Vertical gardens are a fantastic way to create green space in smaller gardens, and to enhance areas of larger outdoor spaces. They’re a feat of engineering and can be built to cover almost any vertical surface including building facades and large interior walls right through to miniature in the home.
Vertical gardens are often used as a way to create an area of interest in an otherwise standard setting. Bringing lush greenery into space is a guaranteed way to create more connection with nature and a ‘feel-good’ atmosphere, especially in urban settings where vertical gardens often replace a view of a steel and concrete facade with one of the plants.
In residential settings, there are almost unlimited options for the style and extent of green walls. One use, in particular, is to create herb walls or ‘carpets’, an easy way to create a stunning, edible feature in the home.
Herbs often grow easily in vertical gardens and due to the variety available, if the wall is designed well, the end result can be an ornate tapestry of colour, scent, and texture. If it’s not an edible garden that piques your interest, there are various options that also create stunning vertical gardens.
Plant choice is crucial to the success of any vertical garden, and the first thing to consider will be the size of the plant varieties chosen. Anything too large won’t work on a living wall. In contrast, small succulents are often a good choice as they thrive in this sort of environment and require little maintenance.
In particular, many native plants have adapted to life over millennia to grow in small pockets of soil on cliff faces with limited nutritional requirements to thrive. It’s these types of plants that often flourish in vertical gardens, and these too that offer minimal maintenance.
Ground covers can also create visually effective vertical gardens, especially plants like Lobelia angulata, which is fast growing and easy to establish and is covered in white flowers from spring through to autumn and red berries in winter.
Fuchsia procumbens, or creeping fuchsia, is another good option for living walls because of its small round green leaves and ability to grow and spread easily.
Using plants with different colours and textures is the best way to create a sophisticated tapestry aesthetic. Mixing plants like creeping fuchsia with its small rounded leaves with coprosma repens, a hardy shrub with dark green oblong leaves and orange berries creates a nice juxtaposition.
Another great plant for textural juxtaposition is Euphorbia glauca due to its erect reddish stems and alternate blue-green leaves.
Depending on the type of vertical garden you choose – there are countless systems now available – various plants, edible and not, will thrive. Vertical garden systems range in complexity from a simple hanging garden system of planting ‘pockets’ that are filled with fertiliser through to specially engineered modular systems with built-in irrigation.
When considering what would work best in your space, it’s best to get expert advice. Your local Zones consultant will be able to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each type of system and carefully plan and manage the planting and overall scheme to ensure its year-round success.
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