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Is a living wall really as expensive as you've been told in 2021?

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How much does a Living Wall cost in 2021?

Whilst you’ve probably read about the pitfalls of living walls and the tremendous expense associated with them – living wall maintenance, irrigation, plant replacement – this really only applies to large commercial project.

In reality, a DIY living wall project can cost as little as £100. 

We will breakdown all the costs in detail below, but you can setup a back garden green wall with:

  • Some cheap sedum plants
  • Growing medium
  • A DIY planter (a pallet, planting bags or vertical garden trays)
  • Fixing materials

For very little. Both in terms of setup costs and ongoing maintenance. 

How much does a Living Wall cost per square meter in the UK?

A Green Wall Kit

Up to £ 150
Per square meter

DIY Living Wall Project

Up to £ 0
Per square meter

Ultimately economies of scale come into play too. 

If you only create a 1m2 living wall – that includes an irrigation system and a premium planting solution – then it’s going to be very expensive per meters squared. 

Larger walls will cost less (per m2) because you only need one irrigation system or water tank for the whole project. 

Living Wall Costs - The Breakdown

Green Wall Kits cost per meter squared

Budget Price (per m2)
Premium Price (per m2)
Living wall kit
Growing Medium
Irrigation System

Ultimately living wall kits are a single purchase solution that include everything you need for an at home living wall. 

Within the kit you will get:

  • Planters
  • Water filters
  • Fence materials
  • Raw plugs
  • Screws

Almost everything but the plants, growing medium and – if required – an irrigation system. 

Typically you will spend somewhere between £150 – 250 per square meter on a living wall using a kit. An irrigation system can cost significantly more, but ultimately the larger the wall the lower the cost per m2.

DIY Living Wall Cost per meter squared

Budget Price (per m2)
Premium Price (per m2)
Planters or a planting medium
Growing Medium
Irrigation System
Fixing materials
Water filters

The DIY route is significantly cheaper. Don’t ever be put off from turning a wall into something beautiful based on the cost. 

Irrigation systems are – more often than not – unnecessary for DIY living wall projects. 

As that’s the case you could build a small DIY project for under £100. Plants – like sedums, ferns or succulents – are hardy and need very little in terms of maintenance of replacing. 

Individual Living Wall Element Cost

1. Planters or planting mediums – like cheap planting bags that cost as little as £15 to vertical garden planters or modular trays that can cost £100s – are a simple to setup, scalable solution.

2. Plants really do vary in cost. Sedums and low maintenance, evergreen plants like some species of fern are cheap and hardy. Whereas some tropical plants only thrive indoors and can really push the cost up. 

3. Fixing materials – you really shouldn’t be paying much at all for some screws. 

4. Growing medium – Ditto for compost.

5. Irrigation – a cheap, workable irrigation system for a mid-sized back-garden or in-home living wall shouldn’t cost you more than £150. 

6. Water filters – generally cheap and not always required. Whether you need water filters or not depends on the type of plant. Native UK plants, or hardier species generally thrive everywhere. Some tropical plants may have more specific requirements. 

Additional DIY Living Wall Costs

Living Wall Installation Cost

Well the good news is DIY living wall projects are free to install. 

The bad news is you have to do it yourself. 

That is as long as you’re willing to do it yourself. If you do it yourself it will cost you time – typically less than a day – so it depends how much you value that. 

If you’d rather forego the DIY project in favour of some well-earnt me-time, then you can expect to pay no more than £200 installation. Unless of course there’s a particularly tricky piece of irrigation work to setup or the wall in question is large. 

Living Wall Maintenance Cost

Again if you do everything yourself the only things you’d need to account for are:

  • Watering
  • Weeding
  • Repotting / replanting – typically up to 5% of plants die every year in green wall projects
  • Damage

An irrigation system can have a total cost of a couple of hundred pounds per year for a mid-sized living wall. 

But replanting, weeding and watering – outside of irrigating – should cost you very little. We estimate an average of £10 / month. 

Living Wall Replanting Cost

To break down the replanting cost of living walls, this is a pretty standard estimation:

  • If you have 100 plants on your green wall
  • Somewhere between 1 – 5% will die each year
  • So you’d need to purchase up to 5 plants
  • If the average cost of each plant is £4
  • Then your repotting cost would be £20 / year

How much will a Living Wall save you?

Well, the likelihood of your DIY project saving you a significant sum is pretty low – unless you cover an entire, significant, wall on the outside of your home rather than your shed or garden.

Really the main savings come with large-scale commercial projects. But they cost the metaphorical arm and leg.

But ultimately green walls have some really impressive energy saving benefits:

higher nighttime temperatures
4 - °
reduced urban temperatures in London
summertime energy saving

So whilst living large-scale living walls can significantly reduce air heating and cooling bills – if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to save money on your energy bills that you can manage yourself, you’d be better off with a green roof.

Heat rises, remember. A living wall is a beautiful way to bring some lush greenery inside, grow your own food or cover a manky old wall.

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