Living Green Wall Ideas for Small-Scale Applications

As living green walls become more and more popular, interiorscapers are finding ways to integrate them into almost any space. But for clients with leased spaces or small properties, integrating a living wall can be challenging.

For leased spaces, many factors may limit the ability to install permanent, custom, large-scale living walls. For one, a permanent installation is not practical for a tenant on a short-term lease. Moving or removing a living wall may be impractical and costly. Next, a client with leased space may have a very tight budget, and a custom living wall may be beyond their budget. And finally, building owners might restrict installation because of the extra accommodations necessary for living walls to function (electricity for grow-lighting, water source, water drainage, space for irrigation system) and because of concerns about leaks, mold, and structural issues.

Whether or not the client leases, there is often the issue of space. Living walls save space by design, but your client may still only have a small patch of wall to green.

Luckily, you can provide some great green wall solutions to your clients’ conundrums. Here are a few vertical gardening products that are perfect for leased and confined spaces.

Freestanding Systems

GSky Smart Wall Cabinet

-GSky Smart Wall Cabinet

If the client has sufficient space but is concerned about finances, ease of installation, not having a structural wall, and sourcing water, I’d recommend a freestanding, all-in-one system as a great option. Take the GSky Smart Wall Cabinet, for example. This innovative system arrives as a framed cabinet with a built-in recirculating irrigation system. It can accommodate a wide variety of plants, and appears relatively easy to maintain. Each cabinet is approximately 7’4” x 3’5” x 16”. If there is space, you can place multiple cabinets side by side. Finally, these cabinets are not permanently installed and can be moved. If your client moves to a new space, you have the opportunity to provide service in a new location.

Small Wall Planters

You could also offer small living wall planters that hang on the wall like living works of art. Install one as a single accent or several as a unique grouping.

RemPlant

-LivePicture (RemPlant)

A premium example is the SuitePlants LivePicture. LivePicture is a framed vertical garden that is available in 2 creatively-named sizes (RemPlant 44.3” x 28.5”, VanGrow 28.5” x 28.5”). LivePicture uses wicking technology to water the plants from a watering tank, which is built into the frame. The tank holds enough water for 4-6 weeks and signals an alert when it needs refilling. It accommodates a diversity of plants.

If you’re looking for a simpler alternative, consider offering kits like the BrightGreen GroVert (24” x 14.5”). This system integrates one living wall module with a drip tank, which waters the plants via gravity. A collection tank below catches any excess moisture. Both drip tank and collection tank are hidden by the frame. Keep in mind that although this design is simpler and cheaper, it may require more attention from the user or maintenance professional (checking soil moisture, refilling drip tank, emptying collection tank).

There are several wall-mounted planters on the market, including other framed living wall kits and even simple wall sconce planters.

Benefits

These unique products are great if your plantscaping firm is not ready to tackle large-scale living walls. There is plenty of business to be gained from your clients (installation, planting, maintenance) without having to delve into full-scale design criteria and complex living wall system specifications.

And a final thought: Using transportable products, you could certainly also make a business out of leasing the ‘service’ of living walls. Remember, the client wants the benefits (aesthetics, marketing, air quality, etc.) and service of having a living wall present, not necessarily ownership. So, leasing would keep stewardship in your hands and allow you to transfer ‘services’ if the new client moves, or to a completely new client.

Mark is an accredited LEED Green Associate with a background in green wall research and product management and expertise in sustainability, ecology, green infrastructure, and green building. He currently works at Bela Flor Nurseries, a large wholesale supplier of annuals and perennials.

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