Create a living wall in your garden

Homes & Gardens show you how to create a living wall in any garden even if there is limited space.

Living, or green, walls, once the domain of designer installations and pioneering commercial sites, are increasingly making their way into residential gardens, these gloriously textured plantings make great use of limited space. To create these vertical gardens, plants are rooted into a structure that is attached to a wall.
Systems can range from something as simple as plant pots hung on the vertical frame, to highly sophisticated modular, hydroponic panels from which the water and nutrients required by plants are precision delivered and electronically monitored.

Finding the right plants

A range of herbaceous perennials, grasses, small shrubs, herbs and even fruit and vegetables can be used. Try including scented plants, seasonal flowers and bulbs, but talk to your local garden nursery about plants that will suit the aspect and microclimate of the wall on which they will be grown.

Plants to try

  • Adiantum (maidenhair fern)
  • Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’ (sedge)
  • Fragaria ‘Mara des Bois’ (strawberry)
  • Galanthus (snowdrop)
  • Heuchera ‘Purple Petticoats’
  • Liriope muscari (lilyturf)
  • Pachysandra terminalis (Japanese spurge)
  • Pelargonium peltatum (ivy-leaved geranium)
  • Saxifraga x urbium (London pride)
  • Tiarella cordifolia (foam flower)
  • Vinca minor (lesser periwinkle)

Maintaining a living wall

  • Little and often helps to keep a green wall in good condition.
  • Pick off dead leaves and replace dead or damaged plants as needed.
  • Trim back larger plants, especially those that may be smothering smaller ones.
  • Check for pests and disease.
  • Most importantly, keep an eye on the irrigation and feeding system as plants can suffer quickly if these fail, particularly in hot weather.
  • Planting systems for a living wall
  • Successful systems for living walls need to provide a vertical support, a substrate for plants to root into, and a means of meeting all their water and nutrient needs – usually using drip-irrigation. A garden designer can help create your wall, or you can go to an all-in-one company which offers a range of options.

Suppliers

  • ANS Group – Offers a pre-grown, modular, compost-based system that uses an automatic irrigation structure along with capillary matting.
  • Biotecture – Supplies a modular, hydroponic, panel-based system. Walls are pre-grown vertically off-site and installed semi-mature. Also offers sophisticated, monitored
  • irrigation systems.
  • Mobilane – Has a range of systems including Wall Planter (large, irrigated troughs attached to walls), LivePanel2 (a modular system with plants in small cups that root into a mat behind) and LivePicture
    (a panel of planting pockets that is hung on a wall and simply topped up with water once a month).
  • Scotscape – Its proprietary system is made from geotextile fabric panels installed with 9cm pot plants, which are irrigated by in-line drippers. They also create bespoke systems.
  • Treebox, treebox.co.uk. Modular Easiwall system of panels incorporating troughs that can accommodate plants to 1.5 litres in size. Supplied flat-packed with assembly and fixing instructions;
    you do the planting in situ.

For more garden ideas go to the Homes and Gardens website.

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