Outdoor living Babylonstoren header
Inspiration from Babylonstoren's restaurant | Images © Catherine Mac Photography / Babylonstoren

Amongst the hints, style tricks and on-trend tips in the ELLE Decoration Style Directory, on shelf today, you’ll find a whole section dedicated to outdoor living. With plant life ideal to freshen up your home, guest writer Anja Jerling presents a few on-trend tips.

As winter weather drives us indoors this season, we have the perfect opportunity to fine-tune our green fingers, bringing the best of outdoor living inside. Besides a fresh, natural ambience and clean air that plant life provides, when used appropriately, greenery and foliage can be a powerful, invigorating decorating tool.

The watch word is simplicity; the simpler the better when it comes to growing plants and displaying them indoors. As well as being the easiest way to propagate your greens – especially herbs that love to proliferate like basil and mint – rooting plants simply suspended in water has also become a beautiful floral trend.

Outdoor living Babylonstoren Catherine Mac
Outdoor living style at Babylonstoren | Image © Catherine Mac Photography

It can be as easy as snipping off a strong, healthy part of the plant at the base of the leaves, placing it in a vase, jug or tumbler glass with mineral water and watching it grow. This process is known as hydroponics; growing plants using mineral nutrient solutions, in water, without soil.


HYDROPONICS | soil-less gardening; the process of growing plants in water, sand and gravel.

PROPAGATE | breeding plants naturally from the parent stock, usually via cuttings.

AQUAPONICS | a blend of aquaculture (raising small aquatic life) with hydroponics to create a reciprocal fish-and-plant system enabling home-owners to grow fresh, local food sustainably.

When it comes to growing indoor plants you do not have to complicate matters; if a plant has sufficient light and nutrients it is indestructible. Take your sample specimen from a friend’s garden (with permission!) then prepare the plant to root by cutting the plant at its node, just beneath the leaf. This is where the rooting hormone is active. Because the plant will be getting its nutrients from the water (rather than soil) it’s important to use mineral water, not tap water if possible.

Because the plant will be getting its nutrients from the water it’s important to use mineral water.

The vase, a facilitator of light and a prominent decorative feature, can be a plant’s defining accessory. Laboratory-style vases with a bulbous base have a magnifying effect on their contents and create interesting shapes, especially around the roots. For the more adventurous, coloured vases can complement the room’s décor palette and reflect a plant’s notable features or floral hue. With the right amount of light and minerals, your self-made plant can reside on the coffee table this winter without you having to lift a (green) finger.

vegetables-as-decor-babylonstoren-10 web
Babel Restaurant’s home-grown goodness | © Babylonstoren

Take it one step further: jazz up your hydroponic vase by using root vegetables; inviting a cosy, autumnal harvest feel, enriching your home with organic, earthy tones. With this easy décor tip, you’re not only rejuvenating your home’s environment, but adding to your well-being at the same time; there is something quite delightful in preserving life and watching it flourish. Bring this simple winter trend into your home and you’ll only gain from its enchanting qualities.

Outdoor living Babylonstoren
Hydroponic rooting greenery at Babel Restaurant | © Babylonstoren

Compiled by DECO guest writer, Anja Jerling.
Images © Babylonstoren and Catherine Mac Photography.

ELLE Decoration Style DirectoryRevealing over 200 of our most-coveted contacts, décor suppliers and design experts, the new ELLE Decoration Style Directory is a must-have for every décor amateur and professional alike. Packed with hints, tips and tricks to transform every room in your home, as well as all the experts you should know, it’s the ultimate buyers’ guide. Buy yours across South Africa wherever magazines are sold and as a digital download right here.