Green walls are aesthetically pleasing - but impossible to maintain? Not so, says the team at Enterprise Plants, which here details five common misconceptions
13 October 2016 | Enterprise Plants
There is no doubt about the aesthetic benefits of green walls. They can be appreciated by all those who come into contact with them and the benefits of maintaining such a link to nature are well documented.
As well as encouraging biodiversity - important in an increasingly urbanised world (see Facilitate, p. 58), external green walls also help to reduce pollution in the outside air. Evidence suggests that an external green wall can reduce noise inside a building by up to 15 decibels.
However, some people have reservations about installing a green wall, not least because of the common misconceptions about their needs and maintenance.
1. Maintenance is an optional extra
The nature of any green wall system means continuing regular maintenance is the key to success. Maintenance technicians will constantly adjust irrigation timings to cater for changes in the weather and time of year. On each visit, the technician will also clean and prune back plants to each customer's taste to ensure that the green wall looks fantastic.
2. Water feeds and drainage are necessary for interior walls
Reservoirs used for this purpose typically run along the entire width of the green wall and are approximately 300mm high x 300mm deep. These hold all of the water needed for the system to function between tri-weekly maintenance visits, when the technician will manually top up the reservoir.
Most of the water inside the reservoir will be used by the plants between each visit, so that fresh water is constantly available for new growth. All that is necessary for interior green walls is a 240V plug socket to power the integrated pump and USB controller unit.
3. Irrigation systems require constant maintenance
Automated irrigation systems are typically fed with fertiliser that breaks down any limescale in the drippers to ensure that they are kept clean and continue to supply an even flow of water across the entire face of the wall.
4. Interior green walls can survive without supplementary lighting
Although an area may be suitably lit for general day-to-day duties, light levels are rarely sufficient for the planting to thrive. For this reason, it's worth considering supplementary LED lighting.
5. A green wall is being constantly irrigated during the day
Initially the irrigation system will be set to come on for 15 minutes a day. After a couple of weeks, the technician will have balanced the system and should then be able to reduce the system's running time to an average of 10 minutes a day, while setting the pump to run out of office hours.