Vertical Garden / Living Wall Overview
Increasingly popular over the last decade, vertical gardens offer creative opportunities for designers, and environmental benefits for the people that live and work around them.
Vertical Gardens are also referred to as living walls and green walls. They consist of modular panels that can be attached to the exterior of a building, interior walls, space dividers, fences, or virtually any vertical structure.
Benefits of Vertical Gardens
Vertical Gardens offer economic, environmental and physiological benefits:
- Building Profile & Beautification
- Air Quality
- Biodiversity & Habitat
- Acoustic Buffering
- Biophilic Design and Our Health
Research shows that the health and well being of patients or students in institution buildings is s significantly improved when the building has extensive green spaces. Many medical facilities are incorporating green walls as an efficient, cost-effective way to gain these benefits.
Where Vertical Gardens are Used
Living walls are exceptionally versatile. They can be attached to virtually any vertical structure, old or new. They can also be free-standing space dividers, providing beauty, sound-proofing and security. Typical uses include:
- Exteriors + Interiors
- Retail + Office Environments
- Residential Projects
- Industrial Buildings
- Tennis Courts and Golf Courses
- Stadiums and Arenas
- Hotels and Restaurants
- Schools and Hospitals
- Highway Improvements
- Parking Structures
- Living Tapestrys on Walls
- Roof Top Gardens
- Creating Enclosures
- Privacy Screening
- Graffiti Protection
Installation & Maintenance Costs
Costs are varied depending on the project, but on average the cost for installing a living wall system, complete with plants, is $195 - $265 per sq ft. Once installed living walls require on-going maintenance regularly to stay healthy and vibrant.
Vertical Gardens vs. Green Facades
Vertical Gardens differ significantly from "green facades". A green facade uses a trellis system to hold the vines of plants that are rooted in the ground; But in a vertical garden the plants are rooted in the wall modules, so plants get their water and nutrients from the system, not from the ground.
Vertical Gardens allows for a wider variety of plants than green facades, and you don't have to wait years for tall vines to grow. They can even grow herbs and food plants, making them true "vertical gardens".
Living Retaining Walls
A specialized type of vertical garden is a "living retaining wall". These are sloped retaining walls that contain built-in planters. LIke a regular living wall, you can use a wide variety of plants, like flowers, greenery, herbs, food plants, etc.
Architek's Vertical Garden Products
Architek provides design assistance, installation and maintenance for two types of vertical garden systems, plus a living retaining wall system.
Sage® Vertical Gardens
Sage VG is a flexible, modular, hydroponic system that can be used indoors or outdoors. It's biotile™ modules come in many shapes & sizes, including corners, allowing for elaborate and artistic designs.
Sage's hydroponic system uses a high performance rock-wool to enhance plant viability, use less water and ensure the long-term viability and beauty of the wall. Sage VG systems are used worldwide, including on a number of high-profile buildings.
ModuloGreen® Vertical Solutions
ModuloGreen's living wall system uses panels of different shapes and sizes, offering unlimited design options, including circular columns.
SmartSlope Living Retaining Walls
The SmartSlope system combines a sturdy high-tech retaining wall with an aestetically pleasing greenscape. It's modular system is easy to install and offers unlimited planting options.
Traditional retaining walls are often unsightly; but a living retaining can virtually disappear behind a lush wall of plants, as in the before & after photos below. The special blocks can accommodate plants of all types and sizes, and are designed to minimize watering requirements.
The SmartSlope system uses fewer blocks and 50% less concrete than traditional systems. This, combined with its greening benefits, qualifies it for environmental (LEED) credits. The blocks can even be manufactured locally to avoid long-distance shipping.