The History of Living Walls (aka Green Walls)
Let’s start by explaining what is a living wall and how this unique feature brings so much more than eye candy to your small space landscaping.
So is it art or is it a garden?
Living walls are everything that symbolizes a movement towards beautiful functionality, the best thing since moss graffiti (yes, it’s a real thing). They are a modern way to add sustainable luxury to your next home remodeling project.
While the practice likely began within the Hanging Garden of Babylon, this art form has been developed into the small space gardening techniques that will be illustrated on this post about modern living walls.
In 1938, Stanley Hart White, an American landscape architect, patented the idea for a “Vegetation-Bearing Architectonic Structure and System.” He created what he called “botanical bricks” that were mini houses for plants that could be stuck together to form living brick walls.
Later, Patrick Blanc, a French Botanist, is given credit for being the modern innovator of green walls, when he first erected the vertical garden at the Museum of Science and Industry in Paris, where it still lives today.
Now, these futuristic fixtures have been featured in public spaces in several countries, and are just recently becoming more popular in the domestic setting.
How Are Living Walls Created?
This art form begins just like any other – with a canvas.
Pick any wall, inside or outside.
The medium will vary, but the base is similar to a picture frame, filled with natural material that can stabilize the roots of whatever plants you choose. This is nothing like vines, which grow on a wall out of the ground. This garden is floating and flourishing – straight out of the face of the wall.
They are literally good for you, and good for the environment, too!
Next, the art begins. Each plant mosaic is realized by an experienced designer, almost like a color-by-number. You own the customizable vision, which allows you to freely incorporate your favorite plants, colors, and patterns.
While low-bearing plants are recommended, you can literally pick any plant that you want to bring your vision to life. Review our planting guide for landscaping in San Diego, so you can pick your favorite native color palettes.
For the green wall, we recommend “lower plants” that allow the visual combination of greens, purples, and blues to be seen equally.
This hybrid facelift not only transforms inert walls into a living micro-organism, but this style is also the future of outdoor furniture and accents for your home.
Benefits of Living Walls
Let’s start with the obvious. Living walls are eco-friendly and low maintenance, but they also provide benefits of happiness, water conservation, and a “Wow Factor” not normally achieved in a small backyard garden.
Green Walls Promote Health & Happiness
Ever wonder why you feel so rejuvenated when you go explore in nature? This phenomena is called Biophilia. Being in close proximity to living plants is actually proven to make people happier.
Not only does your living wall look stunning, it’s purifying the air for you, inside or outside. Typically, it takes a lot of space on the ground to have enough plants that will absorb a noticeable amount of pollutants. In this case, you can achieve the same effects of a large garden, just without taking up all the spaces, to naturally freshen the air and bring some more “zen” into the confines of predominantly man-made spaces.
Especially within office buildings, studies prove that plants in habitable areas put workers in a good mood, and make them more productive. It’s not a well known fact that a garden can also reduce the temperature of stuffy indoor or outdoor spaces. This is one of the primary reasons that green living walls were introduced into urban spaces.
Conserve Time, Water, Money
One of the greatest benefits of having a living wall in San Diego is the self-sufficiency of the installation. Combining a living green wall concept with an integrated smart landscape watering system and you have an automated, water-conserving garden. Now, that’s futuristic!
Xeriscape landscaping techniques can be applied to further conserve the use of water. This is most effective by selecting native desert plantings, such as succulents, which are perfect for that mosaic effect as pictured in this article. Additionally, the medium is more effective in this position, maintaining moisture longer than if the plants were simply in the ground.
If this feature becomes one of the main talking points of your home, it’s very likely to become a selling point for a future homeowner as well.
Further consider the real investment that this feature will bring to the value of your home. If you are looking to increase your luxury home’s ROI (Return on Investment), there are several programs that give sustainability points to homeowners that utilize green accents, such as this vertical garden.
Utilizes Any Space, Highly Customizable
The great thing about planting a living wall is that all you need a wall! There are plenty of walls just sitting in your home waiting to be utilized! Especially for smaller homes, this is the perfect solution for garden-lovers everywhere.
Take a small space and get that garden effect that you’ve always wanted – you can even grow vegetables if you want! Use a large, unused space and transition it from a wallflower to the star of your home-show. Notice how simple accents, such as the living wall on this backyard door, adds texture and dimension to a simple layout.
Whether it’s indoor, outdoor, on a wall, or on a door, living walls design is only limited by your imagination.
You don’t have to limit yourself to any restrictions when considering the implementation of a living walls (green wall) into your living spaces. An Indoor succulent terrarium wall would be a great talking piece over dinner.
Unique Beauty, Wow Factor, Innovative and Unusual
Maybe you have everything to make your home comfortable and functional, but you are lacking that “wow” factor that exemplifies your personal style. This green wall will undoubtedly become the centerpiece for your home’s decor. Whether you plan to erect it inside or outside, it’s uncommon to come across such an unusual accent.
This new trend of living walls in San Diego and across the country has set off a whole new concept of small space gardening. The low water use of these gardens and the space saving layout makes it an easy way to upgrade your home during a whole home remodel or a landscape design in San Diego.
Ready to design your very own living wall?
Eco Minded Solutions has recently won Best Contractors in San Diego by the Union Tribune and two Landscape Beautification Awards from the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) San Diego Chapter.
We produce the eco-friendliest designs for the most talked about pieces of our clients’ homes. View the CLCA award winning design that incorporated a centerpiece living green wall. There is no better contractor and no better time than now to improve up.
Award Winning Vertical Succulent Garden
This Coronado courtyard received a face-lift, transforming an underutilized space into a thriving outdoor living room. A large vertical garden provides a softness to this space, along with providing a sense of privacy.