Friday, May 26, 2023

Florida Style & Design: Small Miracles

When it comes to creating sacred small-space gardens, biophilic designer Jeffrey Allis of TruVine Design is your “spiritual” guide.

“‘Here lies a nature’s man who was full of faith.’ Put that on my gravestone.”

Such is the wish of Jeffrey Allis, biophilic designer, horticultural consultant, and owner of TruVine Design based in Boynton Beach.

And if there’s one thing he has faith in, it’s that nature is a gateway to happiness, a sentiment shared by countless devout clients whose rooftops, exterior walls, atriums and other small and specialized spaces have experienced Allis’ divine touch. “Plants are simply positive energy, and if you want to be joyful, go to a garden,” he says.

Aside from viewing TruVine Design’s prolific body of work, to fully grasp Allis’ skill and artistry one must first understand the definition of “biophilic design,” which is best described by the designer himself: “‘Bio’ is ‘life,’ ‘philic’ is ‘love,’ so ‘biophilia’ means ‘the love of life,’” he explains. “It’s an intuitive love of nature that is felt universally by humankind.”

While the love of nature fuels Allis’ passion, empirical evidence verifies its positive impact on one’s wellness and overall well-being. And even if it were not scientifically proven, who would argue that our environment directly impacts our emotions and physical health?

A Chicago native, Allis’ love of plants and gardens stemmed from “parental guidance;” his family owned one of the premier tropical greenhouses in the region. “My dad was a pioneer of interior landscaping, and as a child, I designed greenhouses and atriums with him,” Allis says. “I’ve been in the industry for 50 years because of him.”

Above: TruVine’s freestanding, chevron-patterned living focal wall creates visual impact at the edge of a swimming pool.
Above: Allis gives this pathway new life, flanked by lush potted plants on one side, and a verdant vertical garden on the other.
Above: A living, breathing backdrop popped with vibrant colors sets the scene for dramatic al fresco dining.

Those decades included Allis obtaining a degree in horticulture, years of hands-on growing and buying experience, the exploration of hundreds of nurseries and botanical gardens across continents, and an astonishing portfolio of vibrant and lush vertical green and living walls, rooftops, atriums and other intimate small-space gardens throughout the residential, commercial and hospitality realms. Delray Beach’s Lionfish restaurant, Miami’s Chrome Hearts jewelry boutique, and a bounty of private homes and condominiums showcase TruVine’s horticultural designs … and that’s just here in South Florida.

His spiritual connection with nature is what led Allis on a journey of transformation intended to make the “concrete jungle” less, well … concrete. “In a world of asphalt and glass, we are alienated from nature, so I bring it back in,” he states. Recognizing a need for more creative outdoor living in South Florida’s more urban areas, Allis left the Midwest to carry on a mission that began long before—and is infinitely bigger than—any of us. “God is the Master Gardener,” the biophilic designer proclaims. “He made light, and then He made plants.”

It’s no surprise that Allis hides a bible within every project he completes.

Related Articles

Latest Articles