The Benefits of Green Living Walls

By Jonathan Senneff
living green walls

If you’re a fan of indoor plants, you probably already know many of their great benefits.

Plants increase the oxygen in the air and scrub out impurities and airborne toxins like benzene and formaldehyde, which are found in furniture, wooden shelves, and other home products. The right indoor plants can also help workers relax, focus, and become more productive. In hospitals, plants have even been shown to speed patient healing times.

But what if you don’t have room for plants? Does that mean you have to forgo all their perks?

Of course not! More people than ever are enjoying the benefits of green living walls.

Green living walls are also called eco-walls or vertical garden systems.

The great thing about them is that they can be installed on existing walls, or they may be freestanding structures in which plants grow with little to no soil.



Green living walls are beautiful, innovative and interesting. They are great “zebra” pieces to a room, a statement piece that stands out and captivates the eye.

For hotels and multi-tenant buildings, large walls can be installed as a great piece of art work.

In an office, smaller walls can be installed in the break room or meeting spaces. This adds to the aesthetics of a room, bringing color, texture, and a wow factor.

Increased Productivity

Research shows that live indoor plants help increase productivity in the workplace.

Studies conducted by Washington State University showed a full 12% increase including faster response times compared to those who worked without plants.

Increased Revenue Per Guest


Hotel managers actually see an increase in revenue per guest when live plants are added to the hotel, rooms and elevator lobbies.

Biophilia refers to the innate and uncompromising requirement for humans to seek nature. Plants are inviting and bring comfort. Humans are drawn to nature, and therefore, want to stay in a hotel longer if they feel welcomed and comfortable.

Green living walls also help with sound, temperature and pollution control. Read about more benefits in this free Guide for Green Living Walls and learn how to maintain them

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Case Study: Plant Design Meets ADA Standards

Design by Casey Shmaltz

Live plants help non-profit meet ADA standards.

Plant Interscapes works with organizations to not only add live plants and containers to look great, but meet their bottom line.

Benefits of plants in the work place

For property managers, live plants increase productivity and the well being for their tenants. Office plants not only add to the aesthetics of the environment, but lowers workplace stress. Hotel plants actually increase revenue per guest.

Plants have many great benefits for the workplace in all types of environments. In addition, plants help organizations meet building standards like in this next case.

Case Study: Avenida Guadalupe meets ADA standards

live plants improve multi-tenant building standards

In this case, I collaborated with the building architect to ensure the plant design matched with the interior architecture features of sharp, geometric shapes.

The orange color of the crotons highlight the interior paint colors with a pop of orange and yellow.

In the end, the design needed to be approved by the appropriate agencies to ensure meeting ADA (Americans with Disabilities) standards. The non-profit had ADA standard issues with their staircase. I put a design together that created a safety barrier for vision-impaired visitors by using our earth walls, while displaying colorful crotons that matched the interior décor.

The multiplicity of plants are endless – – functionality, beauty, and even for safety purposes!

Need help getting your building ready for inspection or just want to revitalize? Get a free plant design when you submit a photo of your space!

Free plant design multi-tenant building

Workhorses and Zebras: Office Plant Design Made Simple

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By Mike Senneff

In every area of life, we have the ordinary—the base…and then we have the extraordinary—the distinctive.

It could be in how we dress.  For men, plain trousers, complementing shirt and then pop it with a colorful tie or blazer. For women, a beautiful dress, matching top and then pop it with jewelry.

For chefs, we know it’s all about presentation. We have the courses plated, but served dish will always have that special garnish to top it off.

And in interior design, it’s often a neutral base, complementary hues, and then that 10% pop of color.

The base is the workhorse. It substantially gets the job done. In dress, culinary plating, design and all things visual, the workhorse is the background.

And then comes the zebra — that unique element that distinctly stands out. It’s that pop that gets our attention. In a field of buckskin horses, what stands out? Where would your eye be drawn?  To the zebra of course. That striped, dramatic and unique member of the horse family.

This concept applies to horticultural design as well — both interior and exterior.

We have our workhorse background plants, those that fill the space. These plants may have height and breadth, which provides an interesting texture and coverage, but they don’t provide that unique attraction.

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They don’t provide that focal point; the spot your eye is drawn over any aspect of the background.

Then comes the attraction. The extraordinarily unique and dramatic specimens or floral elements. It’s the intended focal point. It’s the zebra.

This plant or arrangement is Intentionally selected to be that spot your eye is drawn. It may be a plant with distinctive and interesting branching habits, or it could be colorful flowering plants, those that capture draw attention. It could even be a unique decorative container or combination of other dramatic elements such as rock or cut class. But its purpose is clear — I am special, look at me!

benefits of plants in the office

We couldn’t design with all zebras, nor could we design with all workhorses.  It would be too homogenous and not provide the intended visual interest.

So next time you’re dressing, cooking, painting, or designing with plants, consider the base and consider the dramatic—that place of interest, the focal point.  And place a zebra or two.

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Why We Really Need Plants in the Workplace

By Mike Senneff

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What’s new in the realm of interior plant design?  We’ve actually come a long way!

History of interior plant design in the workplace

We can arguably say that contemporary use of interior plants in the building environment goes back decades, even before the 1960’s.

In the 1970’s and 1980’s, indoor plants were originally used for purely aesthetic purposes.  We were spending more time at work, and wanted our spaces to reflect nature.

We not only wanted nature in our workplace, but also at home and near the places we relax.

Fern bars were hung in baskets and Ficus trees were added to the office. Wicker baskets, greenery and all elements of natural surrounding indoors was considered cool and aesthetically pleasing.

At that time, commercial use of indoor plants was equally cool. We had atriums, ceramics and plants everywhere. Whenever it came to an empty corner in a building lobby, design was easy. Adding plants in a group of three always did the trick.

Workplace plants included a tall element plant, medium height filler and a lower focal point of either interesting variegation or a pop of seasonal color. Plants were everywhere!

The 1990’s and early 2000’s ushered change.  No longer were plants cool, but a trend that had been around for a while.

Contemporary building lobby design became contemporary, austere and cold.  Interior atriums gave way to hard stone materials, statuary and art.

No longer were plants an important part of design finish out.  If there were any botanicals in the interior space, they were often relegated to a small color bowl or orchid arrangement.

Then we got real again. We realized what we wanted and what we needed. We realized as humans, we have an innate and natural affinity for life and for nature.

As our cities became more built, as our lives became more urbanized, as we spent more time indoors than ever before in human history, we began to realize we need a connection with nature.

We need plants.

This truth is known as Biophilia.  It refers to the innate and uncompromising requirement for humans to seek nature.

Where do you go on vacation, or where do you go when you need some down-time?

Most of us look to the outdoors.  It could be a visit to the mountains, oceans, deserts or forests.  We crave nature.  Often an after-work walk, a weekend hike or outdoor barbeque will satisfy that craving.

When we’re around nature, it grounds us.

Interior Plant Design Today

So now we’re recognizing plants in the building environment are not all about aesthetics, but about a need.  Maybe they always were, but we didn’t know why.  Now we know it’s because of our biophilic need.

Offices, banks and other commercial buildings rely on interior plants to humanize the work environment.  International research has consistently proven indoor plants help us reduce stress, allow greater creativity and make us more productive while indoors.  And our indoor hours are only increasing.

Plants are now an integral part of contemporary building spaces.  Whether as dynamic freestanding focal points, fascinating living walls or expansive of roof-top gardens—plants are needed for our own health.

Design your building environment with plants.  Plants work!

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