Aly Morford of Newport Beach’s Pure Salt created a tabletop plant installation like no other.

The Finished Centerpiece on an Island
Courtesy of Pure Salt

Pure Salt’s interior design store in Newport Beach is a sight to behold—it’s literally dripping with plants. Co-owned by Aly Morford and Leigh Lincoln, the greenery makes the perfect backdrop for their signature beachy look, which Lincoln recently described to Sunset as “clean, coastal, calm, and simple.” 

To emulate the look, Morford recommends several things. The first is repetition, which can leisurely draw the eye throughout the space. But, she cautions, be careful not to use the same plant over and over. “There is repetition in the store,” says Morford, “but they’re all different kinds of species and sizes of arrangements.”  

Room with Plants

Courtesy of Pure Salt

The second tip is to play with height and scale. “We’re always educating our clients on how much green their spaces can handle—and it’s often more than they think,” Morford says. “Bringing in tall trees can emphasize height in a space rather than crowd it, for example, and staggering arrangements throughout built-ins draws the eye around rather than overwhelming you in one spot.”  

A third tip is to get creative with materials. Morford recommends playing with baskets, unique planters, and recycled vessels for a one-of-a-kind look. “Don’t be afraid to mix woven, metal, and ceramic pots for a variety of textures,” she says. “The key is in sticking with an organic palette. Natural finishes allow you to create a curated and effortless look without cluttering up a space with an excess of materials.” 

Bonus points if you don’t forget the ceiling, which can be a showstopper all on its own. “We used a bunch of different macramé plant holders to create an installation that looks like a wave of plants going from one edge of the ceiling to the other. It makes the space feel healthy and alive.”  

And now for that gorgeous centerpiece. Here’s how to make one of your own. 

The Finished Centerpiece on an Island

Courtesy of Pure Salt

Step 1

Start with a long, rectangular wood planter. (If you want the exact one Morford used, find it here.) Be sure to scale it down for a dining table or a smaller kitchen island.  

Step 2

Line the planter with plastic and add a layer of pebbles so your plants will have drainage. Then add a light layer of soil.  

Step 3

“From there, I pulled five different species of plants that are all in the same color palette but had different textures,” Morford says. “They feel like they could live together.” 

The look she was going for was lush and “drapey,” so she used things like ferns and prayer plants.   

“I started in one corner and went plant by plant,” Morford says. “I’d get a draping one that would fall over the left-hand side, then I’d do one that grows upward, and then I’d do another drapey plant. This way, the centerpiece has a high/low balance to it.”  

Step 4

Fill the edges in with Spanish moss. “I water the plants once a week and I trim things back that have died down,” says Morford. “It’s my favorite thing I’ve ever made.”