Living green walls are trendy because they not only look beautiful but also transform indoor and outdoor spaces by introducing a refreshing green element. Many homeowners hesitate to install a green wall system as they think it is difficult to maintain and expensive to install. The fact is that a professionally installed green wall is practically maintenance-free. While it costs more than buying regular potted plants, the ease-of-maintenance, as well as the unparalleled beauty it adds to the walls of the house, makes it worth investing in a vertical green wall system.
If you are wondering what living green walls are, this type of wall is known by several names, including living walls, vertical gardens and eco walls. They refer to a vertical structure, either freestanding or wall mounted, comprising panels of plants. Usually, hydroponics is used to provide food and water to the plants, making them practically maintenance-free. While DIY options are much cheaper, the cost of a professionally installed self-watering green wall in India can range from INR 700 per square feet to INR 3000 per square feet.
In this ideabook, we aim to dispel all doubts and myths about living green walls, focusing on indoor garden ideas, including their mechanism, the ideal types of plants and their maintenance. In part 2, we will cover outdoor living walls.
Green walls have a grid-like structure that provides support for the plants or flowers to be inserted in it. The type of system inside the structure varies depending on the requirements of the homeowner and techniques used by the professional installing it. Many outdoor and indoor green walls have pipes hidden within the structure to provide a self-watering feature that eliminates the need for manual watering.
A living wall has a support structure as its foundation. The structure is fixed on the walls of the house at the desired location and filled with growing medium into which the plants are inserted. In many cases, living green walls have self-watering systems installed so that the plants don’t need to be watered daily.
Besides making the house look beautiful, green walls have several benefits:
Vertical gardens can be used as a decorative feature for indoor areas. They are an excellent alternative to floor-standing pots and planters as they save space. By choosing suitable plants that have small roots and the ability to thrive in low light conditions, living walls can work well indoors. While one can purchase DIY indoor living wall kits, it’s advisable to consult a professional landscape designer to ensure that the right plants are chosen for the vertical garden.
Most people underestimate the number of toxins and pollutants that are present inside the home. The use of cleaning agents with harsh chemicals, building materials with VOCs and the presence of several other toxic chemicals such as carbon monoxide, trichloroethylene and benzene results in the indoor air being polluted. Continued exposure to this environment can affect the health of the family.
While it’s well known that plants process carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen, the larger number of plants used in the indoor living wall systems helps to magnify the effect and improve the air quality inside the house.
With the trend towards sustainability, more and more interior designers are installing green wall systems inside homes not only to introduce the beauty of nature but also as a subtle way to add texture and colour to the interiors. The choice of a variety of plants with different colours and textures in their foliage or blooms adds a stylish feature to any room. Vertical gardens are often considered living art and can be used in place of a painting or an artwork on the wall.
The installation of a green wall indoors can help to lower the temperature. The watering system within the structure makes the area cooler. The structure can also be used to provide shade by installing it at a spot where it blocks the sunlight. As a result, the air conditioning works more efficiently and reduces energy costs.
As we mentioned earlier, most indoor living wall systems use hydroponics. Drip irrigation is employed within the structure so that the plants get the required amount of water. The system is designed so that the water drips from the planters into a collection unit at the bottom, which is then recycled to irrigate the plants.
There are no strict rules about the plants that are most suitable for indoor green walls. Among the factors to consider are the location of the wall, the climate of the area, the amount of wind and sunlight exposure, the preference of the homeowner as well as the ease of maintenance. By and large, indoor plants with a small root system are the best options for vertical gardens inside the house.
The plants that are suitable for indoor living walls include pothos, devil’s ivy, ferns, bromeliads, ferns, and succulents. It’s best to choose a variety of foliage to add an interesting texture to the wall.
Whether it’s for a kitchen wall or any other area, a living herb wall is an innovative and practical idea as most herbs grow in low light conditions and present the benefit of providing ingredients for the kitchen. Like with other plants, if the herbs don’t require a lot of space for their roots to spread, they can be incorporated into vertical living green walls. Basil, thyme, rosemary, celery, coriander and lavender are among the plants that can be used. Strawberry plants can also be grown in indoor vertical gardens with partial shade.
One of the main factors that deter homeowners from installing green walls is that they feel they need a green thumb to maintain it. However, a lush green wall is much easier to care for than one would imagine, especially when it comes equipped with a drip irrigation system that doesn’t require the plants to be watered by hand. Once the structure is installed and fitted to a water connection, the drip irrigation does all the work to keep the plants healthy. Some living green walls come with automatic timers, allowing the homeowner to set the daily hours when the plants should be watered. Advanced digital versions even allow remote control of the timer by using a mobile phone.
Before installing living green walls, we recommend contacting a professional company or a landscape architect. Besides ensuring that the system is installed correctly with the right type of plants for the indoor conditions and a self-watering mechanism that keeps the medium moist for the plants to grow, the professional can also offer periodic maintenance services to ensure that the green wall keeps looking beautiful always.
Stay tuned for part 2 of this ideabook in which we will cover everything you need to know about outdoor living green walls.