Interview by Michelle Heslop. Photos provided by Modpots.
Tell us about Modpots beginnings. What was the inspiration for starting a plant design business? It’s a classic tale of a passion that evolved into a full time job. Rewind to the early 2000’s when we lived in a top-floor bachelor apartment in a three-storey walk up in Vancouver. I kept bringing home plants that I referred to as “cuties.” We eventually ran out of room inside, so my then boyfriend, now husband, extended our rooftop deck for all my planters that I would change with the seasons. Soon, friends and family were asking me to help them with their plant design which eventually turned into small jobs that I would fit in between my career in skin care sales.
Fast forward, two small kids later, I decided my passion for plants was too strong to ignore. I took some plant-focused design courses and coupled with my strong background in sales and marketing, I created Modpots. Initially, I focused on planters for smaller homes and condo patios. Today, our services provide year-round planters and styling services for residential and commercial spaces, inside and out. We also create several products for sale including custom planters, living walls and moss wall art.
Why do you think plants are having such a moment in design? Why are plants important to a space? Plants are having such a big impact in design because people are living in smaller spaces and want to have their urban jungles close by. You can’t go to a restaurant, mall or coffee shop without seeing some beautiful plants and planters. Living walls, moss walls, organic biophilic design is here to stay, it’s not just a trend.
At Modpots, we believe plants, both indoor and outdoor, are a natural extension of your personality and design style. Not only do they purify the air around you but plants help lower your stress level. It’s more than just a plant in a pot, we love creating conversation starters and bringing the whole space together. Beyond planter placement, we help our clients shop for furniture, lighting, accent pieces and consider the design for the entire space.
What are your guiding principles of good plant design? What makes a design captivating and diverse? After getting a sense of a client’s style and space, we start our design by creating a showstopper plant and planter combo — a piece that feels like the space was designed around it. An important part of the design process is creating perfect combinations which can mean time spent sourcing unique planters here on the Island or on the mainland.
While thrillers, spillers and fillers are typically a good formula for success, we absolutely believe in starting with gorgeous pots. Black is a very popular colour but not always the best choice for each home or commercial space. We often use white planters to complement the trim of a house. But there are many great colours and textures to choose from. If you are into modern organic, terra cotta has made a huge comeback. Corten steel is a beautiful starting point for a modern minimalist design. For clients that need custom planters created, we work with great planter manufacturers who offer those services.
When it comes to organic plant material, we focus on unique plants that will definitely get a conversation going. It’s good to remember planters are now focal points in the garden — they catch your eye and draw attention. We raise the bar with our designs by surrounding our feature plant with a support cast of complementary plants and colours/textures that create a living canvas of plant art.
We’re also mindful that many of our clients don’t want anything too high maintenance which is why you’ll find a lot of succulents in our plant designs. You can go away in the summer for weeks without having to water them. Bring them inside for winter or discard them as you would annuals when summer is over.
Do you have a design studio where you work or do you work on-site? Do you do workshops? We typically work on location for our larger installations after a thorough design consultation. If I’m not out shopping for a client or helping them with an onsite consultation, you can find me in my Modpots Design Studio building smaller planters or a new moss art creation. We have held workshops in the studio several times a year, for DIY events for holidays, birthday parties and corporate team building activities.
Who is your ideal client? We actually have three ideal clients: a homeowner who wants to take advantage of our great Southern Vancouver Island climate and needs help creating that perfect outdoor living space, a business owner who wants to greet their customers with an artful planter display that can be reinvented each season, and lastly, our industry partners, interior and landscape designers, developers and real estate agents who want to elevate their projects to stand out from their competitors.
Where can people view your work? Our clients engage with us all year for our design expertise, our seasonal installations and our moss art and living wall services. You can see some of our favourite creations at modpots.ca.