The past year has changed many perceptions, including how we view our surroundings. As isolation persisted, many of us began to realize how crucial our connection to nature really is—so we brought it indoors. People all over the globe started projects with the intent of feeling happier, healthier and at peace with uncertainty. However, the most notable activity that vastly impacted the public was gardening. So much so, that a national shortage of plants emerged—a tremendous indicator of how necessary it is to live in the presence of other life.
Now that we’ve returned to in-person modes of learning, working, and socializing, adapting to indoor environments can be quite challenging, especially when they lack the comfort of nature. But there is a solution: Plant Solutions. The Scottsdale-based company of 40 years has been a leader in the industry of horticulture and biophilic design, which involves the art of integrating natural environments into spatial surroundings to increase occupant connectivity with nature.
“Employees are demanding of employers that they provide a safe working environment, and bringing plants indoors is one of the strategies that employers are using,” said Joe Zazzera, founder and co-owner of Plant Solutions.
Working directly with building owners and tenants, Plant Solutions’ team of experts and horticultural service technicians reimagine spaces through the use of live plants, moss walls, plant dividers, and more. It’s not only an art, but a science that has proven to have positive effects on behavior and production.
“The thing about biophilia is that it’s innate, it’s part of us and our ancestors,” said Zazzera, “So that’s why most of us long for nature is because we get that feeling of safety, and we get that feeling of belonging and feeling of connectedness and you don’t get that inside buildings that don’t have any nature connected to them.”
Scientific research findings suggest that we spend 90 percent of our time indoors, and that building interiors are frequently more polluted than the outdoors. Additionally, psychological connections to nature have an exceptional impact on mental health and productivity by cultivating optimism and energy for many individuals.
According to Zazzera, the happier people are at work, the more likely they are to be consistently present. As a result, absenteeism rates reduce, thereby benefiting both the employer and employee.
“It [interior biophilic design] is essential to business survival, because employees are essential to the business survival,” Zazzera remarked. “As an employer, if you can provide an atmosphere that’s conducive to life, that’s conducive to happiness, that’s conducive to productivity, then your likelihood of the employee just walking away is less.”
Following the fiscal turmoil that was brought on by the global pandemic, many businesses may perceive plant renovations as unattainable. However, founder Joe Zazzera, co-owner Pat Mahan, and their remarkable team of innovative horticultural artists believe that integrating natural environments shouldn’t be determined by affordability.
Anyone can take advantage of the incredible designs they have to offer through their rental program, which essentially allows companies and tenants to have access to biophilia within their own budget. “We have ways of structuring programs to meet their needs,” Zazzera explained. “We’re actually very good at that when we meet with a client, reading them, figuring out what they need, and then figuring out how to make it work for them.”
As ecological developments advance the urban scene, we are one step closer to fostering sustainable communities. However, many believe the initiative to become stewards of the environment is arduous, yet sometimes it is as simple as the push of a button.
Plant Solutions is proactive and reactive, ensuring they are prepared for anything and capable of overcoming unexpected challenges. As changes arise, they adapt their strategies to further progression, and one of those strategies is the utilization of technology. Aside from manual cleaning maintenance, plant growth can be cultivated from virtually anywhere with the use of integrated moisture sensors and irrigation systems that electronically record foliage data while allowing the user to digitally irrigate plants from any location at any time.
With the continuous development of technological approaches, new and exciting ways of sustainable living are made feasible. Additionally, vast media awareness is changing the landscape, quite literally. “There’s so much awareness now, around the benefits of connecting with nature and the benefits of plants, not just myself,” Zazzera noted. “When I reference today, back to 40 years ago, or even 20 years ago, it’s a world of difference.”
And Plant Solutions is a key player in that difference. From a simple concept that began in 1984, Zazzera’s company has grown tremendously, and continues to pursue a reconnection with the natural environment that recognizably impacts human behavior and outcomes. When asked about the driving force behind their passions, Zazzera summed it up perfectly, stating: “It’s all about bringing nature into the built environment, so that people will be relaxed and comforted and more productive and just happier.”