Green wall history
The allure of walls filled with plants dates back at least to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, circa 600 BC. Flash forward a couple of millennia to the 1980s, and the modern-day concept re-rooted itself into our culture thanks to French botanist Patrick Blanc. Since then, vertical gardens have grown in popularity and especially blossomed in the last decade.
What is a living wall?
A living wall – or vertical garden, green wall, plant wall, edible wall or ecowall – is a collection of plants hanging vertically on a wall, indoors or outside. They can be as simple as a few plants or ivy vines growing up the side of a building, or as intricate as a tapestry of diverse species creating a piece of living art. They are often grown on panels and watered via drip lines and gravity.
“A living wall is a unique way to add greenery and visual interest to your home,” says Erin Marino of The Sill plant company. “There are so many imaginative ways to create your own living wall that complements your space and your lifestyle.”
What are the benefits of a living wall?
Many people grow living walls for their aesthetic.
“They’re gorgeous,” says Jim Mumford, president and resident horticulturist at Good Earth Plant Company. “It’s flat out like having a painting of plants on your wall and it has three dimensions to it, so it’s got texture, depth and shadows.”
People also grow living walls because having nature around is good for us. Studies have shown that plants make us happier; reduce stress; improve creativity and morale; help us heal faster. Studies have shown some hospital patients use less pain medication and improve more quickly when they can see plants from their bed.
“There are a lot of studies that show that they really do make us happy,” says Mumford. “[Plus] you can do some amazing designs. It’s almost like painting, with a paintbrush of plants.”
Other benefits of living walls include:
- Dampening background noise by up to 15 decibels. “Living walls can actually create a natural sound barrier,” says Mallory Micetich, a home care expert at Angi. “If your home is on a noisy street, or you have noisy neighbours on one side, a vertical garden can significantly reduce the amount of noise you hear inside.”
- Using a minimum of horizontal space to add a multitude of plants.
Improving air quality by adding oxygen, increasing humidity and removing carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
- Privacy when used as a room divider.
- Less energy use from increased insulation.
- Higher property values.
- Learning opportunities for children.
“[Plus] they’re different, unusual and cool,” says Mumford. “They also bring kind of a natural smell, so it doesn’t smell like a cold, dry room.”