Outside Spaces and How to Make the Most of Them

Outside spaces at the workplace can often be forgotten about, but we’re looking to change that.  An outside space can be a place for relaxation, re-energising, and creativity.  We strive to encourage more businesses to incorporate popular biophilic trends by blurring the lines between indoors and out – and we love to discuss the benefits of doing so.

Here, you can learn about some of the best ways to use your outdoors spaces, as well as how to bring a piece of the outdoors into your establishment with indoor office plants.

Flexible Meeting Spaces

If you’re working in close proximity to a park or garden, using this space to hold meetings could prove to be great for morale – especially during warm weather.  Of course, we wouldn’t recommend hosting any meetings that will include information that is confidential to your clients, but taking a break from the office to discuss internal changes, processes or brainstorming will maintain efficiency with time, and may even help your workers to stay productive later into the working day.

 

Informal Lunch Area

Many offices have difficulty keeping their indoor air quality at healthy levels, so encouraging staff to take a break in the outdoors can improve  health and concentration. Particle pollution is known to poorly affect physical and mental health, and indoor spaces are typically ten times worse for this pollution than outdoors. Taking a break from particle pollution can do wonders for the help and headspace of your staff, so if it’s a nice day – why not suggest a picnic? Ideally, if you do have some viable outdoor space at your office, providing table and chairs to create an alfresco area which can be used for eating, taking a coffee break or having an informal meeting is an excellent idea.

Breakout!

Help to boost health and wellbeing, by turning your outdoor space into a useable attractive area for a quick spell outside for formalised lunchtimes. When under duress a break outside can help staff to reset and return with a fresh can-do attitude, whether they’ve just struggled with an intense call with a client or business partner, or a busy morning with back-to-back activity. Plants and nature have plenty of restorative qualities. Your business could easily be enjoying these benefits with minimal cost.  The added benefit of topping up vitamin D levels in the sunshine and taking in the view of green plants will also help to improve immune systems to work optimally and keep your workforce healthier and happier.

Bringing the Outdoors IN

In many cases, a green attractive outdoor space may not be within a lunchtime walking distance of the office.  And you may not be lucky enough to have accessible outdoor space of your own.  In this case, you may be looking to bring aspects of the outdoors into your workspace so that staff and guests can still reap some of the benefits of natural elements and plants.

Looking around your office, you may find some areas that can easily be converted into a green space. Think about you dining area, or communal areas such as locker tops, or break out rooms.  Here are some popular methods that modern businesses use to bring biophilic benefits into their place of work:

Entrances

Often overlooked but integral to the first impressions of your business, the entrance can be a fabulous place to start adding some greenery.  Not only important for your guests, a green entrance will suggest positivity to your workers as they enter and leave your establishment.

There are a number of methods for increasing your kerb-appeal, including window boxes and external green walls, but you might also choose to add an internal moss wall to your lobby area, large and unique planting options by the door, and table posies in waiting areas.

If you’re interested about installing a green wall for your business, we recommend reading our blogs on this topic:

Can I have a Living Wall?

It’s Alive! Buildings with Living Walls

Moss Walls: Q & A

 

Roof

Green roofing is a brilliant idea – looking out for your office window, a green roof nearby brings brilliant rural landscapes a little closer to city-orientated businesses. Our brains respond very positively to colour, and views to nature so the sight of a verdant green roof could prove to be quite inspiring, boosting productivity and creativity.

There may be a group near you that you can help to get involved with green initiatives. A BID (Business Improvement District) will typically group neighbouring businesses in an effort to improve their local working area together, and sometimes, this might include making their views greener by collaboratively installing green roofs.

Balcony and Terraces

Balconies and terraces can be a great place for workers to enjoy a brief respite in the fresh air, but you can bring nature even closer by installing some beautiful window boxes or planters to add to the relaxing vibe and make them visually beautiful.

Could your business be making more of outside spaces, or is it more feasible for you to create some green spaces inside your own office area?  We love all things biophilic and can help you with any green design queries that you might have, so speak to one of our friendly team about your ideas soon.

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Can I have a Living Wall?  And What ‘Green Wall’ alternatives are there?

