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Living Walls: Taking Gardens Vertical

Lately we hear a lot about “going green”, but living walls take the idea in a whole new direction, literally. Living walls or vertical gardens allow you to bring green where space is limited, either indoors or out. They are basically a framework of plants placed onto the side of a building or wall. Patrick Blanc, a French botanist and pioneer in the field vertical gardens, has created some truly amazing large scale installations and his website is a must-see. However, these walls can be small scale as well using flowers, succulents - even vegetables. Keep in mind that plants with shallow roots are best as they have an easier time staying attached to a vertical surface. If you are a do-it-yourself-er check out ELT Living Wall Systems list of plants that work well.

The living wall trend has recently caught on here in San Diego, where space is definitely a commodity. The wall above (photo by Scott Neubacher Caligure) was created by Tend Living a local company whose inspired owner; Britton Neubacher describes the walls as “living art”. Tend Living’s various “plant scapes”, including fantastic hanging “orbs” (modern terrariums in locally hand blown glass containers) have been displayed at Jett Gallery. They recently teamed up with Pigment to erect a 6’x8’ wall in their North Park location and are busy with many residential projects around town.

The living wall concept is really catching on. They really are gorgeous, not to mention beneficial, purifying the air by removing harmful toxins and adding humidity. The visual effect is amazing; it reminds me of an aerial, bird’s eye view of a rainforest. A smaller wall could easily replace framed art on the wall of any home. Succulents would be perfect in a modern setting; flowing plants or flowers would work well in a traditional home. I love the idea of bringing the outdoors in and can’t imagine a better way to do it.


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