As a woman who grew up in a rural area, my tastes run toward expansive, endless forests, green fields, and unlimited access to wildflowers. When I married and moved in with my husband, we began the apartment lifestyle in the city – which narrowed our space and access to nature. Make no mistake – I love our little loft apartment tucked above the office buildings in the heart of the city square. If you are going to do city living, then such an apartment is doing it right.
But I also found myself conflicted, and quite frankly, depressed about my limited access to the outdoors sans the whispers of constant traffic, the flicker of street and traffic lights, and the occasional wail of a siren here and there. I missed the solitude of which I had grown so fond growing up. But at the time, our living situation left much to be desired as far as access to the liberating scenery I had grown so used to.
When we moved to our current loft apartment, things got a little better. The backward facing porch overlooked a the nearby trailhead that leads deep into the forests surrounding downtown. This offered a little more privacy and access to the creek and woods within walking distance. But I wanted something more. Thus, I got creative with my home decor. Now, I impart those tips and tricks to you, my loves.
You start with one plant, and then collecting them becomes infectious. For the vast, open windows facing the square, I have white trumpet vines in hanging baskets attached from hooks in the ceiling. The vines have gotten so thick and healthy, that they drape beautifully and double as curtains.
A number of blossoming succulents, including prickly pear and aloe, dot the furniture. Potted rose bushes also serve to bring color and vibrancy. Of course, roses only blossom for a season. So, for the colder weather, orchids and begonias bring new life to the bleakness of winter.
I also fashioned a board which I hang on the wall to hold various spices and herbs, such as mint and basil. You can find such ideas on Pinterest, like I did. Not only does this add rich greens and lovely scent to your indoor spaces, but it provides a fresh twist of flavor for your meals. Here is one example of a smaller one. Mine is much larger and takes up the better part of a wall.
In our bedroom, I have planted lavender, chamomile, and eucalyptus to aid with relaxation and sleep. The bathroom contains a number of ferns both potted and hung on the walls, as well as a couple of simple ivy vines. It gives the place a lush, modern look with lovely appearance.
It wouldn’t simulate a Southern forest without flowing water trickling and babbling would it? Indoor fountains are a must-have for those who take pleasure in the bringing the outdoors inside. A couple of smaller, indoor fountains adorn each and every room within the apartment.
A fourteen inch, LED stone fountain sits in our bedroom to provide a calming nightlight as well as the soft sound of running water. A small, mirrored waterfall sits on each end table for our futon. In our study, another LED waterfall sits in the corner. The typical centerpiece for our kitchen table is a stylish, sleek fountain consisting of carefully placed smooth pebbles.
Decorating the porch was the most fun part for me. My husband fashioned a small garden box to hold vegetables year round. In the summer, we grow tomatoes and summer squash. In the winter, we grow winter squash and small cabbages. We also have a small lemon tree that sits in one corner and a small cedar tree that sits in the other.
Since we have sliding glass doors, a large, flat water wall covers the side that doesn’t have the door. Jasmine and hibiscus vines provide further privacy by growing and entangling each other on all sides of the porch. It is a very romantic setting for an evening meal on a warm, summer night. We have spent many a anniversary enjoying each other’s company on that porch.
I advise caution when it comes to creating such eloquent gardens for your living space. Luckily, our landlord has very limited involvement with what we do to our apartment, since we are longtime tenants with no intention of moving at any point in the near future. As long as it appears tasteful and pleasing, he doesn’t mind that we do what we wish with our decor. Some complexes have restrictions – usually listed in the rental terms and agreements.
But adding a touch of the outdoors never harmed anyone. And, if you have pets, then some of these plants can help keep fleas at bay. Mints, rosemary, eucalyptus, and evergreens all have scents that fleas and ticks do not find pleasing. Therefore, they avoid these spots. This was part of the reason for my inspiration to get the plants I selected – to help us keep our two dogs healthy!
Additionally, garden decor can provide healthy benefits for you as well. They clean the air you breathe, outputting fresh oxygen in the interior. You also can gain privacy, as mentioned above, by utilizing well-placed vines and hanging plants. Not to mention, a strong sense of connection with nature also comes from maintaining such a living space.
- Athena O’Ryan