Without a doubt, living walls look stunning and provide large swathes of real planting from floor to ceiling, creating a real impact…

A living wall can have numerous benefits in business environments; they can help to make staff more productive in the workplace and are equally important in improving the perception of your brand. In this article, you can find out the main points to consider when thinking about a living wall for your space, and why it could be important for your staff or guests.

Green Wall for CTA

Can I have a living wall?

Almost definitely yes! Or at least, the effect that a living wall can give. We create bespoke walls for your requirements, though there will be some spaces more suited to live living walls than others.

A living wall works best in a well-lit space with plenty of room and fresh air circulating. For example, entrance atriums and large reception areas with hard or concrete floors. It is ideal to install them when a building is being constructed so that the irrigation system can be put in and the living wall placed on top. This can also off-set some of the cost, as the wall won’t need plastering and painting.

If you have a carpeted area or a space with lower light levels, such as a restaurant or traditional carpeted office reception, you could consider an artificial living wall instead. These look beautiful and give a very similar effect, creating the same kind of wow factor. For office spaces, moss walls also make an excellent option for giving a high impact finish, they are easy to retrofit and require minimal ongoing maintenance.

Another option to include real, live planting without the commitment and expense of a full living wall, is to opt for live dividers or panels. These are self-contained green modular products and give a great effect. These can be replanted on a regular basis to give a different look and so can be treated like art installations. You can also use them to give seasonal variation to your location…

tall green wall in a clean white entry space

Where is the best location for different types of green walls?

The best type of wall for you will depend on your location and the requirements of the plants you select. For example, some plants need more light than others so if you are planning to place your living wall in a bright and airy reception, you will have lots of options for the type of plants you can use.  For dark areas, you may need a growing light. You can also opt for moss walls or artificial living walls as these are perfect options for many spaces. Moss walls look exquisite when executed by professional plant technicians like Planteria. With lots of colour options and three different types of moss to choose from; bun moss, flat moss or reindeer moss, there are lots of variations to make your wall unique. You can also include your logo or a message and have something bespoke and specific to your company.

Here’s some more reading material on living walls to get you inspired for your new project:

It’s Alive! Buildings with Living Walls

Moss Walls: Q & A

 

What is A living picture and what types of living walls are there?

A living picture is a self-contained piece of art with a frame and a central section of planting. Living pictures look beautiful and can be hung singularly or in groups.  Also available in this type of product are living panels and dividers. These are easy to maintain and a cheaper option than a full-scale living wall. There are lots of options for different types of planting and it can be regularly changed to give different effects throughout the year. If you move offices, you can even take these with you which you can’t do with a traditional built-in living wall.

When would I opt for Moss wall?

We supply sixteen different colours of preserved moss which can be used to beautifully create bespoke walls and even replicate your logo. Most moss is not recommended for use in exterior positions, but for interiors it is easy to manage and control. It is lightweight and fairly straightforward to install, making it ideal for most office environment.

Why would I choose an artificial living wall?

An artificial living wall brings many of the design benefits of a real living wall, with far less maintenance or ongoing costs associated with a real living wall. Obviously, an artificial plant does not grow, and you won’t reap the benefits of the air cleansing and CO2 absorption that you get with real planting. You also need to consider that artificial planting, made from plastics, is not as environmentally friendly as the real deal. However, just like interior furnishings, they last a long time and can be moved with you if you are moving offices, so this should be weighed up in your considerations.

moss wall plants living wall broccoli and cauliflower

Which are best and why?

There is no right answer to this question as whether you opt for a traditional built in living wall with its own Irrigation system, an artificial living wall, a living picture,  panel, divider, or moss wall, will largely depend on your vision for your premises and the constraints of your environment and budget.

When planning in your green wall, you need to ask your plant provider questions like:

  • Is this right for my space?
  • How much will it cost to install?
  • What will the monthly cost of ongoing maintenance be?
  • What possible issues might occur that I need to keep in mind for the future?

Big living wall in reception area biophillia biophilia

If you would like to discuss your location and options to help you decide which is best for you, please get in touch with Planteria group today for a free consultation and quotation service.

Innovation Design Trends for 2019

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So you’re thinking of a new look for the new year, one that will inspire your staff and attract new customers without turning away your old ones, we’re here to give you a heads up on what we suspect the next year’s design trends will entail, including those that will translate well to your offices.

