As cities continue to grow, both in human population and with bricks and mortar, more and more ingenuity is needed to retain at least some natural influence over the urban environment. With roof gardens already a well established trend among city slickers, another approach is also beginning to grow in popularity: growing vertically on walls and specialist structures.
Stark concrete walls give way to beautiful, pollution gobbling plants.
Vertical gardening isn’t a new idea, but it’s more important than ever. The more greenery present in a large city the better it is for everyone. Within cities green walls can do everything from improving our morale and reducing stress to improving our respiratory health.
Both commercially and at a domestic level, green walls also come with many great financial benefits. Acting as a natural insulator, foliage helps a building retain heat in winter, and keeps it cool during summer. As you can imagine, this is a great way to save money on heating and energy bills.
How is it done?
There are three widely accepted methods to constructing a green wall. The first is to simply install what is effectively a giant trellis on the wall with a network of plants grown on it. The second and third involve installing a specialist standalone structure that sits proud of the wall so that there is an air gap between the wall and frame. Within the frame there is the option to either install rows and rows of individual flowerpots, effectively like a large shelf, or perhaps more in keeping with what you might expect a green wall to be, a medium of crushed bricks impregnated with seed plugs. The latter gives a more natural, less regimental looking result.
As with everything, there are always going to be those who aren’t convinced by the idea of growing a garden vertically. With the average cost of a professionally installed green wall being upwards of £400 a square metre, some may question the sustainability of such a project. Add to this the fact that ongoing specialist maintenance must be carried out, and it’s understandable that some people might be put off.
So whilst the cost of the investment it shouldn’t be underestimated from the get go, ultimately the pros do outweigh the cons. A good overlooked example is the benefit the installation of a green wall can have on the wall behind it, actually protecting it from the destructive effects of UV, frost, and rain, which all have a lot more of an effect than most people appreciate.