Living walls, sometimes known as vertical walls are gardens that grow vertically, as opposed to hedges or shrubs that are grown horizontally. Green accent walls can be indoors or outdoors; they provide a focal point that breathes life into an otherwise barren space and at the very least serves as a great conversation piece. Plants are secured in pre-planted panels and are kept in place because their root system is secured in a planter, a structure filled with enough soil to keep everything in place.
Green accent walls are more than an enhancement to a building or a façade, they are more than visual art work, living walls play an important role in improving air quality by helping to eliminate airborne contaminants, the free radicals that are an ever-present threat to the environment and one’s health. Green walls naturally remove toxins from the air, absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen, thereby balancing the ecosystem. Living walls play a vital role in helping to reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases as well as adding character and charm to buildings, whether commercial or residential.
What an aesthetically pleasing backdrop where once a picture frame existed, a naturally beautiful, vibrant, living vertical garden can easily transform any room into a relaxed, pleasant environment leaving a favorable impact on your overall wellbeing. A very basic geometric design can have many levels of textures and colors; mix like plants together with contrasting foliage, creating an elegant garden. Combining certain plants together can be very beneficial, and helps control and even repel harmful pests. Geraniums mixed with roses will aid in keeping certain pests at bay, marigolds are a wonderful companion plant, and a certain variety of marigold produces a natural chemical that helps control eelworms. Beautiful petunias are similar to geraniums which help manage Japanese beetles and aphids. Sunflowers are compatible with corn and tomatoes and have been used in companion gardening by native cultures in a time-honored tradition to control pests. Living walls come alive with the rich vibrant colors of seasonal flowers, a collage of contrasted blooms will dress up any interior wall with the natural beauty of the outdoors.
Green accent walls make a dramatic statement and are especially nice as vertical vegetable and herb gardens. There are many vegetables that will grow upwards quite well, such as squash, peas, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers and beans, and so much more. Combining beans with certain vegetables such as beets, radishes, cucumbers, and spinach will help fight California beetles; dill or rosemary mixed with broccoli and cabbage helps keep cabbage flies away; leeks and carrots work well together, the combination keeps aphids away; radishes and pumpkin squash work well together, and grouping basil, tomatoes, peppers, and asparagus detracts mosquitoes and flies. Sometimes it is a matter of experimentation and practice, as well as getting to know your garden, the environment and soil. There are many different combinations of vegetables, plants and herbs that when grouped and grown together, each will benefit, producing a healthy harvest. Your creativity will be limited only by your imagination as urban gardening takes on a different meaning as a living, green, accent wall.