 

ROSE GOLD – NO

As beautiful as this colour has been, it’s suspected that rose gold-everything will be on its way out in 2019. Metallic fixtures and fittings are becoming less popular as more eco-friendly aesthestics – such as biophilia – are taking hold of homes and businesses alike.

 

CLINICAL KITCHENS – NO

Clinical-looking kitchens are also on their way out. Instead of bright whites and light greys, consider using more natural looking materials such as dark wood table tops and warm stone counters. Going down natural routes will create a homely look that will help your staff to settle in and relax.

 

LIGHT WOOD FLOORS – YES

Following on from the natural themes mentioned above, light wood floors are also back in. Unlike the dark colours attributed to heavy stone tiles, light wood flooring is a refreshing change that harks back to nature and evokes a clean woodland feel.

 

SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS -YES

Accentuate your rooms with some eco-friendly focal points. A few handmade pieces will add intrigue to your rooms, as well as individuality, whereas the sustainability element will help people to feel in touch with the earth and more natural elements.

 

BIOPHILIA – YES

Continuing along the natural themes that 2019 is promoting; incorporating aspects of biophilia is one more way that you can get your home or business looking up-to-date and on-trend for the new year. Biophilia is the embodiment of our human affinity with nature. You can satisfy this natural urge by veering away from the past decade’s trends for clinical and pristine finishes by including more natural elements (think plants, water features and natural materials, textures and colour paletes) to create an earthy vibe.

It’s true that biophilia was a popular trend in 2018, but experts say that we shouldn’t be expecting it to leave anytime soon. If you’re not in on the biophilia trends yet, why not look into our indoor office plants  so you can update your look.

 

HANGING PLANTING – YES

One way that you can incorporate more natural elements in your office, without taking up too much space, is through the use of hanging planting. Scindapsis, colloquially called Devil’s Ivy, is frequently used in hanging planting as it flows down from the planters and looks modern and chic.

 

AUDACIOUS WALLS – YES

Plain and boring walls are out, especially in offices and working establishments. Instead, bring out some funky 3D wall-scaping, or settle for the somewhat easier geometric patterns. Geometric shapes can inject individuality into a room, or – if used sparingly – can break up the monotony of large offices and indicate where departments begin and end. You can also add wall planting, living pictures or moss walls for something stunning.

 

COMFY FITTINGS – YES

Much like the rejection of sharp, pristine colour schemes, we’re also getting rid of sharp edges. Bring in some deep pile rugs and encourage your workers to take their shoes off. By keeping them relaxed, you will promote your employees to be less distracted by their surroundings and more able to get stuck into their work in the office.

It’s not just about deep pile rugs, either; you can spread comfy ideals across your office by bringing in some new office chairs and interspersing a couple of cushions here and there.

 

MIX IT UP – YES

The overwhelming consensus of interior designers who are looking towards the new year is the importance of mixing up your styles. Take a bit of inspiration from here and combine it with some from there. Hybrid rooms are well and truly IN. Imagine a room that combines elements of smart techno with space-saving planting features. Wow!

If you’re looking for a truly stunning start to your year, speak to Planteria for some ideas. We can offer you free quote on many of our features, including our office moss walls –perfect for the business of 2019.

Design Trends Call for More Green Planting in Offices

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At the end of 2015 Leading Office Design and Fit-out Specialist Area Sq predicted the trends that would influence and shape the decisions organisations make in the coming year. Read the full article here:

A strong theme linking their predictions, is the importance that planting and nature will play, both aesthetically and to improve wellbeing in the work place. We take a look at their forecast and how it links to corporate planting;

Organic, biophilic and biomimetic design

Businesses have begun waking up to the idea that the relationship between people and nature is worth exploring. Simple offerings, such as natural light and fresh air, can have a dramatic effect on employee wellbeing. Access to such necessities will not only improve morale, but also concentration. Any office interior that reflects an element of nature in its design can expect to yield instant results.

Plants and floristry make a huge impact at a relatively small cost. The options are endless. From floor standing planting to living walls, there have never been as many solutions for any space or environment. Use planting to enhance your scheme, adding colour with the imaginative use of planters with in huge variety of choice available.

