One of the best ways to freshen or liven up your home’s interior or exterior is a plant wall. Plant walls (otherwise known as vertical gardens, living walls or green walls) are common fixtures in the lobbies of corporate offices or hotels, as well as the atriums of shopping centers and airports.
Usually mounted on the interior or exterior walls of buildings, these installations vary in size and shape and offer a refreshing green experience that doubles as a living wall art. They have become increasingly popular in commercial establishments and becoming more common in apartment buildings and residential homes, especially in cities with limited spaces.
If you’re looking for a way to freshen up your home with a limited space, consider installing a plant wall. This creative green structure gives your home a fresher look without consuming too much space (since you can create smaller-scale versions of these vertical gardens). Whether you install them indoor or outdoor, a plant wall adds a touch of charm to your home.
We won’t lie, though. Creating a plant wall isn’t the easiest décor project. It requires hard work, creativity and plenty of patience. But once you’ve learned the steps, it’s an easy and fun project that shows your green thumb skills.
How Do I Build a Garden Wall?
So how do you cultivate plants on the wall?
Most plant walls include plant pots hanging on a vertical frame. Some homeowners put their plants in landscape fabric sacks. But if you want a sturdier decorative plant wall, make a planter from scratch. You’ll need some wooden beams for the frame and some fabric and plastic sheeting for the covering.
Start with the frame, which depends on the size of your green wall. If you want a frame size that isn’t over-the-top, use 36-inch and 22-inch long boards.
To start building:
- Lay your battens on a flat surface to form a rectangular frame. Attach them together using deck screws (the 2 ½ inch ones will work fine).
- Take a 36-inch x 22-inch piece of plywood and line it on the top of the frame before you screw it in. This creates a sturdy bottom part for your plant wall. Use a French cleat to easily mount your living wall.
- Attach one part of your board to the wall and another to the back of the planter. You’ll have two parts that fit well when it’s time to mount your planters.
Once you’ve built the frame, line the wall with plastic sheeting. The plastic sheet keeps your hallways from being littered with leaves or soaked with water. When it comes to covering your wall, use the thickest sheet you can find.
To add sheeting to your plant wall:
- Attach a sheet of plastic to the frame. Use your hands to lay it evenly inside the planter and to make sure the plastic lays flat.
- Add another layer of the sheet to the back of the frame if you want to keep the water from dripping.
- Avoid ripping the plastic while stapling it.
Next, add landscape fabric to hold the soil in your planters. Apart from keeping the soil in, a landscape fabric keeps the water in and allows the oxygen in and out. It provides enough moisture, promotes plant respiration and keeps your root from rotting.
To attach your landscape fabric to your planted wall:
- Coat your plant wall with two layers of fabric. One of the fabrics should fit closely along with the frame over the layer of plastic. The other piece of fabric should cover the entire planter so you have something to secure the dirt.
- Use felt carpet padding, geotextile fabric or basic landscape fabric. Attach two layers of fabric and secure them with a stapler.
What are the Best Plants for a Living Wall?
It all depends on the lighting or the space’s access to artificial and natural light.
For example, for areas with plenty of light, try planting pothos, aglaonemas and the Medusa fern. For direct light, a croton is always an excellent option.
On the other hand, plants that do well in low light situations are the Brazil philodendron, the peace lily and the snake plant. For vertical gardens that receive medium light, add the English ivy and/or Song of India to your plant wall. Consider adding ferns, too (e.g. maidenhair and rabbit foot).
Here are some points to consider before adding plants to your indoor or outdoor plant wall:
- When creating an outdoor vertical wall plant, consider which plants can tolerate your microclimate conditions.
- The best wall plants are versatile ones, especially if you want to plant them manually. You need accessibility so you can easily water them.
- Think of the wall plants collectively. Since a vertical plant wall is immobile, your plants will have similar conditions to grow in. If you pick a well-lit area for your garden, display sun-loving plants. If your plant wall is indoor or has plenty of shade, add shade-tolerant plants.
- Climbing walls aren’t a need without plant walls. They can give your wall a messy look. Refrain from planting spreading vines like English Ivy, Wisteria and blueberry bushes.
If you’re looking for beginner-friendly plant wall plants, we’ve compiled a list. Try some of these plants to add variety, texture and edge to your vertical garden:
- Plantain lilies
- Japanese spurge
- Bird’s nest fern
- Baby’s tears
- Purple petticoats
When it comes to the plants you add to your wall, you’re not limited to using ornamental plants only. A vertical vegetable garden with peppers or tomatoes or herb garden with other edible plants will work just as well.
Plant Wall Maintenance
If your plant wall comes with a self-watering system, your living wall won’t need much maintenance. On the other hand, if you have a tray system where the plants can stay in their nursery pots, occasionally take the plants out and clean the wall.
Bugs can still feed on your plants, so make sure your wall stays clean. All you have to do is wipe them with water and regular soap to prevent any issues. Manage unruly foliage by periodically pruning or trimming them.
If you plan on manually watering your vertical gardens, avoid overwatering and stick to plants that need the same amount of light.
Apart from regularly watering your plants, another important maintenance aspect is regularly checking on your plants for signs of pests or sickness. If your plants seem to be sick or are riddled with pests, remove them from the wall immediately. This avoids disease or pests from spreading to other plants. General pruning and cleaning also keep your plants vibrant and healthy.
Plant walls are beautiful additions to any home. Whether you choose an IKEA plant wall or build your own, they will always add aesthetic value to your exterior or interior. The most exciting part about them is they always look better over time and always evolve.