Essentially they are walls covered in plants. They are a relatively modern concept and can be either free-standing or part of a building and can be internal or external. Patrick Blanc, a French Botanist designed the concept of large vertical gardens and has designed and installed them in large cities such as Paris and NewYork. As well as being aesthetically pleasing there are other benefits to living walls.
They can conserve energy by lowering the temperature of a building, provide insulation and can also absorb and filter polluted water.
They are also known to filter air to make it cleaner as well as help with noise reduction.
They are seen as ‘green’, ‘sustainable’ and ‘environmentally friendly’ and as such are gaining popularity with businesses keen to display their company values in these areas.
Living Walls – Green Wall – Vegetated Wall – Vertical Garden – Green Facade – Biowall
A green façade is slightly different in that the plants grow from the ground (which can be situated at either the top or bottom of the wall) and cover the wall (like a wall covered in ivy or another climbing plant).
A green wall is self-sufficient and the plants grow from a structure attached to the wall.
The plants get their food and water from the structure (either planted soil pockets or trickle feed irrigation techniques) and not the ground soil.
There are several different types of structures available. They are:
Loose based systems – where the soil is packed into sections of the wall (sometimes in bags, sometimes on shelves) and then the plants are added. The soil can be messy and would need to be replaced or topped up. It can be a cheaper option and therefore more popular with people wishing to try one at home.
Mat-based systems – where plants are grown from a mat. This is a less messy option compared to soil but the mats would need to be replaced once the roots of the plants get too large. It can also be difficult to maintain moisture levels.
Structural based systems – where blocks of different shapes and sizes are used for the plants. The different sized blocks can hold different amounts of water so can be chosen depending on the needs of the plants.
Each system needs to have a way of providing water and food to the plants as well as an irrigation system to ensure they thrive and grow. The main issue with this type of garden is that gaps can appear as plants have a tendency to grow upwards towards sunlight. This can be overcome by using plants that flourish in a vertical natural environment (such as those that grow on cliff faces).
There are some plants that are better suited to vertical planting. Plants are often chosen if they are known to be particularly good at reducing air pollution.
This type of wall can also be known as a bio wall or vertical garden.