Living walls have become increasingly popular in buildings in cities and urban areas. Also called vertical gardens or green walls, these installations can provide several benefits to the area besides just aesthetic appeal. While you’ll most often encounter living walls outdoors, they’re also common inside commercial spaces and homes. Here we’ll go over what exactly goes in to a living wall and the many benefits of having one in your own home.
How Do Living Walls Work?
Living walls are made with a frame up against an existing wall. The frames are usually metal or plastic and have a layer of “growth medium” for the plants to grow in. For some living wall designs growth medium can simply mean soil. For others, they use a compact growth medium in block or mat form. The plants can attached directly to the medium to get nutrients through their roots and remain supported by the structure of the wall.
Most living walls have a built-in irrigation system on the back which allows the plants access to water without waste or risk of moisture damage. Depending on the complexity of the wall and the plants included there may even be automatic misting functions to keep the leaves of moisture-loving plants healthy.
For plant choice, indoor living walls offer a lot of options because of the likelihood of a temperature controlled environment. Evergreens are usually the best choice regardless of your living wall’s location because they will not leave “dead” spots on the wall when dormant. Other popular plant choices include philodendrons, ferns and even succulents.
Can You Make Your Own?
There are many companies that provide living wall supply and installation both for the home and larger outdoor spaces. However, living walls are possible to DIY as long as you use the right tools. The simplest way to build your own living wall is to attach planters to a frame or directly into the wall. You can repurpose an unused book shelf or even use a wooden palette as the primary structure.
Building a living wall in this style will not achieve the same look as the ones with plants attached horizontally. However, you can still cover the entire wall with greenery as long as you choose the right plants. This also helps you avoid the need for an attached irrigation system since you can water the plants normally. That said, be mindful of logistics and maintenance: don’t forget you need to reach them in order to care for them.
What Are the Benefits?
There are plenty of benefits to living walls no matter the location. Some key advantages include:
Breathe Easy - Adding a dense collection of plantlife will help purify your air and provide extra oxygen.
Insulation - Living walls can be excellent sound dampeners and help control the temperature in your living space.
Save Energy - Because of their insulating effects, living walls can make your home more energy efficient by helping regulate and maintain ideal temperatures.
Lift Your Mood - Having a living wall can make you feel more energized and productive and can also promote a sense of calm.
Increase Property Value - Any energy efficient or sustainable feature is attractive to homebuyers. A living wall can boost the resale value of your home.
Visual Appeal - Living walls are eye-catching and beautiful additions to any space and have the benefits of a garden and a piece of art all at once.
No matter if you hire a professional or DIY, adding a living wall is an excellent way to improve your quality of life, help the environment and boost your home value at the same time.