A green wall is comprised of plants grown in supported vertical systems that are generally attached to an internal or external wall, although in some cases can be freestanding. They generally incorporate vegetation, growing medium, irrigation and drainage into a single system. Green walls differ from green facades in that they incorporate multiple ‘containerised’ plantings to create the vegetation cover rather than being reliant on fewer numbers of plants that climb and spread to provide cover. They are also known as ‘living walls’, ‘bio-walls’ or ‘vertical gardens.’ (as described in the "Growing Green Guide")
What is a Green facade?:
A green facade is created by growing climbing plants up and across the facade of a building,
either from plants grown in garden beds at its base, or by container planting installed at different levels across the building. (as described in the "Growing Green Guide")
Reasons why we should be trying to implement green walls or green facades on all our buildings.
Reduced green space due to increased demand for inner city residential developments.
More desirable views in built up areas.
Major environmental benefits i.e. create cooler microclimates, improve local air quality by reducing air pollution, and provide the possibility of growing plants in locations that would not normally support vegetation.
Council support – Brisbane City Council has just released a guidebook - New World City Design Guide – Buildings that Breathe – Brisbane Australia’s new world city.
Research has found that views to, or time in nature, can have positive influences on health outcomes.
Considerations when deciding to undertake a green wall or green facade :
Both systems have numerous advantages in terms of providing visual statements, softening the built form and the obvious environmental and health benefits. But like anything there are things that need to be considered before deciding which system will be best for the project, as you don’t want to end up with your building looking like this image on the right.
Maintenance and the cost. This should be discussed with clients at the very start of a project. Unlike green facades that can have little to no maintenance, green walls require on going maintenance for the life of the building which in turn means ongoing costs to either the client or body corporate. If a green wall is installed and then everyone decides it’s too expensive to maintain you end up with the whole thing failing and can become a major eyesore.
Access for maintenance.
Growing in ground or in planters - Types of plants to use as some can be hardier and more vigorous than others.
Irrigation - without this you may as well not proceed with either green walls or green facades.
Soil requirements – All plants in green facades require adequate soil depth to survive.
Nathan Clausen10th Dec 2017
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