5 things you need to know about outdoor living plant walls

The weight, planting and maintenance are just some factors to consider when choosing these verdant vertical gardens.

By Hugh Metcalf | 13 July 2020

Vertical gardening can look impressive and disguise problem outdoor areas, but it’s something that requires careful consideration and maintenance.

Living Wall Hackney tapestry vertical gardens

Image: Tapestry Vertical Gardens 

Vertical gardens take the idea of outdoor planting to a new plane. A living wall involves designing and installing a prefabricated growing system to create a vibrant, striking feature.

With professionally installed systems, the supporting structure is usually a type of racking made up of pockets or cells. Other methods include a capillary matting system, which attaches to a waterproof backing and frame. A nutrient-rich irrigation system is an essential part of the design. An expert will advise on location, aspect and adjacent features, which all play a part in a flourishing wall.

Grand Designs spoke to Adam Shepherd of Tapestry Vertical Gardens for his key considerations for an outdoor living plant wall.

living plant wall outside of a modern dining room - grand designs - home improvements

Image: A mix of herbs and hardy perennials provide year-round colour, from £530 per sqm including design and installation, Verti Grow.

Maintaining a living wall

A living wall will thrive if plant selection is considered for the aspect and climate and the wall is maintained and fed correctly. Professional installers offer a maintenance plan that can be quarterly, but if you’re after a more manicured look choose monthly maintenance.

Irrigation made easy

The irrigation system is designed to keep the green wall constantly moist and releases water and nutrients at a set rate via an automated system. Depending on the design of the wall, the top sections may need to be watered for longer as the bottom ones benefit from run-off. The irrigation system includes a feed tank kit, which can be hidden behind the green wall itself, in planting beds or in seating areas. The kit doesn’t have to be anywhere near to the living wall, just as long as a pipe can be run between it and the wall.