Plants Play Their Part in Design

What do plants have to do with architecture and design? A lot! Architecture is as much about quality of space as it is about the exterior of a building. A big contributor to the quality of any spaces is the greenery and plants. We recently met up with Giles Darvell of Dartec Horticultural Contractors to get his take on the place of plants in homes, offices and workplaces.

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Linebox (LB): We’ve worked a lot with you in recent years, how does what you do contribute to an overall design

Giles: Plants are so important in any space. They bring life, colour and a sense of freshness. They contribute to creating a mood and making people feel good. I have never met a single person who doesn’t appreciate plants or who doesn’t “grow” to appreciate them. They’re part of our DNA!

LB: When you get a commission to outfit a space with plants, what’s your process for selecting the rights plants?

Giles: First I like to see the floorpans and discuss with the designers about their overall vision for the space to understand the colours and textures in the proposed scheme. It’s also great to get to know the clients a little bit and get a sense of their culture and see how they will use the space. If it’s a new build, I really like to go a view the space just before it is finished so that I get a sense for where traffic will flow and what the light situation is. Most offices don’t have a lot of light and this is my #1 consideration when selecting plants. Once I have all this, I trust my instincts in selecting plants.


LB: Where do your plants come from?

Giles: It depends! I have suppliers locally but also in Florida, Europe, Asia and latin America. I get citrus and tropical plants from Florida, orchids and other tropicals from Asia and some cut flowers from Europe and Latin America.

LB: How does culture and personality of the client play into the plant selections you make?

Giles: Well, I can pretty much match any plant to any type of person. Each person’s character has a perfect plant! For instance, creative people like unusual and exotic plants often with coloured leaves and unusual textures. Plants that shout emotion! Hospitality industry love flowers and flowering plants. High-tech are adventuresome and versatile, they like a broad spectrum of plants. Accountants prefer traditional, ever green plants.

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LB: What’s your favourite plant Giles?

Giles: It’s a 110 year old “christmas cactus” that was given to be as a boy. A neighbour saw how much I liked plants and gave this one to me and she had received it from her Mother. It flowers each year and the colour is a very unique and delicate soft pink.


For more information on plants for any space please contact Dartec at (613) 226-7673.

We will have a short series on plants and their importance in design in the coming weeks. Please stay tuned!