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No, we’re not talking about walls that are painted green. The green wall is a design term used to describe a vegetated wall — a wall that has greenery growing on it. It’s also known as a vertical garden or living wall. So what’s to know about it?

what it is 

Think of it as a garden that grows along a wall instead of flat on the ground. Because it grows vertically, the construction and maintenance are different. For one, buildings don’t have soil for plants. So, substrate panels or support structures that contain a growing medium are used, and are mounted on the wall. 

Plants take root in the growing medium, which can include soil, fabric, foam, or even a hydroponic set-up using water and no soil at all. After all, plants don’t actually need soil to grow; they just need the nutrients found in soil, water, and sunlight. 

Watering is a different process too. A hose or sprinkler would be pretty inefficient and most of the water would just drip to the ground. There are special watering systems like drip irrigation built into the structure, to ensure roots are sufficiently damp.

what it isn’t

Green walls are different from green facades, though they look similar. Green facades only have plant roots on the ground, the roof, or a window ledge, with the plant climbing up the wall on a structure like a trellis or hanging down against the wall (think ivy). With green walls, plants are rooted in panels or structures and attached all up and down the wall.

more than a garden

Gardens have a lot of aesthetic value — who doesn’t appreciate pretty flowers and plants? And green walls can be an unexpected surprise; they’re interesting and a little different from the usual. However, there’s a lot more to them than beauty!

Green walls have functional benefits, like energy efficiency. Dense greenery on exterior walls provides insulation and absorbs heat, lowering cooling costs in the summer. It protects the building from fluctuating temperatures and also absorbs noise. 

Another plus is improved air quality. More greenery means greater absorption of carbon dioxide and the release of more oxygen. Plants are natural air purifiers, helping to clean air pollutants present inside buildings.

And of course, there’s a positive effect on well-being. Being in nature boosts your mood, and green walls can help you feel calmer and less stressed out. 

Building green walls has even been incorporated into city planning strategies, like in Madrid and Seattle. Green walls, vertical gardens, living walls — whatever you call them, they offer much more to you than meets the eye! 

Sources: Green Roofs


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