Friday, November 19, 2010

The Walls are Alive!
And can help Keep you Healthy

"Living Walls", or vertical planters, are the hot, new, must-have landscape design element. They can disguise the most uninspiring walls and serve as a more interesting alternative to conventional fencing. They can provide privacy, sound barriers, habitat, moisture, and shade in addition to providing flowers, fruits and vegetables. Living walls differ from trellises, ivy and climbing plant-covered walls in that they feature growing medium that allows plants to take root in the wall, not just at the base of it.

Exterior walls come alive with a cascade of beautiful plants. Via Bright Green USA

Instead of a trellis that trains plants to grow upwards (time consuming!), use a living wall cell product. This one by Bright Green USA

Undulating walls covered with plants creates a grassy oasis of nature in an otherwise gray and dense city. By Mass Studies via Treehugger

Living walls have become very popular the last several years with the onslaught of sustainability and "certified green" claims of almost every product you can think of. But, unlike the "greenwashing" the globe has experienced, living plants, which contain chlorophyl, are essential to life as they help convert carbon dioxide into oxygen. (Okay, yeah, we all know that; but you can't accuse greenhouses of greenwashing their product!) They not only provide small-footprint gardens for beauty, insulation, and food, but can also improve your indoor air quality by removing formaldehyde and other potentially harmful gases from the air according to a two year study by NASA.

The ten plants most effective at removing formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide from the air are:

  • Bamboo Palm
  • Chinese Evergreen
  • English Ivy
  • Gerbera Daisy
  • Janet Craig
  • Marginata
  • Dracaena Massangeana
  • Mother-in-Law’s Tongue
  • Pot Mum
  • Peace Lily
  • Warneckii
Accent an interior wall without the worry of finding good looking planters. Product and photo by Bright Green USA
Some of the plants don't adapt well to the particular wall environments (think vertical, shallow planting space, limited nutrients and moisture — all the variables that can make a wall design challenging). Check with your local nursery or horticulturist for advice on which plant may work best for your conditions. Soil cell sizes vary so larger installations like the one below would be better suited for living wall products that have larger cell options.

The largest green wall in North America is over 4,000 square feet of living plants! Via  gSky Plant Systems

For the home gardener and cook; grow your own herbs and vegetables at arm's reach. Product & photo by Bright Green USA

For help in creating beautiful, healthy interiors, contact Shaun at designhouse.

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