Many people ask what are living walls?
Also known as ‘green walls’, ‘eco walls’ or ‘vertical gardens’, they are different to ‘green facades’, whereby the greenlife is trained to cover a wall for aesthetic purposes.
Green facades are primarily achieved either indirectly, by planting groundcovers in planter boxes and letting them trail down a wall, or directly, by affixing a structure such as a trellis to the wall and training plants to grow up it. Green facades can also be created by greenlife attaching itself to the wall (as in the case of a vine).
Instead, living walls see the greenlife planted directly into a structure that has been built either into or onto the wall, where they will receive their required nutrients from the soil and water that fills it. Learn more about green walls with Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd.
No longer just of interest to architectural companies in the race for the latest design awards, living walls are also gaining considerable attention from other businesses seeking to improve their ecological credentials, building aesthetics or employee benefits. This last is in reference to biophilic design, the concept that employees are more productive and happier when they have access to nature.
Both living walls and green facades are considered components of overall green infrastructure and important in reducing our carbon footprint. They are credited with providing benefits to urban environments, including attracting wildlife, improving air quality and establishing a microclimate, reducing energy costs (by reflecting solar heat in summer and providing insulation in winter), and helping to dampen noise. Either living walls or green facades in urban environments can also help to reduce the city’s heat island effect.
Living walls have both indoor and outdoor applications, and with the right plants can be created in a wide variety of conditions, from full to part sun or shade.
Living walls are also scalable, from forming the central focus in a grand landscape design as living art to being relatively easy to establish in a small courtyard or alfresco space; with many retailers now selling affordable, modular kits which homeowners can easily assemble themselves.
Before embarking on the creation of a stunning living wall, it is important to consider more than just the site’s volume of sunlight and orientation. The existing wall or supports and their load capacity will determine the size of your living wall, as well as the options for irrigation and drainage.
Consider the level of maintenance required for your living wall, and how much upkeep the plants will need. Your plants will likely have dormant periods. It is also vital to waterproof the space for longevity of the project.
Living walls are typically only visual additions, however there is a rise in people taking advantage of living walls offering a larger number of plants in a smaller space by establishing them using edible vegetation. Thus, creating a dual purpose and expanding the biodiversity in the space.
Explore our online plant library to select the right plants for your living wall project. You are limited only by your imagination and a plant’s growing conditions!