Build a Green Living Wall: Off-grid Living Smartly

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Living walls. Green walls. Vertical gardens. They are a great way to introduce greenery into your home and refresh a space, and you will learn to create a modern and sophisticated look that will add interest, color and oxygen.

They have become increasingly popular in the last eight years in the U.S. and are becoming more common in residential homes and apartment buildings, especially in cities where space is limited.

You’ve seen them in the lobbies of hotels or corporate offices and possibly even the atrium of airports and shopping centers.

Usually mounted on the interior or exterior walls of buildings, these vertical installations can vary in size and shape and offer a refreshingly green space experience that functions as living wall art while providing all the benefits of nature.

Advantages of Living Walls

Besides the appealing visual aesthetics of a living wall, there are a lot of advantages for introducing them into your homes.

  • The Living Wall Planters can be easily fitted onto any solid area. The walls can be built indoors or out, can be as large or small as you like, meaning it can be tailored to suit the size of your space.

  • They don’t take up a lot of space. It’s a great way to get a lot of square footage of plants within a small space.

  • Think about the fact that the surface area of fifty square feet of a vertical garden is equivalent to the surface area of a fourteen-foot tall tree. It’s producing the same amount of oxygen that a tree would.

  • They alter the acoustics of a room. If you have an area that has an echo to it or feels very hollow, as soon, as you put plants in it, it just absorbs sound.

  • They bring nature into your home or office. There is a positive feel-good connection between plants and people that offers green space alternatives to urban areas or man-made environments.

Supplies List To Build Your Living Wall

Post-Supplies

  • 2 in x 1in. Treated Battens (amount depends on rows amount)

  • Screws for walls (amount depends on where is the structural wall of fence mount)

  • Plastic Planters 10 in. (amount depends on rows amount)

  • Pots 12-13 cm. (amount depends on plastic planters amount)

Tools To Build Your Living Wall

Electric Screwdriver, Measuring Tape, Spirit Level, Hose or a Watering Can

The Off-Grid Living Wall Building Steps

  • Choose Your Space. You can build a living plant wall on any solid wall or fence – build straight on to the side of your house, a garden fence or even a sturdy shed. For indoors a custom-made wooden wall allows you the freedom to move it from room to room.

    Firstly, natural light is the best option, whether it is coming from a skylight or a nearby window. If you don’t have natural daylight, then you’re going to want to consider some supplemental light fixtures.

  • The more light you have available increases the plant palette of species you can pick from.

    Secondly, if you are going to add a vertical garden to an outdoor space, you need to determine the right plants for your climate zone and whether they are best suited for a sunny or shady location.

    Subsequently, once you’ve chosen a structurally sound wall or fence, simply screw in rows of 2in x 1in treated battens 38 cm apart to fill the space, checking with a spirit level as you go to make sure they’re straight.

  • Screw in the Planters. When it comes to mounting or hanging a vertical garden in your home, the options are endless. You can build your own frame to suit the space or buy a pre-made frame made out of wood, recycled synthetic material (water bottles), steel with felt pockets or some other reliable support.

    Some people may utilize angled plant trays which hang like shelving and hold individual plants which can slid in and out easily for manual maintenance.

    However, for this article we are informing on how to build using wooden rows only. Now, using an electric screwdriver and working from the bottom up, attach the plastic planters to the battens. You can then click and lock the planters into each other and build up your wall in staggered rows.

  • Get Watering. Starting at the top, water your wall with a hose or watering can. The reservoir system is designed to keep plants watered for up to two weeks.

  • Green Up Your Wall. Fill the planters with your chosen plants using 12-13 cm pots. Either remove the plants from their pots and plant them straight into the planters, or to make changing the scheme really easy, place the pot directly into each planter, making sure the pot touches the reservoir base.

    For plants selection a range of herbaceous perennials, grasses, small shrubs, herbs and even fruit and vegetables can be used. Try including scented plants, seasonal flowers and bulbs, but talk to your local garden nursery about plants that will suit the aspect and microclimate of the wall on which they will be grown.

    For interior living walls that have access to natural and artificial light, there are numerous possibilities for your vertical garden which could be designed in terms of a color palette or as a single species showcase.

    Plants to Try:
    • Adiantum (maidenhair fern)
    • Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ (sedge)
    • Fragaria ‘Mara des Bois’ (strawberry)
    • Galanthus (snowdrop)
    • Heuchera ‘Purple Petticoats’
    • Liriope muscari (lilyturf)
    • Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese spurge)
    • Pelargonium peltatum (ivy-leaved geranium)
    • Saxifraga x urbium (London pride)
    • Tiarella cordifolia (foam flower)
    • Vinca minor (lesser periwinkle)

  • Follow a Basic Maintenance. If you have a self-watering system, then your living wall is not going to take much maintenance. And if you have a tray system where the plants remain in their nursery pots, you can occasionally take the plants out and clean your wall. Plants get bugs so you need to make sure they stay clean. Wiping the plants with just regular soap and water on the leaves will help prevent any issues. You might also need to periodically trim or prune any unmanageable foliage.

    Those who plan to manually water and maintain their vertical gardens need to make sure they don’t overwater and to stick to plants that require the same amount of light and micro-climate conditions to thrive and grow.

Recommendations

Remember that you are not limited to only using ornamental plants for your green wall. You could just as easily have a vertical herb garden or vegetable garden with tomatoes, peppers and other edible plants.

There’s no saying you have to fill an entire wall, you could just create a plant oasis at eye level along a fence or if indoors you could create a small-scale herb garden for your wall.

If you’re attaching your green wall to the side of a house, we recommend attaching a waterproof membrane to the wall before you begin, to prevent damp issues.

As for as plant care, if you’ve chosen flowering plants, as always, you’ll need to deadhead flowers to encourage new blooms later in the season. Foliage plants such as heucheras and ferns should be tidied up by snipping off tatty leaves, as needed.

Annuals, in particular, benefit from a liquid feed every couple of weeks in summer, although any display that’s in place for any length of time will need feeding to keep it looking its best.