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Living walls – Mother Nature’s partition. If you find gardening a doddle then this post probably isn’t aimed at you.

But for the less green-fingered among us, it’s worth putting these top tips into practice when creating your green wall.

Because once you’ve fixed the living wall in place and planted everything, I promise you you won’t want to do it again. 

Our 5 Favourite Tips for growing a Living Wall

1. Purpose

Indoor living wall in a workspace to improve mental wellbeing

You need a defined purpose for your green wall so you can better understand where you want to put it. Do you want to:

  • To grow food
  • Improve your mental wellbeing
  • Creativity

If you are looking to be a little more self-sufficient at home and want to grow herbs and vegetables, you’ll probably find outside works best.

Whereas if you’re a city dwelling urbanite craving a little greenery, you’ve only really got one option. 

2. Location, location, location

Not the show – although yes it’s brilliant. 

Are you planning on building a green wall indoors or outdoors?

If it’s indoors you’ll need to pick a room that gets a lot of natural light and a wall that is structurally sound enough to support a living wall.

And remember – plants grow towards the light – so if the window is on the opposite wall, you can end up with some very straggly growth. 

Gren wall in a sleek, black office

3. Aspect

Outside green wall with a sunny backdrop

What way does your wall face?

A south-facing wall will get the most sun in the UK. A north facing wall will stay in the shade through most of the day and east or west-facing walls will receive partial sun

If you’re indoors you should look to set your wall up with a relative abundance of natural light. Preferably with a window that doesn’t face the wall so the plants don’t stretch outwards for the light.

And if you don’t get enough natural light you can always use LED lighting. Just remember that plants need a day / night system to be able to shut off and prevent metabolic fatigue. So no more than 16 hours of direct light a day.

4. Plants

Plant selection is the key to the longevity of our design.

Each group of plants have their own individual characteristics that correspond with how you should set up your wall.

If you’re looking for a low maintenance living wall, then succulents are your best bet.

If you’d like to inject a little colour into your wall, then annuals or perennials are a great option – but they will need additional care and will likely die and need replacing more frequently. Although perennials need less care than annuals, but they’re ultimately less creative than annuals

Mixed perennials

If you plant vegetables then they have their own set of characteristics and will need a sturdier wall and maintenance capacity to grow them. And certain herbs are much hardier than others – rosemary in particular – so can survive almost any outdoor conditions in the UK.

These shallow root plants (herbs and succulents in particular) make for great choices in almost any climate. Whereas tropical plants are (obviously) better suited to warmer climates.

And starting from seed is – whilst cheaper – ultimately riskier. Using semi-grown plants allows you to cater for the design and space better. Minimising the risk for overcrowding.

5. Maintenance

Trim the plants: This is particularly prevalent for perennials as succulents grow very slowly (and to a small size) – but the larger they get, the heavier they get. And if they’re growing outwards instead of up, you could unbalance the structure. So to keep things neat and tidy, trim away.

Weeding: weeds take nutrients, space and sunlight from the plants you actually want to look at. So you’ll need to weed the plants every so often.

Watering: of course this varies by plant type, climate and season, but ultimately plants need water and if you don’t pay for an irrigation system then it’s up to you and human evolution to deal with this.

  • Consistent watering is pretty essential to keeping your vertical garden alive
  • Even the small DIY project you erected in your back garden
  • Smaller felt-based living walls require watering from the top to trickle down
  • Other more engineered systems have irrigation throughout the design
Keep away bugs: Whilst you want to promote biodiversity (I assume you to, it’d be pretty callous not to) and encourage pollinators into your garden – and possibly home – you don’t want to encourage pests, so you may need to spray or find a chemical-free solution.

Summing up: Our Top Tips for Green Walls

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