 

Agile working, co-working and the gig economy

‘Work’ is no longer a fixed place. Work is everywhere. Organisations are no longer bound by the restrictions of traditional hours and a cellular office setting, and nor are employees. Along with this new approach to work, a ‘gig economy’ is emerging. The idea of a 9-5 working day has been replaced by a culture that embraces an individual’s need to work whenever, wherever and however to get the job done. This is driving the boom in co-working spaces where employees can consume rather than occupy an office for a set period of time.

Use planting in the workplace to create informal break-out areas where important networking can be done, and private spaces conducive to discussion, negating the need for individual offices.

 

Wellness and wellbeing

The health and safety of employees has always been and will always remain of paramount importance. However, the idea of ‘wellness and wellbeing’ is now taking over; it’s not as simple as ensuring the workforce is safe. Office design can have a profound impact on employee health, happiness and productivity, and organisations’ that seek to help staff improve their physical and psychological wellbeing will reap the associated benefits.

Add plants, living walls or create green spaces such as a roof-terrace or garden area. Being in view of plants is proven to enhance wellbeing, improving mental health, concentration and productivity.

 

Convergent design

A few years ago, the word ‘office’ would probably conjure a particular image – perhaps a cellular, grey space, filled with fluorescent lighting and row upon row of cold and clinical desks. These days, you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a coffee shop and a workspace. The lines between our various worlds – family, work, and social – are blurring. The design of a workspace should reflect the fact that modern employees are used to working in all sorts of environments.

Make the office more like home, we’ve seen a growing trend for ‘domesticating’ the workplace. Create a more relaxing, homely environment with houseplants and floral arrangements. Living pictures adorn kitchen / dining areas where staff mix like family.

 

Beyond ticking the green building box

More organisations now consider a wide range of factors when assessing environmental performance – it’s not just about meeting the minimum requirements anymore. Companies are beginning to look at the supply chain, the wellbeing and environmental strategies of suppliers – and, despite the complexity of embracing standards and accreditation, organisations that utilise these effective tools when it comes to meeting the specific objectives of a building’s design and management can expect to save money and reduce their carbon footprint as they do so.

Adding a green roof, using peat free planting, including environmentally enhancing outdoor plants such as wild-flowers, bee boxes and insect hotels area are all excellent ways to make a positive impact on the environment and make you greener as a company.

 

Zonal design

By creating different types of space within an office and empowering people to make decisions about how to use them, organisations are able to meet the needs of groups of people who work at different times and in different ways depending on their job function, age, personality, working relationships and personality.

The office isn’t just a place to work; it is also a driver of competitive advantage. By embracing these current and future trends, business leaders will be able to meet the varying demands of the millennial workforce, Area Sq says.

An effective and low cost way to maximise the use of an open plan office space is to use planting to screen off areas for other uses. Give a feeling of tranquility and privacy in areas for multi-purpose use – meetings, socialising or coffee breaks.

 

Let us help you with your office design. We work in collaboration with designers, working from mood boards and floor plans to make your vision a reality. Offering bespoke options and partnering directly with office fit-out companies to deliver a one-stop solution. With contracts for maintenance, beautiful plants are guaranteed for years to come.

4 Key Design Tactics for Hotels and Hospitality

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In today’s competitive marketplace, we know that people have higher expectations of customer service and the aesthetic of a venue. Connect to the hearts and minds of your guests by providing them with a real ‘experience’, elevate their mood and change the dynamic of your space to bring about many benefits, including increasing your revenues. It’s all about creating the right environment.

In this article, we look at some interesting findings and recommend some design tactics based on research for businesses looking to cultivate the perfect guest experience. If you’ve ever wondered how much a room with a view is worth, or how to design a first-class lobby, then read on…

 

Your Lobby – Your Showcase

A high dwell rate in your lobby or reception area will tell you two things; that you’ve created a luxurious space and that your guests are engaging with the experience you’ve created.

