Living walls in Scandinavia, Daniel Bell April 2013. Plants grow all over the world without soil, in nature and commercially. What plants require is somewhere to grip and recieve there individually required amount of water and nutrients.
Juniperus, Hovs Hallar, West Coast The key to succsessful living walls in Scandinavia is plant hardiness. On the ground it is easier for plant survival, the soil helps to pevent root freeze and snow is a great incubator of many species. That said, my studies in Scandinavian native species have helped my research in the successful trials of many interesting species capable of withstanding the harsh Winter environment, combined with extremely hardy species from North America and China I am now capable of creating a good looking diversity of plant life within a city on a vertical facade – something that is of a great benefit to urban life.
Bergenia cordifolia, Djursholm, East Coast
Along side the aesthetic value there are many benefits of adding a diverse plantlife to the facade of a building. The plants absorb harmful gasses from the air, living walls are in fact approximately 30% more effective than trees for the cleansing of our city air (taken form university research thesis). The felt collects polluting particles, which is then broken down into extra food for the plants. Living walls provide a safe place for small birds to nest, the wall also provides plenty of food for bird life, slugs, worms, stink bugs, moths, butterflies... The living wall is efficient in reducing noise pollution. Creating a vertical facade can breath life onto the most ugly of buildings. Living walls helps to insulate the building during the Winter months and cool the building in the summer, reducing the energy the building uses. It is a very effective way of creating awareness to your building, a green landmark.
Athenaeum Hotel 2011 How it works. The first thing is to build the frame work, simple aluminium rails are fixed to the building, then a 15mm thick re-cycled rigid plastic sheet is rivet fixed to the aluminium. This creates an air gap between the living wall and the building ensuring damp is never any issue. Onto the rigid plastic sheet a double layer of recycled clothing is stapled, this is the replacement for soil and the surface which the plants will attach themselves to and recieve there water and nutrients. Inbetween the layers of recycled clothing drip lines are fixed which are controlled by an automatic timing system alongside a nutrient injector system. A gutter at the base collects the water to be re-used as grey water. The wall is now ready for planting. Using this system allows us to use a very wide range of plants in sizes ranging from seedlings to 3 litre container plants. The best time to plant is late Spring and Summer, however many of my succesful experiments were planted late in October. Inside or out. Living walls can be installed in principle anywhere, the only requirement can occasionaly be artificial light for indoor walls.
Heathrow Airport 2010
What plant species can be used? My trials have shown many plant species will tolerate the Winter, growing vertically without soil, to include the following. Hemerocalis Buxus Hydrangea Vaccinium (Cranberry, Lingonberry and Blueberry) Empetrum Juniperus Pinus Euonymous Pachysandra Ophiopogon Weigela Geranium Symphoricarpus Polypodium Heuchera Luzula Microbiota Lavender Lonicera Berberis Chamaecyparis Bergenia Potentilla Liriope Stipa Silene Stephenandra Deutsia Philadelphus Aronia Vinca Buddlea
Many of the above species are subjects that I stopped using many years ago, however due to there hardiness it has been very interesting to use them in a new style, showing them in a very different light. The experiments continue.
Falsterbo villa, October 2012