What Is a Living Wall? (And How to Add One to Your Home or Yard)

The best landscape design elements don’t just mimic the beauty of nature—they actually recreate it.

That is definitely the goal when it comes to “living walls.” This trend isn’t just about transplanting plants to a vertical space; it’s really about helping plants grow and thrive on that space, creating a very natural-looking element that works just as well inside as it does outside.

So what exactly is a living wall? And how can you create one for your space? Those are the questions we’re answering today.

What is a living wall?

A living wall, or green wall, is an indoor or outdoor wall that is intentionally covered with greenery or vegetation. Either the entire surface of the wall or just a portion of the wall is covered, but either way, it creates a lush, green focal point in the space.  

On a living wall, the soil can be built into the structure of the wall (allowing the plants to be placed directly into the wall itself) or into a separate container that is attached to the wall. Most living walls also incorporate built in watering systems, to allow more even distribution of the water over the entire wall. 

How to add a living wall to your space?

A living wall is something that anyone can add to their space to create an incredible, unique design element. Here are the basic steps to follow to install one for yourself:

  1. Choose your wall. Where is your living wall going to…well, live? This will help you decide what type of setup and plants will be best for your situation.

    The most important thing to consider here is light. You’ll want to choose a wall that gets a good amount of natural light so your plants can thrive. If you already have some specific plants in mind, think about whether they do best in direct or indirect sunlight.

  2. Figure out setup. Because living walls have become more popular in recent years, there are many options available to you when it comes to how you’ll set up your wall.

    You can always go the completely custom route, working with a designer to make sure you set up your living wall in a secure and functional way. Or there are plenty of premade options that will help you find just the right setup for your wall.

    Make sure you are taking into account how you will water (and drain) your system.

  3. Choose your plants. Depending on where your living wall is located, and what you want it to do, you can choose plants that best fit your unique situation.

    For example, leafy ferns will thrive best in humid environments, while succulents will do better in dry ones. Your best bet for finding the right plants will be talking to a local nursery about what will do the best in your climate and lighting.

    (Side note: living walls don’t have to be all beauty and no function. You can choose to turn your living wall into a garden wall, with herbs, peppers, and more.)

  4. Maintain and enjoy! The best part of a living wall is sitting back and enjoying the greenery. Depending on your watering system and the plants you chose, your living wall may take some time and effort to get established. Just make sure you follow the basic care instructions for each plant on your wall, and it should deliver a lush vertical landscape for years to come!

Living walls are an excellent way to add greenery and visual interest to your indoor or outdoor space. Get creative, have fun, and enjoy!

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