Have you ever worked in a boring, windowless office whose gray cubicle walls are the only thing you see all day? I certainly have. I once worked in an office where the most colorful image my eyes landed on was a phone extensions sheet tacked on a bulletin board. Pink and blue colors highlighted the various departments. That was it. It’s not uncommon in the modern world for offices to be enclosed environments without a window view of trees or greenery. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you don’t have a view of greenery in your office, you can make one with these three things.
1. Faux natural light.
If you can’t get sunlight or even daylight into your space, you can recreate it with a plant grow bulb. You don’t need an expensive set up of industry-grade lights. You can buy a $20 dollar desk lamp from a discount store and put an $8 full-spectrum bulb inside it. Or, for about $15, you can get a clip-on, full spectrum wand lamp. This will beam blue and ultraviolet light onto the plants, similar to the sun’s rays, thus keeping you and your plant in a cheery mood. The main thing to remember is to keep it about 10 inches or more above the plant. Otherwise, you risk scorching the leaves.
2. A plant or plants.
What do we see when we look outside? Well, that depends on where you live, but it’s often three levels of greenery. Usually we see the ground, some bushes, and trees. So as a stand-in for the ground, a grass-like plant like Spider Plant or Japanese Sedge works well. For the mounded look of shrubs, choose a Pothos or Peacock Plant. For the upright structure of a tree, add a Snake Plant or Rubber Tree. These all can take the lower intensity indoor light you’ll create with a lamp.
3. A frame.
This is optional. And you have a few choices here. You can buy a wall-mounted or tabletop “grow frame” online, which will have a full-spectrum light built into the upper board and shine on the plants. This is nice as it’s naturally self-contained, but it’s crazy expensive. Or you can build one out of wood and a pre-made picture frame. This is less expensive but requires a bit of know-how. Lastly, you can buy an IKEA Besta frame and leave off the back panel, then arrange your plants inside with the grow light shining on the plants from behind. This might be the easiest option.
Your Look and Style
The look and feel of your green view is only limited by your imagination. You can create a desert-like landscape with succulents and gravel topped pots. Or more of a rainforest look with big-leafed plants. You can try a Northwest forest with moss, sword ferns, and Norfolk Island Pine. All of these looks are a bit trickier as they require higher and lower degrees of light, humidity, and water, which you’ll have to research and apply to your space.
If you feel excited about a particular kind of green view, don’t be afraid to go for it. Experiment. We all make mistakes. That’s how we learn. Just remember to make sure all of your materials and plants are to scale with one another. You don’t want to buy a tall Snake Plant in a five-gallon pot before realizing it won’t fit in your 20” grow frame. And you don’t want a low-light, water-loving Alocasia paired with a sun-loving, low-water Aloe. If you’re a beginner and you’d like a simple arrangement where the plants match in their conditions and are easy-to-grow, go with my plant recommendations in Number 2 above. Remember, the time and money you put into this will give you ten times the reward in relaxation and stress releaf. So have fun!