Bringing life, oxygen and style to the walls within our homes – green walls are here to stay
What looks like a modern-day innovative design was actually an idea created way back in 1938. Living walls were patented by Stanley Hart White around 75 years ago, and were later popularised by the French botanist Patrick Blanc, who is now credited as the godfather of green walls. Grown vertically as opposed to horizontally, living or green walls work inside the home and out. They are defined by walls that are covered with vertical vegetation and that have a built-in irrigation system. While most of us know the benefits of bringing more nature into the home, read on to find out why a green wall is a trend with many benefits:
Requires limited space
If you don’t have a large garden, then vertical gardening is ideal. Since the plant pots are fixed to walls, living walls rarely take up any floor space. Apart from enriching the beauty of the apartment, they also add life to your living space. For the indoors, moss walls can be a great addition for bringing in some greenery that requires little maintenance.
Improves air quality indoors
The issues with pollution and air quality affect the indoors as much as it does the outdoors. Plants are great natural air purifiers- a NASA experiment conducted in 1989 found that indoor plants can scrub the air of cancer-causing volatile organic compounds like formaldehyde and benzene. Certain plants, like the English hydrangea, Peace Lily, Devils Ivy, and Chrysanthemums, significantly reduce germs and toxins in the home.
Benefits your mental and physical health
Research shows that green walls positively impact how people feel. The relationship between humans and plants is known as Biophilia. It is a natural phenomenon by which people tend to feel calm and pleasant when around living organisms. According to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, active interaction with indoor plants (such as touching and smelling) can reduce physiological and psychological stress. While regular exposure to the colour green or viewing images of green spaces can improve health and wellbeing by reducing blood pressure, muscle tension, fear, stress, anger, and sadness.
Doua Benhida, marketing manager at Dubai-based sustainable business solutions company One Modern World tells us that apart from looking great, green walls also add positivity to the space it’s in.
“Green walls are naturally beautiful and everyone seems to enjoy seeing and being around it, the same way one would feel when in nature. It provides a sense of quiet, plus, it can even serve as a noise cancellation – that’s also why a lot of companies have it in their offices and buildings. Having it at home would bring those benefits, along with the fact it’s a unique design to have, and sustainable as it does not require any water and is generally very low maintenance for many years.”
Plant walls can help to reduce temperatures indoors because they act as climate control. If they’re installed on a building’s exterior, they can help to reduce the sunlight that directly lands on the structure’s walls. This means that less energy will be required to keep the interiors cooler. Apart from this, green walls also help provide a natural environment and nesting space for wildlife. During the wintertime, the plant walls act as insulation, trapping heat and helping to reduce the consumption of electricity.
You can grow food
According to horticulturist Ryan McQuerry from Outside In, edible green walls are a good method to grow your own organic produce while adding a beautiful touch to your living space. “People are increasingly worried about where their food comes from, how it is grown and the types of sprays used. As a result, more and more people are starting to grow their own vegetables and herbs. Edible green walls are a way to grow organic produce in a place where space is tight.”
Requires minimal maintenance
One of the main benefits of a green wall is the fact it requires little to no maintenance. Dou says this is its greatest advantage. People wishing to install green walls in their living/office spaces should also consider the reasons behind installing the systems.
“The best advantage about these plants is they do not require any sort of maintenance: no water, no sun, no electricity. They provide a unique sense of calm, and even noise cancellation. Individuals or corporate that would want to install a Green Wall in their houses or offices have to consider the size and the design of it more than anything – They would also need to think of their motives behind it: is it purely aesthetics? Or do they want to provide a sense of relaxation, or use it for noise cancellation purposes ?”
A fresh and artistic look
Living walls can help to create a design statement. They help to bring a fresh feel to the environment- whether that’s your home or office – they can add a dramatic, yet natural touch helping elevate the aesthetic look of the space. Adding plant walls to living rooms, hallways or kitchens gives spaces that don’t have much in the way of decor a much-needed pop of colour and life.
Things to consider before installing a green wall in your home
Decide where you want to install the wall
Whether indoors or outdoors, choose wall(s) that will be easy to build and maintain. Make sure the wall gets enough sunlight while considering other requirements like water availability and humidity levels. For outdoor walls, Ryan suggests choosing a climbing plant that can attach itself to the wall or frame as it grows. This helps create a “green facade” and cover the wall over time. Do keep in mind that climbers can take years to grow completely.
Choose what goes where
One of Ryan’s tips is to pick the right plants. Certain plants do well indoors, while some others need ‘grow lights’. Watering plants is also equally important- too little or too much water can both damage their growth.
Consult with a vertical garden specialist
It’s recommended to consult with a garden specialist to help you decide which plants would best suit your needs and lifestyle. Approaching a professional designer or landscape company is the right way to go, especially if you’re looking to install an integrated wall system, which involves irrigation and fertilising systems. “Green walls are wonderful in homes, as a natural design element for a living room but also for a home office as a movable room divider,” says Doua.
“Some considerations should be made like the size of the house if it should be on the wall or freestanding and of course, the placement and size of it. It is quite adaptable in terms of where you can put it, but yes, anyone can have it. It’s also custom-made from a wide selection of different plants, so it really is up to the creativity of the person to design their perfect version for their home. “
By Mabel Roy