothos, philodendron, sword fern, wedding fine, or crotons as a starting point. Another tip: use a vertical garden as a room divider, like the ones offered by SuitePlants

An example of a living wall in Lisbon, Portugal.

Edible planters adorn the wall of this carbon-positive prefab home.

2. Use Modular Plant Panels As Art 

A living wall installation can feel like a stroll through the garden. Use succulents and planter boxes framed in wood and layer multiples of them throughout your space for an artful result. Try Woolly Pocket or the Tipsy Gardener to inspire a living wall art project that’s truly memorable.  

This New York City apartment overlooks the High Line and has incorporated greenery into their living space in an artistic manner. 


3. Try Shower Plants 

Water features like pools and fountains make a statement outdoors. Achieve a similar effect by bringing in plants that are bathroom- and shower-friendly to create a spa-inspired atmosphere. Peace lilies, aloe, and snake plants work well.

A detail shot of a fern shower wall in a New York City apartment


Greenery in an elegant vase can be a simple solution.  

Menu Echasse Vase
Inspired by test tubes found in laboratories, the Menu Echasse Vase has the classic drop-like shape that is cradled in a minimal metal stand. Meaning stilts in French, Echasse is anchored to the floor or table with four metal legs that resemble its namesake.

4. Get Creative With Plant-Inspired Wallpaper and Textiles

Looking for a garden-inspired look without the actual maintenance? Incorporate wallpaper and textiles that encourage a feeling of total serenity, as Wong has done in his own Palm Beach apartment. "The wallpaper in the master bath gives an instant South Florida feel," he says. "It’s the most seamless indoor/outdoor connection." 

Fernando Wong’s master bath brings the outdoors in with bold wallpaper from the Beverly Hills Collection by Meg Braff Designs.


5. Incorporate Succulents Throughout Your Home 

These low-maintenance plants work well on garden windows, floating shelves, and in terrariums.

The picture wall is adorned with images collected from family, colleagues, and estate sales. "I kill plants, so cacti are our friends," Peter says of the succulents along the low table behind the Design Within Reach sofa, just over which an Established & Sons Font clock keeps time.


Succulents and books adorn a coffee table with light flooding in.


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