Plants aplenty

One local plant design company is responsible for the first impression of some of Savannah’s finest establishments.

“First impressions are everything,” said Savannah Interior Plant Design Owner Michael Skaff.

Those establishments include Perry Lane Hotel, the Drayton Hotel, the DeSoto Savannah, and one of their latest projects, the new Thompson Hotel, located at 201 Port St. “Our business, unlike other interior landscapers, focuses not only on quality, service and selecting the right plant material, but it also has a lot to do with design elements,” Skaff said.

Savannah Interior Plant Designs is a premier interior landscape company. Their professionally trained horticultural staff cultivates the environments of commercial and residential buildings with fresh flowering and foliage plants as well as assisting with silks, holiday decor and corporate gifting.

The owner, Skaff, is a revered designer with over 35 years in the floral industry. Among other distinctions, his business was chosen as a floral designer for both the 1993 Clinton and 2001 and 2005 Bush Presidential Inaugurations.

It also served the 75th Annual Academy Award Presentation - Oscars.

The experienced designer said when he begins a project, his eyes read the flow of the room, and he begins his calculations from there.

“The first thing we do is look at the brand direction of the company or the aesthetic of the private residence - is it traditional, contemporary?” Skaff said. “Then, the first thing to do from an aesthetic point of view is to understand what the customer is looking for in a design. Then we analyze the air flow, and the heat and the way light comes into the room, and we determine what size, scale and texture the plants need to be. In selecting plants, we want to make a nice warm accent but never be intrusive of the environment.”

Skaff pointed to a potted bromeliad – a tropical flowering plant – providing an example of his process.

“We selected black glass containers because they went along with the checkerboard flooring, and we felt like the containers needed to have a contemporary flavor to them,” Skaff said. “We wanted a unique plant material that would last for the customer, so we decided to do two different bromeliads and give it height differentiation so when you’re looking in from the main lobby into this room the first thing that you see on the sofa table is an impactful plant.”

The Savannah Interior Plant Design team also shared that their work is beneficial in more ways than one.

“There are so many known health benefits that come from plants being in an environment,” Skaff said. “Just to name a few of them, they not only lift spirits, they help as a mood swing. They also increase the oxygen level. If I do an office space, the staff becomes more productive because they’re happier in their environment. Plants are known to take bad bacteria out of the air.”

Savannah Interior Plant Designs technician, Stanley Walden, who does the handywork to turn Skaff’s vision into a reality, said it is rewarding when they complete a project.

“I hear it all the time: ‘Oh, the flowers look great! I wish you could come to my house,’” Walden said. “When you have plants, you can’t help to feel alive when you walk into the room.”

Visit to learn about the local plant design business.

About The Author

Brandy Simpkins

Brandy Simpkins is the community/ event journalist for Connect Savannah. Simpkins is a born and raised Savannahian and an alumna of Savannah Savannah State University where she received her B.A. in English Language & Literature. Simpkins enjoys writing more than anything else in the world. She is a curious journalist,...
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