Summary: Living Walls
Living walls or green walls are self-sufficient vertical gardens which are connected to the outside or inside of a house or building.
They distinct from green façades (e.g. ivy walls) because the vegetation root in a structural support that is attached to the wall surface itself. The vegetation obtain water and nutrients from inside the vertical support rather than from the soil. In a way, it could be considered a hybrid hydroponic/soil growing system
A living wall is a wall partially or totally enclosed in plants containing a growing medium, for example soil. Many green walls also have a built-in water supply system. Green walls can also be known as living walls or vertical gardens.
It is important to differentiate living walls from living facades. Green walls possess growing media supported on the front of the wall surface, while green facades have top soil limited to the bottom of the wall (in a container or in ground) and help support climbing plants on the face of the wall structure to create the green, or vegetated, facade.Living walls may be indoors or outside, freestanding or attached to an existing wall.
What makes living walls attractive to people want to go off the grid is that they can be used on any wall which gets sunlight. For apartment dwellers, condo owners, or people in townhouses this can be a way to have a living vegetable garden inside your own home.
Another positive aspect is living plants purify the air around you. You can plant lavender or other aromatic herbs and literally fill your surroundings with the smell of fresh flowers all year around.
The last advantage is they are beautiful. You can plant flowers between vegetable bearing plants. You can create living works of art.
They aren’t hard, or expensive to build. I’ll have an entire section in the membership side of this website devoted to building living walls. They are a great method of urban homesteading
Obviously root vegetables, potatoes, radishes, carrots, etc., won’t do well, but leafy vegetables do great and you can literally create a healthy salad picking your produce off your kitchen wall!
Types of Living walls
Mat type systems tend to be either coir fiber or felt mats. These systems are best used on the interior of a building. Mat media are better suited for small installations no more than eight feet in height where repairs are easily completed.
Semi-open cell polyurethane sheet media utilizing an egg crate pattern has successfully been used in recent years for both outdoor roof gardens and vertical walls.
Structural media are growth medium "blocks" that are not loose, nor mats, but which incorporate the best features of both into a block that can be manufactured into various sizes, shapes and thicknesses. These media have the advantage that they do not break down for 10 to 15 years, can be made to have a higher or lower water holding capacity depending on the plant selection for the wall,
Green walls are located usually in urban surroundings where the plants decrease overall temperatures of the building.
Living walls are often a way for water recycling. The flowers might cleanse somewhat dirty water (for example greywater) through soaking up the dissolved nutrients.
Bacteria mineralize the organic and natural elements so they are accessible to the vegetation. An analysis is ongoing at the Bertschi School in Seattle, Washington employing a GSky Pro Wall system, however, no publicly published information on this can be obtained currently.
Living walls are especially suited to metropolitan areas, since they permit good use of available vertical surface locations.
They're also appropriate in dry areas, as the circulating water on a vertical wall is less inclined to evaporate than in horizontal home gardens.
The living wall may also give good results for urban agriculture, urban gardening, or for its natural beauty as art. Frequently it's constructed indoors to help reduce sick building syndrome.
Living walls are also recognized for remediation of poor quality of air, both to inner and outer locations.
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