Save the drop! Go Faux! There have been great leaps in the manufacturing of artificial plants, greenery and flowers and these days it is getting harder to tell them apart from the real thing. In this blog, we look at the many new possibilities that Artificial Plants are being used to soften balconies, offices, and decorating walls inside the home.

This unrelenting drought has us all exhausted and overwhelmed by all the watercrisis talk. In a time where every drop is precious as drinking water, the reality is that green, lush and real may have to be postponed until we have more reliable alternative water sources long term. In the meantime, for those of us who need a daily dose of vitamin green in our homes and working environments, there are new alternatives to consider. Going fake is never going to be as cool as the real thing…we know…we get it…but more and more, people are asking for ways to make their surroundings as natural‐looking, beautiful, inspiring and peaceful as possible.

Clean lines and shapes and minimalist planting make this a dramatic garden!
Clean lines and shapes and minimalist planting make this a dramatic garden!

The amazing creativity one can unleash with artificial plants! They are more realistic these days and will almost make you look twice.

Now Available

China and the East have long been great lovers and suppliers of artificial plants and flowers, and technology has greatly improved in their manufacture in recent years. Gone are those fake water-droplet-ed roses (phew)…and today there is a huge variety of natural looking plastic and silk foliage, flowers, potted plants like Orchids and even large shrubs, palms, hedges and trees. Greenwall or vertical gardening systems with real plants that require regular watering, fertilizing and maintenance can even now be replaced by beautiful faux green walls, where the textures, colours and variety of grassy, leafy, moss-like and ferny plants gets one pretty close (at a small distance ok) to the real McCoy.

A beautiful roof garden for night-time entertainment is dramatic and low maintenance.

Artificial greenery used as an office screen to divide the rooms in our design studio in Cape Town

No More Maintenance

With most of the artificial plants needing to be imported into South Africa from China, they still can come with a cost. But the benefits of artificial plants do weigh in their favor, especially if you consider them in commercial applications like offices, hotels, café’s, restaurants etc. These environments need to look good year round and often everyone already has an important job to do and so watering and caring for indoor plants often is neglected or costly. The spot in the home or office where a plant looks the best is not always the one in which it grows the best, usually due to low light conditions. Faux plants however, are perfect for these environments, where their green and natural feeling still enhances the space without all the maintenance and monthly costs, plus they can be placed wherever one likes and moved if required.

Green walls, glass, steel and architectural styling are elements in the contemporary garden
Green walls, glass, steel and architectural styling are elements in the contemporary garden
Green walls, glass, steel and architectural styling are elements in the contemporary garden

Low light conditions in homes, offices and shops make these artificial  installations the perfect solution to add a touch of green to the design

Unleashed Creativity

One can also get wildly creative with artificial plants and greenery and create very dramatic installations of great height and scale, that just would not have been practical with real plants and their required irrigation systems. Because they are made from lightweight materials, these faux plants often don’t need too much of an engineered support structure to hold them. It becomes quite fun and easy to cover entire walls in ferns or mosses or have hanging orchids, ferns and climber plants trailing down from an upper mezanine level to give a ‘somehere in a jungle far‐way’ feeling to an office or retail environment. The ceiling now becomes the limit!

UV Resistant

The one small drawback of the old artificial plants is that they did tend to fade in direct sunlight, so they did not last long in an outdoor setting. However most of them are now treated with a UV resistant coating to make them better suited to outdoor environments. They can therefore be used around outdoor bars, pool and spas areas or on the home patio etc as long as you check what the UV rating is on the products you buy and they could very well last up to 10 years in direct sunlight.

Edgy rusty steel retaining and hardy succulent planting around a circular lawn

Artificial hedging used in a stylish setting for a restaurant at the Cape Quarter

Faux Flora

Here at Cape Contours we have started our own range of artificial greenery and plant products, called Faux Flora. We have done some beautiful installations at café’s, home residences and offices. There are sample screens at our showroom and designers who can assist in the right choice and design for your space. Two types of Faux Flora walls are available, the Bespoke Greenwall, where a design can be drawn up to spec and the foliage cut in certain ways, stuck together and attached to a backing, letting you play with the foliage types creatively.

Colour in the garden from hardy perennials, succulents and grasses in a cohesive design
Colour in the garden from hardy perennials, succulents and grasses in a cohesive design

Bespoke Green wall panel for a recent installation by Cape Contours Landscape Studio

The second type is ready made up panels that have been mixed with 10 different foliage types, to create a wild and natural green feature which can be attached to any type of surface. Both applications cost a fraction of the price of a living green wall, and do not need water or maintain to look beautiful!

Colour in the garden from hardy perennials, succulents and grasses in a cohesive design

The mixed Faux Flora greenwall system and a close up of the realistic-looking foliage textures and colours

Do give us a call if you want to view some samples or discuss an idea you may have for adding greenery to your spaces. We would love to help.

Happy Faux gardening!

Contact Us!

+27 21 300 3398
sasha@capecontours.co.za
quotes@capecontours.co.za

Click here For Your Green Wall Quotation!

Sources & Images:

Cape Contours Landscape Studio team

www.mydecorative.com

www.decoholic.org

www.furnish.co.uk

www.evergreendirect.co.uk