Interior landscaping is the practice of designing, installing, and maintaining greenery and biophilic elements inside buildings. Professionals in the trade commonly refer to this service as interior plantscaping or interiorscaping.
Some publications use the term “interior landscape” as a phrase to describe all the elements installed in an interior, such as furnishings and art. In this context, they are not using the term as a technical category but rather a convenient word combination to suit a headline. In the design community, interior landscaping pertains specifically to plants, live or artificial.
The book Interior Landscape Design by Nelson Hammer, ASLA, published in 1991, remains an authoritative reference on the subject matter, specifically regarding the fundamentals of designing plants within interiors.
Planterra is one of the first companies in North America to specialize in interior landscaping. Our first major job was the installation of the flying Ficus trees at the Renaissance Center in Detroit in 1977. At the time, this installation was the largest interior landscape project in the United States. The design, which called for hundreds of large Ficus trees, involved such a big order that suppliers built shade houses in Florida specifically to acclimate the trees for interior use.
Today, interior landscaping remains a small and specialized field within the horticulture industry. In recent years, North American horticulture associations have deemed the niche as too small to keep as a category to administer. Therefore, at the time of publication, no professional trade association exists for interior landscapers to call home. Nor is there a universally accepted certification program to provide education and standards for the interior landscape profession. Consequently, selecting a qualified designer or contractor for interior landscaping can be difficult and confusing.
As a mature and niche industry, interior landscaping has proven to be resilient and an essential service for building interiors. Many companies, which solely specialize in the interior landscaping trade, have been in business for more than two decades. In the case of Planterra, we have been at it for almost 50 years!
The profession, which resulted due to a shift in architectural materials from ornamental masonry to floor-to-ceiling glass curtain walls, continues to be propelled by architectural design. In the mid-20th century, boxy glass buildings called for plants to soften their hard lines. The abundance of natural light helped solidify commercial buildings as the unofficial homes for the obsequious office Ficus. In present day, improved window glazing and artificial lighting help provide higher quality light to human occupants, which plants also enjoy. As a result, interior landscaping continues to be relevant and an important element in architecture and interior design.
Now, nearly 50 years after launching a business of interior landscaping, Planterra has grown its capabilities and offers specialty design-build installations throughout the USA, as well as interior landscape national account management.