The living wall revival
I’ve become truly inspired by something: living walls. Green and silent amidst the buzzing traffic and fast-paced streets, they hark of something old and something new about to happen. Okay so they’ve been around for a few years now, but they’re making a come-back. There’s been a living wall-boom in homes, either as a fantastic feature wall, or forming the exterior walls. Living walls can be customised to create something really awe-inspiring. What a fantastic way to bring your home into this new 21st century, combining amazing design with sustainable eco-friendly ideas.
Living walls are inspired by designer Patrick Blanc, and huge corporations, hotels, and even shops are giving it a go now. I went to Anthropologie, Regent Street this month and was blown away by their floor to ceiling living wall. I’ve put together some ideas and tips based on my research, in the hopes you’ll be inspired to give it a go.
Garden living walls
Our beloved Britain does have its rainy days, let’s be honest. So these living walls bring many benefits with them. They’re fantastic at protecting walls from heavy rain as they’re so absorbent, they can really help in the fight against urban flooding. The way in which the walls are constructed means they protect the exterior walls from wind, harmful UV rays and corrosive rain.
n our quest to aid natural meadowland and promote the drastically declining bees and insects – these walls create the perfect habitat for wildlife. If you live in a busy area you might find you’re susceptible to air and noise pollution – yes you guessed it; the walls will help to combat this as well.
So you can see why so many urban areas are opting for this now. The primary cause of heat in cities is insolation – the roads and building absorb the heat and release back out to the city, so we’re all walking around in a thermal bubble. The plants however, never rise above 4-5c, sometimes cooler. Due to transpiration the plants will actually help to create a cooler atmosphere – genius!
Interior living walls
Perhaps I’ve been living under a rock, but I was very surprised to learn that our interiors can be up to nine times more polluted than outside. I know, ridiculous isn’t it – toxins are released from computers, painted walls, synthetic carpets and even furniture. NASA has put together some research around what plants are best at absorbing these toxins. They provide an excellent layer of insulation, which will lead to reduced energy costs – even if you already have a well-insulated house. This works for both the winter and the same way in the summer – these walls can insulate against heat loss in the winter and will help to keep your house cool in the summer, if you had a wall with a hundred plants installed you could see a temperature drop of 7c – nature is pretty amazing.
Another added health benefit is that plants are well-known for de-stressing and relaxing people – what better way to create a truly calming haven at home. Gone are the days of spending hundreds of pounds at a day spa to relax!
Spread the healthy love by installing an edible kitchen wall – you can use lots of plants such as herbs and lettuce, all of which have their own toxin-eating abilities.
There are many dedicated companies who specialise in setting these walls up outside and inside, and it doesn’t matter how big or small you chose to go. They’re self-sustainable, so the water often comes from inside the wall – you may only need to pick the dead leaves off and ensure there’s adequate lighting.
With their little hairy feet and teletubby homes, it looks like the Hobbits were one step ahead of the game.
November 1st 2013