eden NOW advises homeowners to consider ten important things before planning a vertical garden or greenwall on their property.

1. What is the purpose of the vertical garden? Will it be an aesthetic focal point, or used to produce food, camouflage, insulate or all of these?

2. What’s the climate like in the area - sunny, windy, heavy rainfall?

3. Does the property get sufficient sunlight or does another building cast a shadow over the ‘garden’ wall? This factor can impact plant selection.

4. How many hours of natural sunlight will the proposed greenwall receive each day?

5. Is the existing wall/fence strong enough to carry a mounted greenwall system? A freestanding option is available if it’s not.

6. Does the garden area allow smooth drainage or remove excess ‘run off’ after a heavy downpour?

7. What are the design expectations? Greenwall design choices include free form with leaf movement in a breeze, tight and geometrically patterned, mixed foliage, colourful flowers or veggies and herbs.

8. If a mounted hydroponic system is being used, has the design allowed for the battens, wallboard and many felt layers behind the plants or other ‘extras’ required for successful performance of this type of greenwall system?

9. Where will the reservoir and pump be located for the hydroponic systems?

10. What will be the maintenance cost for the vertical garden system including possible implications on the electricity bill?

Choose the type of greenwall system by first researching soil-based versus hydroponic systems. Decide which vertical garden system suits one’s needs, lifestyle and environment, and then consult a reliable professional or the local nursery for assistance with selecting the right plants.

A vertical garden or greenwall should combine aesthetic appeal with function; the plant selection process must ensure the greenwall will remain lush, green and productive throughout the year. A key consideration for many households is the maintenance aspect – greenwalls and vertical gardens should have minimum maintenance requirement while large scale, commercial installations only need to incur ongoing fees from a professional.

Accessibility is an important factor in vertical gardens and greenwalls to allow plants to be fertilised, replaced or pruned when required. Plant selection should also consider compatibility in terms of size and growth patterns so that there is no struggle for dominance or survival. Ideally, plants should be grouped according to their need for water, nutrition and light exposure. Greenwalls should also be easily relocatable.