The Many Uses & Benefits of Living Walls
Living walls are a newer trend in landscaping and offer creative ways to enhance indoor and outdoor spaces that may or may not have areas available for traditional (horizontal!) landscaping. So what’s the deal with living walls – they’re beautiful and artistic, that’s undeniable, but are they beneficial? Here’s everything you need to know about living walls.
What is a living wall?
Living walls, sometimes referred to as green walls or vertical gardens, usually occupy vertical space and consist of a variety of plants – depending on the design aesthetic preferred – using hydroponics. They add beauty and bring life and color to almost any space. They’re especially impactful in areas consisting of mostly hardscape, with little to no greenery or landscape, or city buildings – like high-rises for example – where ground space is limited. They’re useful indoors and outdoors, even on exterior building walls, and the size options are endless, from a wall hanging to a small section of a wall, and entire walls, self-standing or added to existing structures.
How are living walls installed?
Because you can create living walls in almost any space, the installation varies depending on the location, size, plant palette, placement, etc. If the application is on an existing wall, a modular frame or panels are installed containing pockets where the plants are placed. For large vertical gardens, irrigation or water delivery systems are needed. For smaller walls, hand watering is sometimes preferred, more common in residential settings. Other factors to consider are the amount of natural sunlight the wall gets (which affects plant choice), plant lifespan (how often will they need to be replaced), and exposure to the elements (wind, rain, etc.)
What are the benefits of a living wall?
The benefits of living walls are abundant.
- Improve the overall health of any environment they’re installed in.
- When used on exterior walls, most often on city buildings, create added insulation, regulating temperatures in the building more efficiently (and naturally), and add sound protection – reducing noise inside and outside (the plants absorb 41% more sound than a traditional facade).
- When used on interior walls, improve air quality by reducing pollutants and absorbing carbon dioxide, and improve personal health by reducing headaches, tiredness, cold symptoms and eye irritations. They are also said to improve productivity in employees where green walls are incorporated in work spaces – less sick days, positive effect, higher satisfaction rates.
- Are useful in medical or hospital environments; the plants have a relaxing and calming effect on patients, creating a more positive mindset and overall improved sense of well-being.
- Promote biodiversity by increasing insect and bird habitats, where it’s especially lacking in large cities where green space is sparse.
- Offer fire safety benefits: plants contain high levels of moisture, creating a natural fire barrier when applied to commercial or residential structures.
- Increase property value, reduce energy costs, and improve overall appearance.
- Improve lifespan of structures by adding a layer of protection from weather elements and fluctuations in temperature.
- Are long-lasting, depending on how they are installed, often withstanding 10+ years before needing repair or replacement.
- Encourage social interaction by creating an ambient space for people to gather.
If you’re already imagining how a living wall will improve your property, contact Benchmark today for more information. Pictures shown are of actual work at one of our San Diego properties, done by our outstanding installation team!