Design by Terrain: Layers of Green

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We're enjoying a welcome glimpse of green this week thanks to a recent project from Design by Terrain. Our talented plant stylists created the beautiful and natural arrangements above for a longtime client who just moved into a new home. For our designers, February is a time for simple plantings that make big statements. They love the idea of single specimens that take an interesting form, and layering greenery into the home for a midwinter refresh. We caught up with the designer behind these verdant plantings, Beth J., to talk all things green.

terrain: What inspires you during the winter months?

Beth: For me, the best part of the winter months is working at terrain! Just after the holidays, when we've put away all the garlands, trees and poinsettias, there's a wonderful opportunity to see beauty in newly-arrived flowering and tropical plants.Their colors are bold and they provide the roots of my inspiration for spring. The bright green of a Golden Pothos, the blues and purples of Echeveria, and the white flowers of jasmine are all inspiring me right now. One of the best parts of my job is finding new ways to use plants at home during the winter months. Incorporating greenery into decor is both challenging and fun.

terrain: What were the client’s goals for this project and how did your ideas for the installation take shape?

Beth: This client asked us to infuse some life into her newly-renovated home in Villanova, PA. We started out by touring the space for a few hours and brainstorming with the homeowner. Primarily, she wanted simple pieces that spoke for themselves while adding character around the house for a midwinter party. Next, I headed to our nursery and gathered inspiration, starting with plants that could be the centerpiece of the project. Those choices dictated my picks for planters and toppers. 

terrain: What are some of your favorite plants and arrangements from the project?

Beth: The olive tree in the kitchen is my favorite-- I like that the tree doesn't adhere to a specific shape, and instead follows its own natural pattern. It's planted in an antique dolly tub to add character, and topped with simple moss and vines so the tree stays the star of the show. I also love the large, blue vase in the entryway filled with magnolia and pussy willow branches; it's a simple way to make a grand statement. There's something very special and beautiful about watching a flower bud open.

terrain: Do you have any tips for readers who want a fresh, green look at home this time of year?

Beth: Whether you have a green thumb or not, choose a plant that speaks to you. A plant that inspires you. Of course, there are the tricky requirements of light, water and temperature too!

First, think of where you might place your plant. What kind of light does the space receive throughout the day? Then, pay attention to the temperature-- take note of heating vents or drafts in the winter. Also be sure to consider the time you have to care for your plant. I like to tell my clients that all plants will tell you what they need if you just pay attention! The same plant could require different care depending on the space where it lives. Finally, always ask questions! A horticulturalist is always waiting to breathe a little green into someone's life.

Ready to re-green your space or plan ahead for spring plantings on the doorstep, patio and beyond? Schedule a consultation with Design by Terrain via email at

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1 Comment

  • VanessaF said...

    I love the plant with the pink flowers on the wooden stand in the kitchen area. Is it a type of orchid? Thank you!

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