Living Garden Walls
A living garden wall is ideal for a home with a small yard.
Planting the garden along vertical surfaces that rise up from the ground creates an edifice of color and life. While conserving space on a practical level, it further enhances the aesthetics of landscape design as well. It creates an enclosure similar to a courtyard, although much more organic in presence and form. The space within a garden wall can be formal or informal and can feature patio design, additional garden design, or a custom fountain around which to gather for conversation at night.
The vertical surface can support of any type of plants, or appropriate combinations of plants.
As we have noted many times in other sections of our website, the aesthetic of garden design is primarily derived from varying shades of green, not the color of flowers. This also holds true on one level in a living garden wall. Many different species of greenery can be planted in tiers, ascending levels, or set to climb the surface of the wall. The effects of layered green on top of green are even more spectacular when it looms over you on all four sides.
At the same time, however, vertical wall surfaces give us tremendous opportunity to experiment with color.
Flowers can be populated in many different creative ways. Coloration will not detract from the greenery; it will enhance it—especially under the illuminance of landscape lighting.
A third option to consider for ecology enthusiasts is a horticultural living garden wall.
This is a vertical surface that grows vegetables and herbs. The surface area of the wall actually provides a great deal more space for growing vegetables than a standard garden. If designed specifically for this purpose, enhanced horticultural methods, irrigation techniques, and fertilization can be integrated into the design to produce a super abundance of food crops.
Professional assistance in creating these elements is highly recommended. Building them is actually much more complex than it appears.
A sheer wall does not provide the footing for plants to grow. What we need to create when building a vertical grow surface is something that looks sheer. The soil has to move up the sides of the wall like ascending tiers of surface. Of course, these tiers should be narrow enough, and their progression subtle enough, that it tricks the eye into seeing a flat surface out of which plants appear to grow sideways.
Irrigation and drainage systems also have to be built into a living garden wall.
Soil is actually not what plants need to grow—nutrients and water are the two main ingredients. Soil is really only a medium of delivery for water and plant food. Consequently, the flow of water through the root system is of paramount importance to the ultimate success of vertical growing methods.
There are also ways of building living garden walls that use only water and nutrients and require no soil whatsoever.
These structures are very expensive and many times feature plants that grow downward. The most appropriate application for such a luxury structure would be to showcase very exotic plant life, or to create super-growth conditions for plants like tomatoes that often do very well growing upside down.