Epidermal tissue comprises ~10% of the cells in a leaf, forming the interface between the plant and its environment. As such, extensive evolutionary pressures have produced a wide variety of specialized cell types and patterning mechanisms to control their relative densities and distributions. The maize leaf epidermis is particularly spectacular, with 15 specialized cell types that are patterned at the organismal, organ, sub-organ, tissue and cellular levels. In addition, epidermal phenotypes are known to be both developmentally plastic and environmentally responsive, making large-scale analyses an essential component for understanding how their patterning is controlled. To approach a myriad biological questions about the maize epidermis, we developed a series of methods for high throughput-high resolution photomicroscopy and utilized them to collect image data from >10,000 maize leaves. This presentation will focus on the biology of lateral confinement and neighbor inhibition patterning mechanisms, and on the specific phenomic approaches that enabled their dissection. Despite developmental and environmental complexities, phenomic analysis paired with GWAS and transcriptomic approaches has implicated both known and unknown genes and pathways in the intricate patterning of the maize epidermis. At a broader level, implications of sampling strategy, method selection and experimental design will be discussed in a phenomics context.