Landscapes of the Month: Creating a Biophilic Oasis Indoors - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

We recently updated our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use this website, you acknowledge that our revised Privacy Policy applies.

Landscapes of the Month: Creating a Biophilic Oasis Indoors

Photo: Maxwell Monty

Located in Salem, Oregon, this client wanted a biophilic oasis in the State Treasury Building for employees with hopes of creating a reflection of the country in the surrounding area. To mirror the surrounding area, murals and paintings from around the state were placed within the building since the client wanted to represent the beautiful state they operate in; lush and green while still being operational and sleek.

Due to the challenging nature of this project, Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping, based in Portland, Oregon, was hired to take on this project.

Photo: Maxwell Monty

As a result of Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping’s hard work, the project received a Gold Award in the 2022 Awards of Excellence.

“We take pride in our quality, and to see our hard work paying off as a team is really gratifying,” says Paige Tisdale, a business developer for Dennis’ 7 Dees Landscaping. “We want to be recognized for the experts that we are in our industry, and this is a great opportunity to showcase that.”

Dennis’ 7 Dees had been referred to the client by the general contractor, with whom they have an outstanding relationship.

Despite the success of the project, it had many challenges that needed to be overcome.

The project was completed during COVID, so all meetings had to be made virtual, which posed multiple design hindrances. Over 12 people were on a call at a time to make design decisions, which did not prove to be efficient.

To install the moss art, a lift that reached 30’ for access to the top was needed to do installations. The lift the crew ended up being given was not tall enough, so the last foot of the moss wall could not be reached.

Photo: Maxwell Monty

For the lift, the crew was unable to get a larger size since that would exceed the weight limit of the floors that had already been installed. To compensate for this issue, a beam clamp was used, and crew members hung from the beams of the ceiling to properly screw in the top of the moss art piece safely and correctly.

Even though the short lift was hard to work with, a taller person ended up standing on it, to help install the last foot of the moss art piece. Delays also occurred with the moss product since the source was dealing with a national flood emergency.

The crew made sure to overcommunicate options and delays to the client and were very transparent about any challenges that were faced; this created an open dialog and lots of flexibility when it came to rearranging the schedule to benefit the project as a whole.

Photo: Maxwell Monty

Despite the project being delayed due to natural disasters, labor shortages and complexities with construction schedules, everything was installed and completed within the set time frame. In fact, construction was completed one day ahead of schedule.

Everything that was used in the project is real. No faux material was used since the client wanted it to be as biophilic as possible. The building is supposed to withstand any disaster that comes its way, including its ability to move 18” in any direction in case of a large earthquake.

When selecting the plant palette, it was decided that the plants needed to work well with the space given.

“Based on the light levels and negative space in the area, I walked with the clients in the space before construction was complete to suggest plant species that would work well in the space,” Tisdale says. “[We used] varied heights, sizes, colors and textures to give it an extra biophilic feel, rather than repetitive uniform species to give it the most natural feel for the office.”

In total, the project only took two weeks to fabricate and four days to install. However, work began on the project a year before it was installed.

Interested in participating in the Awards of Excellence? Be sure to enter your projects when entries open in February 2023.