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What are living walls?

Living walls, otherwise known as green walls, are a brilliant way to bring life to a small garden space, or create a gorgeous natural feature indoors. In this guide we answer the question: what are living walls? As well as looking at why you might want to install a green wall in your home.

Living walls, otherwise known as green walls, are a brilliant way to bring life to a small garden space or create a gorgeous natural feature indoors. In this guide, we answer the question: what are living walls? As well as looking at why you might want to install a green wall in your home.

No matter how big or small your home and/or garden are, you can create a living wall to fit. Even in shady gardens or rooms with limited natural light, you can find a variety of plants that will be able to survive as part of a green wall. Keep reading to find out more.

What is a green wall?

The simplest definition of a green wall is simply vegetation growing on or against a vertical surface. Green walls often house a variety of plants and greenery that are typically chosen to flourish in the environment where the wall will be located – depending on the amount of direct or indirect natural light and exposure to the elements.

A living wall is generally made up of either a) a series of plant trays or plant pots, either suspended or on shelves, or b) a structure that has soil built into it that plants are bedded into. The latter is less common, basically because it’s more complicated to create and maintain integrated green wall structures compared to ones using pots and trays.

One other key feature of many living walls is that they have built-in irrigation systems to keep the plants happy and healthy. They don’t have to have an irrigation system, but without one a green wall will require regular watering to avoid the soil drying out.

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Living wall benefits

Green wall behind a sofa

Living walls don’t just look pretty, they also come with a number of advantages. Here are our top green wall benefits:

  • Plants and vegetation have been proven to have a positive impact on mental health
  • Living walls can add a wow factor to your home, both indoors and outdoors
  • A green wall can add a layer of insulation, helping reduce your home’s energy loss
  • Green walls deflect water away from walls during heavy rain
  • They keep your home cooler in summer compared to exposed brick or concrete (which absorb heat and release it back out)
  • You can create a habitat for bees and other insect life
  • Living walls improve the surrounding air quality, particularly in urban areas
  • A green wall helps reduce noise pollution

Disadvantages of green walls

We love green walls, but it’s worth noting that there are a few disadvantages to consider before you start planning your living wall project.

  • Green walls need a lot of maintenance to keep them looking their best
  • The initial cost of a living wall can be expensive, depending on the specification of your wall
  • There’s a risk of water damage to your property if the green wall isn’t constructed properly
  • Green walls attract bees and other insects, which some people aren’t a fan of

How much does a living wall cost?

The cost of creating a living wall will depend on the size and complexity of the design, but you can expect to pay around £75 – £112 per m2 for the plants. The average cost of a green wall irrigation system is about £280, and the planter or trough system can range considerably from £200 to over £9,000.

To find out more about prices, read our guide to living wall costs.

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Real living wall vs artificial green wall

Living wall with plants and logs

If you’re planning a green wall project for your home, you might want to consider installing an artificial green wall instead of a living wall with real plants. Both have their pros and cons, so we decided to take a look at real living walls vs artificial green walls.

Why choose a real living wall?

  • Real plants filter the air, improve air quality
  • They help control the temperature of the air
  • A real living wall promotes biodiversity by attracting and promoting wildlife
  • There’s a wider variety of real plants available than artificial plants
  • Over time real living walls grow and often become lusher with bigger, fuller plants

Why choose an artificial green wall?

  • There’s very little maintenance required for an artificial green wall
  • Artificial green walls don’t encourage insects so you’ll be bug-free
  • An artificial green wall can be installed anywhere, even in rooms with no natural light
  • Installing an artificial green wall is quicker and easier than a real living wall (and less messy)
  • The overall cost of an artificial wall tends to be a lot less than a real living wall
  • Ideal for homes with children and/or pets where real plants could be toxic or cause allergies

If you’re ready to create a living wall in your home, check out our guide on how to create a living wall.

Hire a professional green wall expert

Start your green wall project today by reaching out to local gardeners who can help you plan, design and install a living wall or artificial green wall in your home.

As with all home improvement projects, we always recommend obtaining at least three quotes from different gardeners in your area to make sure you’re paying a fair and competitive price for the work. And, thankfully, we’ve got a tool that makes finding multiple quotes super easy.

Our request a quote feature is perfect for getting quotes: you post details about the work you need doing and we’ll send it out to local tradespeople in your area. Try it out – it’s quick and easy!

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