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Blanc Wall or living wall 

Blanc Wall or living wall 

Green facade or trellis structure 

Modular structure with lots of small pots

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Green walls –
and we don’t
mean paint!

A picture says a thousand words...and now you understand that this post isn’t about picking the perfect shade of green for your son’s bedroom. Green walls are the common description now for a vertical surface covered with growing plants, and there are many ways to do this. It can be as cheap or as expensive as you like, and can be a really great way to bring life, quite literally, into difficult areas.

In subtropical or tropical climates with heavy rainfall, we rarely use green roofs, although they work well in cold climates with drizzle rain or hot dessert climates. For vertical walls, there are three main types to achieve a green wall.

1. Blanc Wall or living wall
2. Green facade or trellis structure
3. Modular structure with lots of small pots

The original green walls were first built by Patrick Blanc, and therefore are referred to as Blanc Walls. Patrick Blanc put a sheet of plywood or rigid plastic backing on the wall, and covered this with thick felt. He then cut pockets in the felt and tucked in hydroponic plants, or air plants (aerophytes such as tillandsia – i.e. they normally grow without soil while attached to other plants). We often see this approach used with succulents, and rarely used with larger plants. You can more easily plant in patterns in Blanc walls. It can easily be done at home yourself, as it great for an original artwork or a feature wall behind a bath tub. There are plenty of blogs and websites to tell you how to create your own.

We all remember the lattice of the 80’s and 90’s, but when covered with a vine such as Jasmine you don’t tend to think of it as a green wall. This approach can be used in much more sophisticated ways, but the theory behind is the same. This picture shows tall cords (you could also use balustrade wire) with a planted vine at the base; you could also have the plant at the top and a plant the grows down.

Finally, the pot solution – this is my term, if you ever find an official industry term let me know! If you look closely at this photo you can just see the pots at the bottom. This is the type you find the most websites about, as it requires an actual product whereas the other two can be created from everyday items. Try Atlantis Gro-Wall or Lushe Wall Garden. Pots are better for larger plants, and have their own structural support (depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations).

Personally like this concept the best, because if a plant dies it is easy to remove and replace with another. You can also get it to look mature more quickly than the other two, that need to grow into maturity. But it does have higher cost than the other two. This pot solution works well to use as the wall on a house – a great idea for a flat wall that is ugly with no windows.

There are many solutions to creating green walls, we will keep you posted when we find beautiful examples. Happy gardening.


Rebekah Hurworth - RAIA