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Celebrating Green Wall Day 2022 With Insights Into This Growing Industry

08/02/2022 - Featured Products

Anna Roochove takes a look at the beauty and the benefits of living green walls......

15th February is #GreenWallDay – a celebration of vertical gardens all over the world to mark the birthday of Stanley Hart White.  He was a Landscape Architect and professor of landscape architecture at the University of Illinois from 1922-1959.  

‘White called his invention "Botanical Bricks" and developed prototypes in his backyard in Urbana, Illinois. Stanley's brother E.B. White documented the invention in his 1937 letter to Katherine S. White, writing, “I guess everyone has crazy brothers and sisters. I know I have. Stan, by the way, has taken out a patent on an invention of his called ‘Botanical Bricks,’ which are simply plant units capable of being built up to any height, for quick landscape effects, the vertical surfaces covered with flowering vines, or the like. He thinks that the idea has great possibilities for such things as world fairs, city yards, indoor gardens, and many other projects. I think perhaps he has got hold of something, and have written him for more information. He certainly deserves a break.” 
Stanley refined the vertical garden typology with his patent for the "vegetation-Bearing Architectonic Structure and System (1938)" in which he outlined the scope for a new field of vegetation-bearing architecture.’

The full potential of his vertical gardening vision was not realised in his lifetime, but green walls are now a well known part of the urban landscape and their popularity is growing by the day.

Where Are Living Walls Specified?

Many residential customers with space limited gardens specify living walls, with around 50 plants per square meter in modular systems, this means that creating an urban oasis of plants on the vertical makes a lot of sense, keeping the footfall areas clear for outdoor seating and cooking. 

living green wall in an urban setting

living green wall with a thriving colony of ferns and shade loving plants

This example uses the Scotscape Fytotextile system which houses 49 plants per square meter.  Simple to install and plant up on-site it is a perfect living wall system for landscapers to specify in their projects where clients would like that beautiful splash of ‘green’.

The living wall revolution doesn’t end with residential installations, commercial business understand the value of living walls, installing them in office interiors has been proven to improve the air quality of the office and also help workers to be more productive and happier!  When you have happy staff, this has a big economic impact on business, reducing staff turnover and sick days.  

indoor living wall in a modern office setting with mezzanine and stair case

This infamous living wall is a Biotecture system – specified at the head offices of Centrica – it cuts a beautiful swathe of green through the centre of an otherwise grey office space

Retailers have also joined the Living Wall trend, with sustainable retailers such as Marks and Spencer incorporating both living walls and green roofs on their stores to reinforce their image and to support more sustainable buildings and boost localised biodiversity.

green wall at Marks and Spencers Owestry Store

Marks and Spencers shop with living green wall full of foliage and flowers

This beauty at M&S Simply Food in Oswestry shows how living walls can beautify buildings immeasurably!  This is an ANS Global system and is one of many across the M&S estate of stores. 

One of the first M&S stores to feature a living wall was in Sheffield – it also has a living roof installed recently by green roof and living wall installation experts Pritchard and Pritchard

living green roof installed by Pritchard and Pritchard

living green roof in Sheffield overlooked by victorian housing

What Are The Benefits Of Living Walls?

  • They bring a welcome boost to biodiversity and support the bees
  • They minimise the urban heat island effect
  • They help improve localised air quality
  • They insulate buildings – reducing energy costs and co2
  • They demonstrate the green credentials of business
  • They improve interior air quality of office spaces, supporting biophilic design principles
  • They look fantastic!
  • Perfect for urban gardens where floor space is poor
  • Living walls bring with them acoustic benefits, deadening sound to make localised space feel more ambient.

Urban Greening Factor

In London it is now essential for planners and developers to specify urban greening solutions as part of their projects.  The Urban Greening Calculator encourages the specification of green walls, green roofs and considered landscaping content to enable plans to be passed.  This legislation will hopefully roll out across the UK soon. 

If you have clients who would like to jump onto the living wall trend, give us a call for guidance – we are happy to assist. 

Read More.....

How To Create A Living Wall

About Green Wall Day

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About The Author

Anna has been working in the Landscape Industry since 2004. Firstly with her own landscaping business, through which she discovered living walls. This led to working with Living Wall provider Scotscape and subsequently the Scotscape Groundscape team to raise awareness of intelligent, sustainable landscape maintenance solutions.

Anna works with multiple clients within the landscaping industry delivering engaging social media and marketing campaigns, raising awareness, and developing business and partnerships.  She is passionate about spreading the word about the benefits of gardens and nature for the health and wellbeing of people and cities.