There are three types of living walls and they have quite distinctive qualities so it pays to do your research before making your selection.
Many of you may be wondering what a living wall is and what all the fuss is about. Well, it could be a trend or fad or it could be the new way forward to bringing green space to intensified living areas like inner city living where space is at a premium and small town houses, apartments or condos and micro-flats are the only option.
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 partially or completely covered with different varieties of plants, herbs and also edible greens. They’re interesting and versatile and no two walls need 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, whereas 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 interesting, 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 to 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 maintenance for green wall because it reuses up to 85 percent of water. So, you won’t need to water your plants each and 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 it’s decay over a certain time due the antimicrobial factors they possess.
With this kind of system, plants are grown six to eight weeks before they are taken to the modular tiles. From there, they sprout to 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 perfect design.
2) Tray System
Unlike in panel system, 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 panel system
It has a tank that you need to refill for the plants to get adequate water.
Unlike in panel system where water is reused, water that seeps through the tray system isn’t reused. Additionally, soil used in tray system needs to be replaced at least once in a month since they are vulnerable to pests.
Unlike in panel system that is versatile, 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 uses water tanks just like tray systems. Therefore, routine maintenance is necessary by filling up the tank by hand as needed.
You can either place one sided fixture against your wall or place 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 population grows, our living spaces shrink and we become more eco-friendly solutions like the living walls will become the norm.