Building a living wall for your home

The living wall, or green wall, is trending in homes and commercial buildings alike. Besides the sheer biophilic joy of resting your eyes on green growing textures in your living room, a living wall can bring concrete benefits for the homeowner. These include better indoor air quality and insulation from sound, heat and cold. 

Living walls consist of panels filled with plants—grasses, succulents, ferns, vines or mosses, to name a few. The frames may be fashioned from wood, steel, recycled plastic or other materials, depending on your design preference and budget. Some panels are flat, with plants embedded in foam, while others consist of trays that are large enough to contain soil-filled planters.

Photo courtesy of Planted Design.

You also can build on an external wall of your home. As with regular gardens, outdoor green walls can attract bees and butterflies, which improves the local ecosystem. They also help mitigate the temperature fluctuations that lead to building expansion and contraction.

Options to consider when building a green wall:

  • Location of the wall. Building indoors? You might want to position the living wall where it will receive natural light. If the plants are not in an area where they can receive direct light, you will need to create a wall with light fixtures to allow for photosynthesis.
  • Level of maintenance. Some living walls have a built-in watering system to minimize maintenance for the homeowner. Choosing plants that need only infrequent watering also cuts down on this chore. Using non-soil substances, such as clay granules, can deter bugs.
  • Type of plants. You may choose to go with particular species for aesthetic reasons, but also take into account plants that work well for your light levels and climate. If you like, you can even fill your wall with a vertical vegetable or herb garden.

Consulting a professional living wall designer/provider always is an option, or you could do it yourself. To try the look on a smaller scale, upcycle old pallets or picture frames to create fun living art.

Learn more about adding plants to your home