Apparently, Green Walls are now officially called Living Walls and green roofs are living roofs. That’s one of the many things I learnt earlier this week when I attended a Living Wall Workshop conducted by the people of Tree Box, a specialist company based in London. The main difference in their system compared to others seems to be the depth of the angled pockets which allows contractors, installers and landscape designers to work with decent sized shrubs, 1L being ideal, planting in situ which should fluff out in no time and make a good show. The planting medium is a 30% compost and 70% lightweight aggregate with an irrigation tube running along the top of each pocket.
There are of course many hydroponic systems which are particularly favoured in vertical allotments.
What appealed to me about Tree Box’s Easi-Wall was the instantaneous results and the fact that as a landscape architect or garden designer you are in complete control of the finished product which with some other systems, you design on paper and then have it contract grown which does not easily accommodate a change of mind from either yourself or your client.
I still have some reservations on the overall longevity of green walls and the maintenance costs, but with a robust automatic irrigation system most of the pitfalls can be avoided. Needless to say they are a fantastic way of addressing many of our cities’ environmental issues, and I feel it is high time as landscape architects we specify them wherever possible.
- Reduce the carbon footprint of a building by insulating in winter and cooling in summer
- Absorb stormwater and reduce run-off which can be further assisted by irrigating via rainwater harvesting
- Sequester the carbon dioxide from the air
- Increase biodiversity providing a refuge for insects and birds
- Enhance the physical and mental well-being of inhabitants and passers-by