Creating Your Own Living Wall

by Rachel Laurendeau on August 2, 2012

Have you ever looked at a house covered in ivy and had green envy? If so, living walls are a new(er) concept in indoor and outdoor gardening that you might be interested in learning about.

Living walls are also called green walls or vertical gardens and were first created by the French botanist and artist Patrick Blanc over 30 years ago. According to the folks at Green Over Grey, living walls “are self sufficient vertical gardens that are attached to the exterior or interior of a building. They differ from green façades (e.g. ivy walls) in that the plants root in a structural support which is fastened to the wall itself. The plants receive water and nutrients from within the vertical support instead of from the ground.”

Many of these specialized systems are hydroponic or soil-free and include their own irrigation system. In some cases, particularly when installing a large vertical garden, you may need to work with a plumber to set up the irrigation system.

In addition to having the plants growing in a structural support, one of the key elements of living walls is that they usually house a variety of plants to provide various textures, colors and sizes, creating an artistic vertical landscape. You can be as creative as you like with this type of garden.

There are huge variations in living wall styles, systems and scale. You can build your own from scratch, build one using a DIY kit or have a custom built system created specifically for your site.

Benefits of Living Walls
Improve air quality – this is particularly of benefit if you are creating an indoor vertical garden. You can also specifically choose plants that help clean indoor air.
Aesthetics – create living works of art with plants. You have more control over the design in this type of planting than in a traditional garden.
Health and wellness – in addition to improving air quality, adding natural elements to our living spaces can have a marked effect on our wellbeing, lower stress and increase productivity.
Improved acoustics – plant leaves attenuate sound and the sheer quantity of leaves in a living wall can vastly improve the acoustics in a room. Additionally, they can form a barrier from external noises such as traffic.
Property value – in the long term, adding a living wall to your home can give you a marketable green feature for the resale of your home.
Energy savings – large scale green walls on the outside walls of your home, particularly on the south or west facing walls, can significantly reduce the solar heat that is absorbed by your home, which directly translates to less energy required for cooling.

If this blog has got you thinking about improving your indoor or outdoor garden, talk to a landscape designer or living wall specialist for more information on green walls and garden design or, talk to a local plumber about installing an irrigation system in your home garden.

Resource: Green Over Grey Living Walls and Design

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