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An Eclectic + Colourful Indoor Plant Haven On Victoria’s Coast

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Libby McLean wants her eclectic plant nursery to be her customer’s ‘happy place’. She fell in love with the simple joy of gardening after working on the desert-style garden of her first home, and launched Arizona Living in 2015 to help others with the same passion!

The business has been a staple on Victoria’s surf coast since, and now operates out of a recently renovated Torquay warehouse turned colourful store and HQ – filled with locally grown cacti, succulents and indoor plants, alongside vibrant homewares sourced close to home and overseas.

15th December, 2022

Arizona Living has a greenhouse above with princes stairs to access both it and the mezzanine to the left. Photo – Nikole Ramsey

Founder Libby McLean with store manager and plant buyer Ally Sholtes! Photo – Nikole Ramsey

Photo – Nikole Ramsey

The incredible indoor greenhouse. The floors in here thoughtfully engineered and constructed by Chalmers Construction and allow the Arizona Living team to water freely upstairs! Photo – Nikole Ramsey

Libby sourced the vintage rug on her recent European travels. Custom Wave Wall Hook behind counter is by Sitting Pretty Design. Pots and planters by Lightly Design, Angus + Celeste and various wholesalers. Seed range from Settler Hives. Photo – Nikole Ramsey

All cactus, plants, planters and baskets in the store rotate constantly. Photo – Nikole Ramsey

Vintage Woollen Floor Runner sourced by Libby on a recent trip to Turkey. Fans and Hats from Afro Pacific. Photo – Nikole Ramsey

Mana Baskets from Kenya. Planters by Lightly Design. Pot baskets and silicone or timber planters from Afro Pacific. Photo – Nikole Ramsey

Wave Wall Hooks by Sitting Pretty Design. They were custom designed to match the Arizona Living space and available to purchase! Photo – Nikole Ramsey

Arizona Living shop space entry. Delightful products from Gentle Habits, Mana Baskets, On The Side, Haws, Lightly Design, Yogi Peace Club, Cecelia East West and Knots by Anita offer an explosion of colour when you enter the shop! Photo – Nikole Ramsey

Christina Karras
Thursday 15th December 2022

Arizona Living is the ultimate indoor plant haven. The Torquay store is a unique plant nursery featuring a sea of locally grown cacti, succulents, and gardening tools, with the addition of woven baskets from Africa or ceramics from local creatives – and everything in between!

It’s no surprise that all the employees are keen gardeners and avid plant lovers, too, including founder and owner Libby McLean. The surf coast local grew up in a ‘mad gardening family’ but didn’t find her passion for landscaping until she started working on the desert-inspired, Palm Springs garden of her first home, a mid-century abode in Geelong.

‘I began work on creating a garden with low water needs using a blend of cacti, succulents and natives,’ Libby says.

‘I found myself propagating my special things regularly for friends to use as gifts. I did a couple of little local markets with planted out handmade concrete painted planters and the seed of a dream to escape my corporate fashion job began.’

Nearly eight years on, her side hustle has grown into a flourishing business with a new look HQ designed by Emma Mitchell Architects! When they first moved in 2020, it was a newly built, blank canvas with concrete walls before the renovation turned it into their ultimate office and retail space.

‘Emma Mitchell and our builder Norm Chalmers were awesome to work with because when I asked for an upstairs greenhouse where I could water with a hose indoors, they said “easy!”’ Libby adds.

‘We now have a large mezzanine wrapping around a big central void in the retail end of the building and a large, divided staircase that encourages you to head in different directions as you move upstairs.  We often re-arrange how the fixtures of the store are laid out to best display the evolving seasonal green life we get in.’

Libby’s recent travels to Europe inspired Arizona Living’s bold red wall, in addition to finding a range of new, ‘random things’ for the store, including vintage rugs from Persia, Afghanistan, and Turkey!

‘The beauty of running a business in Torquay is the incredible locals, creatives, brands and artists we get to source products from,’ Libby notes.

‘My major goal when I am doing any design of our space is always customer happiness. I want Arizona Living to be that safe place people feel welcome, comfortable, relaxed and inspired, somewhere they can pop in, to wander through and walk out feeling better than when they arrived.’

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net