Melissa Daniels, Anthony Caggiano, and Greg Caggiano of PCI with Pete Nelson of Treehouse Masters
Behind the Scenes on Treehouse Masters
PCI reveals what it was like filming and installing a living wall on a treehouse:
How did Treehouse Masters contact you?
- When Treehouse Masters decided that a living wall would be a great addition for the adventure-theme, jungle treehouse located in the Poconos, they researched living wall companies. Upon their findings and our extensive portfolio of living wall projects, they felt our G-O2 system would be the best fit for the treehouse. It also didn't hurt that PCI is located in nearby New York!
Did you know anything about the family you were designing the living wall for, other than the theme? Had you seen beforehand the plans for the treehouse?
- We did not know any details about the family prior to designing the living wall. Yes, we received elevations of the treehouse showing the extent of the façade to be planted. We also had images of the site and surrounding area so that we could better understand the setting and how the theme would relate.
Describe the design intent of the living wall?
- The main purpose of the living wall was to add design, beauty, and uniqueness to the house. Our style and design incorporated an adventure type feel to work great with the theme of the treehouse. We wanted the wall to pop on camera, but also fit the surrounding landscape.
Tell us about the plants chosen for the living wall to create the jungle feel.
- Our living wall designer hand-selected the plant palette to not only be bold with texture, but also still harmonize with its setting. Drawing on inspiration from the surrounding landscape and the adventure/jungle theme, Sabrina sculpted out the shape of a gnarly tree. The trunk/branches are Coral Bells. The "canopy" is Autumn Fern with some Japanese Forest Grass acting as dappled sunlight peeking through. Sabrina incorporated Ivy along the bottom (which will also trail down past the wall, adding to the jungle theme) to represent the undulating landscape, with a horizon line of Spurge to symbolize the creek below. Sabrina felt for TV, having a tree pop out of a living wall on a treehouse would be very exciting.
When you arrived to the project site, did you begin filming right away with Pete? How did you film and install together?
- The producers wanted Pete to be hands-on, so we included him in all aspects of the installation - from hanging the mounting brackets to hanging the actual panels and installing the irrigation. Pete even hung himself from a bracket to prove how strong they were and how much weight they could hold!
Did you know prior to filming what you were going to do?
- We were asked to do our installation like we would normally but try to incorporate Pete into the process.
What was it like installing on the side of a treehouse? Did you face any challenges?
- The access was definitely unique. We used a pump jack which is used by roofers so we basically had a narrow platform that we had to pump up and down on stations with our feet to move up and down on the wall. We also had to bring all the materials across a ravine to get to where the treehouse was situated on the property.
Is tree whisperer, Pete Nelson, as quirky and eccentric in real life as well as on TV? What was it like working with him and the crew of THM?
- Pete was really a pleasure to work with. Not only is he fun, but he also is truly passionate about what he does just like we are, so we felt like kindred spirits right away. He and his crew employ a very high level of craftsmanship.
How will the family interact with the living wall?
- The living wall is located along the side of the treehouse where a rock climbing wall and cocoon-like hammocks are for the kids to play with. The rooms inside will also have views of the living wall foliage peeking up around the windows. The family will be taking care of the green wall using the maintenance guidelines we left with the producers of the show.
Are there any experiences you would like to share that occurred, but didn’t make it to TV?
- Unloading the panels in the rain was quite an experience. The day we arrived we tried to unload but there was a major squall in the area! There was even talk of tornado warnings so we had to postpone the shooting and installation until it was safe.
What did you learn from this project?
- It is a lot of work and very time consuming to create a television show. While the entire episode is only an hour, the treehouse takes 4 weeks to build! There are so many details that go into producing one hour of entertainment. Plant Connection is very grateful for the opportunity to be included on Treehouse Masters, working alongside the very talented Pete Nelson and his entire team. We want to thank all those who made this possible. We hope the family enjoys the living wall and the treehouse for years to come. And, we hope when people watch the show, it inspires them to think outside - and on the wall!