Vertical Gardens are the must-have garden item of the moment. Our Gardening Guru, Charlie Albone, takes you through the pros and cons of getting your very own living wall.
Vertical gardens are the must-have garden item of the moment - greening walls and fences in lots of modern gardens. Plants seemingly growing out of the wall can offer huge impact in any space or add a fantastic backdrop for the rest of the garden.
The current systems being used have really moved along in leaps and bounds compared to the construction methods of the early green walls. I remember building planters of galvanized mesh and filling them with potting mix and lightweight aerators such as perlite.
Some people were growing plants in layers of felt fed hydroponically but both methods have now been replaced, with great success, with individual potted plants hung upon a wall with built in irrigation and drainage to each pot. These systems may have the disadvantage of being a bit tight in the root department leading to a pot bound effect but they have a massive advantage of the ease of replacing damaged or dead plants. They are also very easy to construct making them they perfect D.I.Y. project.
VERTICAL GARDENS: THE PROS
Green walls have many benefits to the modern gardener including:
Space saving: Green walls take up very little footprint in the garden but provide maximum number of plants.
Insulation: the small cavity between the green wall and wall surface remains at a relatively constant temperature. This has a knock on effect when it comes to cooling or heating your greenwall-clad building as it adds a thermal barrier.
Aesthetic appeal: Green walls are very trendy and add a certain wow factor to any space be it a courtyard or a large sprawling garden.
Acoustic benefits: Green walls help to absorb sound waves so they are perfect to use as a screen between properties.
Green space: By increasing any green space in the urban environment it helps to reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect which is the effect that occurs when buildings and hard surfaces absorb the sun's heat and then send it back into their surroundings.
VERTICAL GARDENS: THE CONS
Green walls aren’t the answer to every garden solution and they do have their disadvantages:
Cost: Green walls are a luxury item costing between $900 - $1,500 per square meter so your pockets need to be deep if you want a large one. The new systems take a lot of the hard work out of the construction of greenwalls helping to decrease the costs of installation.
Maintenance: Green walls are extremely labour intensive items to maintain as usually you have an average of 50 pots/plants per square meter all of which need caring for.