GREEN WALLS AND VERTICAL GARDENS
Green walls and Vertical Gardens have risen in popularity over the past decade and are now becoming a more practical element in an office design. Perhaps this is because growing plants vertically, either on the walls or in frames, brings not only an added aesthetic value to an office, but can be used as a partition in these times of social distancing. They take up less valuable floor space than office plants, yet vertical gardens and green walls have a much larger impression on anyone who sees them.
In more recent times, however, we have come to understand how important plants and nature are to the office dweller. Office plants, and in particular Vertical Gardens and Green Walls with their lush ‘jungle like’ design, are also improving productivity and the general health of the workers. Here’s how to make sure this can work for you!
Designers and architects are now offering their clients green walls and vertical garden designs and boasting these important benefits:
- Productivity: Numerous studies have linked the presence of lush greenery in office surroundings to physical and mental wellbeing. This in turn creates a more energised workday and therefore, higher productivity.
- Aesthetic Improvement: It creates visual interest and helps in showcasing innovative attractive structural elements and the organisation’s affiliation with being ‘green’.
- Energy cost reduction: Installing a green wall acts as a natural air conditioner, thereby saving precious energy used by normal air conditioners.
- Improves indoor air quality: The green walls help filtering numerous contaminants that are traditionally flushed out through ventilation systems. The filtration is done by plants through bio-filtration. Here, volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) such as fuel hydrocarbons are passed through a soil bed where they absorb in the soil surfaces and are broken down by microorganisms in the soil.
- Noise pollution barriers: Green walls and vertical gardens act as a natural sound barrier for an office as they are known to dampen the noise by absorbing sound. This is particularly important in offices where floors have polished concrete or vinyl planks installed, rather than carpet.
In an office situation, the construction and maintenance of a green wall involves a multi-disciplinary approach. It involves botany, architecture and structural engineering fields to come together to create the best options for achieving the above results; Lush, healthy, long lasting green walls which have a positive effect on all who encounter them.
Vertical Gardens are less structural, but still require installation by professionals. While not as dense, they offer an alternative, more open screen within an office and serve this purpose well. With less plants included, they are generally a less expensive option.
Since the wall is a living breathing element, it needs to be taken care of with precision. Lighting is extremely important and is the number one challenge for green walls. Another priority element is the set up and checking of the irrigation system to ensure there is no under watering or over watering of the plants.
Plants should be clipped, cleaned and replaced when necessary. These procedures and processes are much easier to be carried out by a professional organisation, which deals with green walls on a day-to-day basis. The periodic maintenance is time consuming and usually requires specialist plant technicians for a substantially sized green wall. There are some DIY Green Walls that work well, though over the years there have been some products on the market which have proven too difficult for many people to keep the plants healthy. Do your research as there are now some very good systems out there, including the Verti-gan system supplied by Green Design and backed up by the company for support if needed.
In a changing urban landscape, where open areas are vanishing, and are being replaced by a concrete jungle, all is not lost with green walls and vertical gardens being installed in many urban offices and which are achievable in almost any space we have set our sights on.