Table of Contents
- What Is A Living Wall?
- Design Prep for A Living Wall
- Supplies Needed for Living Wall Creation
- Best Plants for A Living Wall
- How To Create A Living Wall Indoors?
You’ve probably walked into a home that has a gallery wall, a wall full of family pictures and images of things the homeowner loves. You may even have a gallery wall yourself; they add life to a space. However, if you want to take these creative walls up a notch and are a plant lover, consider designing a living wall in your home. A living wall is exactly as it sounds, a wall full of plant life.
When visiting a hotel from time to time, you may have noticed some have a wall full of plants as the lobby’s focal point. Imagine what a living wall could add to your space. Can you picture a wall full of gorgeous foliage flowing in your dining area? This article is here to provide you with all information needed on how to create living walls.
What Is A Living Wall?
A living wall is a vertical space indoors or outdoors that is overflowing with plants. Living walls can be as simple as multiple hanging vines or full of luscious greenery with little to no white space.
When creating a living wall, you cannot just throw plants on the blank space and expect it to work. There are many factors you must consider first.
Picking A Wall
The ideal wall for a living wall must be a strong wall that can withstand the weight of the plants, containers, and water. Find a wall with plenty of support beams on the inside. If you favor a wall that lacks support, consider opening the wall and inputting more support beams before adding the garden.
In addition to a sturdy wall, you need a wall that receives plenty of light. Plants must have sunlight to grow. They soak in nutrients through the sun, and without it, they will suffer and not reap the luscious benefits you’re aiming to achieve. Find a wall that gets plenty of natural light. If natural light is not possible, add a few hanging artificial grow lights.
Measure and Map Out the Space
Before drilling holes into the wall and adding plants spontaneously, it is beneficial to plan the layout. Ask yourself if you will use frames to frame in plants, if you want vining plants, or if you would instead use multiple pots strategically mounted. Measure the wall area you are going to be working with and start piecing the puzzle together.
If using strategically placed pots start picking sizes and deciding if you will group them together. If using a large wooden frame, map out the plants inside and how much space is needed for each. Getting a game plan together before starting will set your living wall up for success.
Living walls in hotels or restaurants typically have built-in watering systems or irrigation. If in-wall irrigation is not possible, you can remove the plants for watering or use a watering can to thoroughly wet the soil while avoiding too much dripping or overwatering.
Every plant will come with individual watering requirements. A good rule of thumb for most indoor plants is to water them once weekly. The soil should be dry a couple of inches beneath the surface before watering to prevent rot or other diseases. When you do water indoor plants, be sure to soak them well.
Supplies Needed for Living Wall Creation
After picking and prepping the wall of choice, you’ll need to grab supplies. Before getting started, make sure you have these basic supplies on hand a watering can, nails, nail gun or hammer, water repellant backdrop, wood for framing, frames, potting containers, peat moss, corkboard, soil, chicken wire, wire cutters. The supplies will vary slightly depending on the type of living wall you are designing.
Picking plants for the living wall is the fun part. Here is a list of plants that have proven successful on living walls.
- Spider Plants
- Aloe Vera
- Mint Herb
- Basil Herb
When deciding the plants to incorporate, consider the plants’ design, space, lighting, and watering requirements. Here are a few other tips for choosing plants:
- Herbs – Adding Herbs here and there to your indoor wall garden will give you a beautiful look and allow the garden to be helpful every day.
- Epiphytes – Air plants are the best for entire living walls. Other plant types are suitable for pots, frames, shelving. Epiphytes do not require soil to grow and will grow suspended in the air.
- Air Purification – Choose plants that are great for air purification. Living walls usually consist of many plants, so having a few that help with air quality can impact your living space in a significant way.
- Medicinal Plants – Air purification is excellent and all, but by adding Aloe Vera to the living wall, you will always have the healing gel available to soothe burns, scrapes, and other minor wounds.
- Air Circulation – Plants provide benefits for a person’s health and well-being. Picking a living wall in an open space or an area with increased air circulation will help the benefits of living with plants touch more space.
How To Create A Living Wall Indoors?
Now that the plans are made, and the plants picked, it is time to create the living wall. For this article, we are going to assume you are doing the hotel-type entire living wall.
- Cover the wall of choice in corkboard and mount it well to the wall.
- Once the cork is in place, cover the cork in the waterproof backdrop of choice to finish the project’s foundation.
- Now that the foundation is complete use chicken wire to cover the backdrop in any areas you intend to place foliage. Overlap the chicken wire in a checkerboard pattern to allow you to weave in the moss and plant stems.
- After the chicken wire is in place and mounted, cover the chicken wire in peat moss. Peat moss will help water retention and support the plants.
- Once the peat moss is covering the space, strategically start placing plants throughout the area.
- The beautiful plants are in place, and the wall looks complete, but it is not quite ready yet. You need to water the plants. Water all around the plants and peat moss. Soak as much as possible while trying to keep excessive dripping to a minimum.
- Absorb the beauty of the eye-catching artwork you created.
Creating a living wall is not an easy task; it will take planning and elbow grease. However, the benefits surpass the initial effort it takes to bring it into reality.
When deciding what wall to use, you want to look for three things.
1. Air Flow – Choosing an open space or room will allow better airflow to the plants and around the house.
2. Sturdiness – A living wall is required to hold a lot of unusual weight. Pick a wall that has multiple and robust support beams inside. Opening up the wall and adding additional support beams before starting the project is always a good idea.
3. Lighting – Plants must have light to thrive healthy and happy. Pick a wall that gets plenty of bright indirect sunlight. If natural light is not an option, choose a wall you can add artificial lighting nearby.
Yes, you can cover an entire wall in English Ivy. Still prep the wall as you would using multiple plant types, but instead of mounting all the plants, place the Ivy in a way that appeals to your taste. Many people choose to run Ivy in a vertical direction. However, if you use moss in the backing, it will cover all of the blank space and allow you to get more creative with Ivy patterns.
Too much water can cause wall/sheetrock damage. To reduce the risk of damage is why prepping the space is necessary. The corkboard, waterproof backdrop, and moss will all help prevent the water from destroying your wall. In addition to the wall coverings, use a watering can to water plants to reduce dripping or excess moisture.
When mounting plants to a wall and not using pots, you will need substance to keep the plants in place. Start with a corkboard covering the wall you intend to use, next cover the cork in a waterproof backdrop of choice; after the backdrop, mount chicken wire over the entirety of the wall, and top the chicken wire with moss. Only after the groundwork is complete, lace through the plants of choice. Chicken wire and moss are the ingredients in living wall creations that will hold plants in place.
The plants you choose will vary depending on the type of living wall you create. If creating an entire wall with vertical plants, epiphytes will work best. Epiphytes are plants like Tillandsia, Bromeliads, Hoyas, Orchids, Staghorn Ferns, and Anthuriums. If your goal is strategically mounted pots or shelving, it will allow more variety to use plants like Peace Lillies, Aloe Vera, Herbs, and Pothos.