Wonder Walls – Vertical Gardens are taking interior design and architecture by storm
Blurring the boundary between indoor and outdoor living spaces, vertical gardens are taking the worlds of interior design and architecture by storm – words Genevieve Fisher
The brainchild of French botanist Patrick Blanc, who transformed the faces of many downtown Parisian buildings with his green wonder walls, vertical gardens are now making their way into homes, hotels and spas around the world.
From exterior feature walls in bustling city centres (including those of the BHV Hommes department store in Paris) and art installations (such as the 24m-high garden at the CaixaForum Museum in Madrid to the interior walls of the Siam Paragon Shopping Centre in Bangkok, vertical gardens are becoming increasingly sophisticated.
The trend towards compact urban homes means having a sprawling garden is often a luxury. Consequently, homeowners are getting creative with small spaces and thinking laterally – or vertically, rather – when it comes to designing their living spaces, which include outdoor elements. Brendon Edwards of Brendon Edwards Landscapes in Kwa-Zulu-Natal says this is why vertical gardens have become so popular.
‘The dynamic quality inherent to vertical gardens is that you can create 120m² of garden in a 20m² space’ says Brendon. ‘Aesthetically, they provide a very powerful image because you experience the whole garden immediately, whereas a conventional garden is experienced through a horizontal vista and needs to be traversed in order to experience it. Vertical gardens offer a completely different experience of time and space.’
But what of maintenance?
Edwards explains that the plants generally employed are low-maintenance and don’t require soil. ‘A frame is built on the wall over which a waterproof membrane is fixed. Over this is an inert matrix that acts as the soil into which the chosen plants are bedded and through which a micro drip-irrigation system is woven. This never has to be cleaned. The irrigation cloth is actually a micro-ecosystem that recycles through a biological process. Water and plant food are pumped through the system and filtered down to a gutter, from where the water is recycled.’
But the best benefit of a vertical garden is the positive impact on your interior environment. According to Stefanie Pietersen of Grow, a Johannesburg-based indoor vertical garden company, these gardens are the best way to recycle air in an interior space, not to mention that plants absorb noise pollution and, therefore, vertical garden walls act as sound buffers.
We all know the calming effect a lush garden has. Bringing a bit of that into our homes and everyday lives almost seems like a no-brainer, but bear in mind that when you do, your walls will come alive!
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:
Brendon Edwards Landscapes
Mobile: +27 (0)74 103 9886
E-mail: [email protected]
Tel: +27 (0)11 262 4116