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Apartment Plants: Tips From Bravo’s ‘Backyard Envy’ Star, Garrett Magee

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Smart City
Aug 7, 2020

You don’t have to be a scientist to know that plants make all the difference in our environment. They reduce carbon dioxide levels, reduce levels of certain pollutants, regulate air temps–the list goes on! Having plants in your apartment yield similar benefits, with the added benefit of style and a kind of living feel. If you weren’t born with a “green thumb,” incorporating plants into your space can be kind of intimidating. Don’t know where to start? Not to worry, we’ve got a Smart City exclusive with Bravo TV’s star “gardenista” himself!

team photo

Garrett Magee (pictured left) is the self-proclaimed “muscle” of Backyard Envy’s dynamic and hilarious landscaping trio. If you haven’t watched the show, you’re seriously missing out on the untapped, comical drama of the landscaping world!

A Texas native, Garrett and his two besties have established themselves as New York City’s most sought-after landscapers, or better known as,  Manscapers. When it comes to taking squeezed New York terraces and turning them into green-space utopias, there’s nobody better! We got to interview Garrett and snag his top tips to turn your apartment into a living, breathing (and growing) Pinterest board!


What are your top three plant recommendations to liven up an apartment?

“For dramatic effect, dracaeana marginata – They come in so many sizes and offer a really dramatic, modern look!

For variety, asparagus setaceus (Lace Fern) – Ferns are great for bathrooms because of all the moisture. This is one of my fave apartment plants!

For hanging, staghorn fern – If you don’t have a lot of space, try getting plants that hang on the wall! Staghorns are perfect for this.”

*Google searches “asparagus setaceus” *

bathroom fern

Which plant is a personal favorite to brighten up your NYC apartment?

“The ficus audrey – It has beautiful matte leaves and is a member of the fig family, related to the popular fiddle leaf fig but much easier to keep alive!”

window plants

What are your top three recommendations for easy apartment plants?

“Contrary to popular belief, succulents are not as easy to keep as you would think! Over-water once and you can kill those little guys. The snake plant is the easiest go-to plant that can survive any light condition or watering.”

(You’re speaking our language, Garrett!)

“The ZZ plant features really nice green that is very low maintenance. And the monstera has really nice tropical foliage that is impossible to kill. Just be careful because they tend to take over!”

G working

Great – we’ve got our top apartment plant picks, now we just need to arrange them…

“I always try to mix heights and textures of leaves to create visual interest. When I’m making an arrangement of pots for my apartment, I like to use different pots that have a similar vibe, for example, using different shades of gray with different textures. Don’t be afraid to mix pots, just try to stick to one color or colors that go well together. Every once in awhile throw in a fun one – I have a pot that is a torso in a speedo, haha!”

books and plants

Huge shout out to Garrett for making sure we stay on top of our houseplant game! For more tips and inspiration, or to see the masters at work, follow Garrett and his hilarious Manscaper NY counterparts on Instagram: @ManscapersNY, and/or watch them on Bravo–season two coming soon!

All photos courtesy of Garett Magee


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