Let’s break this down into more meaningful observations; It’s well understood that guests and tourists book a hotel to explore the surrounding area. In other words, they’re happy if there is bed and board but are more interested in spending time enjoying the surrounding area than hanging out at the hotel. But, if you are improving the dwell rate of your lobby, then you are successfully adding to the value of your guest’s experience, showing that your hotel is an attraction too. If you offer a concierge service or promote local tourism and trips in your lobby, then you are also increasing the chance that these guests will book through your hotel, which will bring in an additional income stream.https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/538672805428432061/

Biophilic Hotel Lobby

Guest perception and the overall experience a guest has at your hotel is of paramount importance. In almost all cases, the lobby will be the second impression of their stay with you. Their first impression will be the hotel entrance and façade; the second will be your lobby when they check in. These experiences are formative for setting the guest’s view of the quality and service of your premises, and if yours is a listed building then there may be very little you can do to personalise the exterior so you should concentrate on the lobby.

You also want to be sure that the check-in and check-out process is a pleasant one so that guests are keen to recommend you to others when they return home. This makes the lobby a very important space for every hotel, and a high dwell rate shows that you are doing it right.

1) How to Increase Your Lobby’s Dwell Rate

You can improve the dwell rate of your lobby through a variety of means, such as by ensuring that seating is comfortable, inviting, and creating an ambience of cool sophistication. Did you know that implementing biophilic design into your lobby can have a huge effect on your guests’ perceptions?

In a study conducted by Terrapin Bright Green and Human Spaces, it was found that ‘the dwell rate of biophilic hotel lobbies is 36% higher than in conventional lobbies’. If you aren’t up to speed with the meaning behind biophilic design, we recommend that you read our white paper on biophilia. Biophilic design is all about incorporating nature into the built environment, which helps us to feel more grounded, balanced and relaxed.

Bill Browning, the founding partner of Terrapin Bright Green, notes that ‘many brands are rediscovering that lobbies can function as more than just transitory space, […] they can also increase revenue’. If you want to stay ahead of your competitors, then you can’t afford to neglect your lobby any longer.

‘In short, guests like to spend more time in spaces with connections to nature’. – Bill Browning

When thinking about improving your lobby space, consider plants, green walls, water features, fish tanks and natural light to create a natural oasis of calming tranquillity. Add some ambient music and a bar or barista, and you have a winning combination of somewhere to relax and do some people watching, rather than just a transitory space to transact business and move out of.

2) Craft a Unique Guest Experience

Biophilic hotel design and décor is a strong factor in creating a unique and memorable guest experience but becoming a biophilic hotel is more than a single vase of flowers on the main desk. Biophilia is about returning the human to nature where they feel most comfortable, so you also need to consider comfortable furnishings for guests to relax in, colour schemes, and choosing natural fabrics and materials like wood will all add to the biophilic design elements.

According to Terrapin Bright Green, you should consider putting luscious living walls in busy areas with high traffic, and we would also recommend posy flower arrangements and flowers for restaurants to create a cohesive biophilic atmosphere throughout your hotel. If you are struggling with your budget, then some smart placement could be the solution to your worries:

‘When budget constraints limit opportunities for using a uniquely biophilic material or product, limited applications can be just as effective when thoughtfully incorporated’.

Biophilic Design in Hospitality, p. 36.

3) Receive More Positive Reviews

To ensure that your hotel continues to receive a high occupancy rate, you want to be sure that your guests are giving you great reviews. Would you have guessed that by adding nature to your hotel design you can influence the kind of reviews that your guests will be leaving you? Terrapin Bright Green report that:

‘while the websites of both hotel types [conventional versus biophilic] discuss “experience” the same amount, guest reviews of biophilic hotels mention “experience” twice as often as reviews of conventional hotels’.

Biophilic Design in Hospitality, p. 25.

This could mean that a biophilic hotel is more memorable than a conventional hotel because guests have more to say about their experiences. This could also be linked to the added health and wellness benefits that being around plants and natural elements brings.

4) Water Features

Humans have an affinity with nature, and with water in particular so sea or lake views have a powerful effect on our emotions. Hotels.com published a study confirming that there is an 18% price difference for rooms offering a full view to water and other scenic views.

‘Hotel guest rooms with a view to water are priced on average 11%-18% higher than rooms without a view’.

Biophilic Design in Hospitality, p. 8.

Of course, not all hotels are going to be able to provide a stunning view, but they can incorporate other natural elements into the hotel design such as  indoor plants an orangery or garden room, to augment guests’ experiences.

