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Three Types Of Living Walls

vertical gardens

There are three types of living walls, and they have distinctive qualities, so it pays to do your research before choosing which type is right for your property.

So what are living walls, and why are they popular?

Wall gardens, aka living walls, bring nature to dwellings without gardens.

Small townhouses, apartments or condos and micro-flats particularly innercity can have their own green space albeit vertically with plants and grasses.

Living Wall Explained

A living wall aka Green Wall is as just that – a vertical wall that is essentially adorned with live vegetation that grows on a vertical surface.

The vertical garden wall could be wholly or partially covered with different varieties of plants, herbs, and edible greens.

There’s a lot to love about vertical gardens as no two walls need to be the same. Custom designing the space with the owner’s needs satisfied is the goal.

Living walls versus facades

People often confuse living walls and facades. While there are similarities, i.e. both are exterior vertical surfaces, they vary insofar as living walls use the surface or structure of the wall as the growth medium. In contrast, facades, if used at all, are usually decorated with art.

Uses of living walls

Living walls offer a lot more than facades. They are used for the absorption of sound and for cleaning up pollutants. So just like all green spaces, they also offer a thermal barrier, and as mentioned earlier, they’re great for the senses; visually attractive, smell good and can offer additions to the meal with herbs and salads.

Installing a living wall doesn’t come cheap, and depending on where it’s installed, e.g. in some regions of America, it can cost between $900 to $1500, and of course, it will require ongoing maintenance, which also comes at a cost.

Types of Living Walls

Below are the three types of walls you can choose from.

1) Panel/ Modular System

Panel systems are versatile. They can fit indoors or outdoors, regardless of the climate. It’s your prerequisite to choose the direction in which you want the plants to grow. So, you have the choice to either make them sprout going upwards or sideways.


This kind of system doesn’t t require so much maintenance because it uses drip irrigation. With drip irrigation, you’ll not need a little care for green walls because it reuses up to 85% water. So, you won’t need to water your plants every time.

Additionally, this system doesn’t require soil to grow because the plants are grown in modular tiles. This medium has the necessary nutrients for the plants to grow. It provides oxygen and water to the plants, preventing their decay over a specific time due to their antimicrobial factors.

With this kind of system, plants are grown six to eight weeks before taking them to the modular tiles. From there, they sprout in any direction you want them to.

The best of all is that this system can be used in buildings with strict health codes like restaurants and hospitals. In addition to that, the system can be a perfect match for odd walls that will produce your ideal design.

2) Tray System

Unlike panel systems, tray systems use soil. Plants are grown elsewhere before they are transferred to the trays. The trays need to hold a specific amount of water for the plants to sprout as you desire.

Tray system is a little bit complicated because it needs more maintenance compared to the panel system
It has a tank that you need to refill for the plants to get adequate water.

Unlike in a panel system where water is reused, water that seeps through the tray system isn’t reused. Additionally, soil used in the tray system needs to be replaced at least once a month since they are vulnerable to pests.

Unlike a versatile panel system, a tray system is suitable for indoor environments like offices. You also have the alternative to remove or replace the trays if you wish.

3) Freestanding Walls

A freestanding wall is a portable living wall that is small and compact and uses soil free from rockwool. That means you’ll not need to replace the soil occasionally.

Freestanding walls use water tanks just like tray systems. Therefore, routine maintenance is necessary by filling up the tank by hand as needed.

You can either place a one-sided fixture against your wall or place a two-sided fixture in the middle of your room.


Living walls are less likely to be a fad as they offer so much, and as the population grows, our living spaces shrink, and we become more eco-friendly solutions like the living walls will become the norm.

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