Archive for the Vertical Garden Category

Tillandsia Garden At The Plant Cafe

Posted in Press, Vertical Garden on May 13, 2010 by smithbuilt

When the owners of The Plant Cafe Organic, Matthew and Mark first approached me about a vertical garden they were interested in something dynamic and unusual that fit with their dining concept of “the waiting room of a Finnish sauna set in a Tokyo airport”.

Something modern and organic-I suggested a large boarderless Tillandsia piece composed of nine 1/4” plates of cold rolled steel patinaed with a solution of copper suspended acid wash.

My assistant Jesse and I set to work constructing the large “backer panel” receiver on which the steel plates were to be secured. The backer was then preliminarily fitted with the steel panels to mark the positioning of each panel, and the backer was secured to the wall.

We then constructed transport frames to move the steel in order to receive the patina and later to serve as placement rigs while we worked on the plantings.

During assembly, each panel was numbered and secured to the backer in the corresponding location.

This is one of my favorite pieces as the patina, although tricky, is quite unusual and has continued to grow and change over time just like the plants.


New Tillandsia Garden at Ritual

Posted in Vertical Garden on October 7, 2009 by smithbuilt

This is a new Tillandsia garden that is currently hanging in the Ritual Roasters on Valencia Street.

Moss work

Posted in Vertical Garden on May 11, 2009 by smithbuilt

This is a detail of a moss garden I did a few months ago.

moss 2

Vertical Gardens in the press

Posted in Press, Vertical Garden on May 3, 2009 by smithbuilt

The vertical gardens I installed with Flora Grubb are in Sunset and Garden Design magazines this month.

Sunset Magazine Vertical Garden article with 2 of my gardens.

Garden Design Magazien with Vertical Garden I designed with Flora Grubb

New York Times article

This is the Bardessono Hotel Tillandsia Garden

Vertical Garden in Napa

Posted in Vertical Garden on May 3, 2009 by smithbuilt

Here is a vertical garden I installed recently. The frame is made of dried liana.

liana-vine-framed-gardenvertical succulent garden

Bardessono Hotel Vertical Garden

Posted in Vertical Garden on April 2, 2009 by smithbuilt

This is a vertical Tillandsia garden I installed in collaboration with Flora Grubb and Seth Boor. There was a story about it in the New York Times.

New York Times article

Me, Flora, Seth, and Greyson with the Tillandsia garden


SmithBuilt’s collaboration process inspires one-of-a-kind results. Most recently, SmithBuilt collaborated to create a “green” art installation as the main feature of the lobby at the The Bardessono hotel in Napa Valley. SmithBuilt created and installed a vertical garden on the hotel’s main entrance walls using Tillandsia, “air” plants which need little to no water. The project was lauded in the New York Times as “a striking substitute for wasteful displays of cut flowers” that has the effect of “a Victorian collector’s cabinet of curiosities” full of “abstracted sea creatures.” SmithBuilt worked with Flora Grubb of Flora Grubb Gardens and Seth Boor of Boor Bridges Architecture to conceive and build the garden.

This recent collaboration is one of many, that you can read about here.