In short, start making your space work for you and your guests, starting with your lobby. We suggest prioritising quality over quantity and aim to work with your surrounding area instead of against it. For any help and advice concerning plants and biophilic designs, contact us at Planteria Group.

Planters, Containers and Your Office Aesthetic

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When we talk about biophilia, we are referring to how adding plants and nature to your working environment can help staff to feel happy, creative and more productive all at the same time, but did you know that changing up the container of a plant can drastically change its appearance? In this article, we consider the effects that different containers can bring to plants and how we can match them to your business’ aesthetic.

Planting Can Change How You Feel & Behave

Smart biophilic design can create a workplace which improves employee performance, health and wellbeing. For many, the aesthetic of their office may seem like a luxury that should be the last thing to be considered in current financial climates, but when it comes to biophilic design, you should be asking yourself whether your business can afford not to implement these strategies.

It’s well known that some of the biggest businesses in the world use biophilic design to maximise their output. Google, Amazon and Apple are all filled to the brim with plants, living walls and health schemes, and when you consider the statistics that plants in the office make you 15% more productive, you can understand why. Can your company afford to be losing out on that 15%?

By adding just a few desk plants to your office environment, you can positively alter the aesthetic to benefit your employees. It’s not all down to desk plants, however, as you should also try to maximise natural light, natural materials and scenic views if you’re lucky enough to have any.

If you have any further questions regarding biophilia, we recommend that you read one of our blogs on the subject:

Biophilia – What Is It and Why Is It Important?

Biophilic Design in the Workplace

Biophilia White Paper

 

How Containers Can Change Plants

Plants come in all shapes and sizes, and the containers they come in can also substantially alter their image, whether you’re looking for plants which add a bit of fun and colour, or something a little more sophisticated which exudes style in the lobby or meeting room, we have it all.

For example, a group of bespoke ‘statement’ planters, like the ones in the image at the top of this blog, in a variety of finishes and in a complimentary colour palette can provide the perfect finishing touch to a space and can tie a design scheme together perfectly. Whilst some fresh white planters with a mix of different plant specimens can add light and vibrancy to an office that might otherwise feel too corporate.

We can source almost any plant or container, so you are limited only by your imagination. We can even match containers and planters to your company’s corporate colour-scheme.

Move on to the next section for some examples of beautiful plant containers that you could enjoy from your office soon:

 

Attractive Containers Made to Inspire

Planters and containers come in all shapes and sizes. Tiny planters can be dotted around on desks and reception areas to create a homely feel, adding detail that shows you care, and allowing all your colleagues to benefit from biophilia. Small planters are perfect for succulents which are very popular at the moment and come in a wide variety, and in different shades. A selection has been used in the workspace below, with stunning effect, in this ‘industrial design’ style using a palette of black, stone and copper:

– Artistic Design Using Mixed Planting

Succulents in tiny pots office biophiliaThese plants work especially well on a smaller budget, and they show just how important quality products and design planning are when incorporating plants in your décor.

– The Perfect Partner to the ‘Industrial Design’ TrendPlant rack office biophilia

Staying with the Industrial Design trend, this image showcases the benefits of vertical storage for getting those biophilic themes into your office or social space. This plethora of planting is bright, vibrant and friendly, which is sure to motivate and brighten the day of anyone using the area. The containers for these plants are uniform which juxtaposes with the individual nature of each plant in the frame, contrasting the symmetry against the soft natural greenery.

The use of mirrors at the back of the space also maximises the amount of light in the area and gives the illusion of doubling the number of plants, further proving that quality of product and smart planning can go a very long way to creating the perfect biophilic atmosphere.

– Pots on Legs

Pots with Legs are all the rage! We love them too. These containers stand out, and you can choose from brass, wood or metal for contrast to the pot colour. Plants are elevated to a new height and given the same status as a prized piece of art. This trend brings a sense of class to the plants, giving them a modern edge that would look stylish in almost any room. There are plenty of innovative ideas, so don’t doubt that we can find something to suit your setting.

We can provide a range of planters and containers in any colour and a variety of sizes. The only thing limiting you is your imagination, and we can offer you our design assistance to help overcome any struggles with space or budget. Simply contact us for more information regarding our indoor plants.