Evergreen Walls examines the various attributes of living green walls and artificial green walls including their various benefits and shortcomings.

Living green walls: The benefits

Stanley Hart White, a Professor of Landscape Architecture, who patented the first green wall system in 1938, aptly nicknamed his creation ‘Botanical Bricks’. Though popular over the decades as an environmental solution for urban settings, living green walls began to trend in late 2007, mostly as an aesthetic addition to the living space.

Living garden walls have been used over the years by architects, builders, property developers and landscape contractors in diverse environments. Many homeowners utilise living walls for landscaping their homes, also benefitting environmentally from reduced pollution as well as their ability to provide natural cooling to the building.

Living green walls are also very popular in commercial environments, and have been used in hospitals, airports, restaurants, hotels and libraries. In addition to easing the issues of sick building syndrome, living green walls also have a calming influence on the mind.

Living green walls: The downside

Though living green walls have several benefits, there are shortcomings too in terms of the cost, time and effort required to maintain them. Maintaining a living green wall is not only expensive but also labour-intensive as plants must be replaced, watered, and looked after constantly. Developing a living green wall takes time; additionally, cleaning it involves a lot of hard work. Living walls need dirt or other messy products for the living plants to survive. Living green walls are also a source of allergens, making then unsuitable for certain environments.

Artificial green walls: The benefits

Artificial green walls are for those who would prefer to enjoy the aesthetics of a green wall without the cost or effort involved in growing or maintaining them. Artificial garden and green walls offer the visual appeal of living green walls, but at a much lesser cost.

Artificial garden walls deliver several benefits in various environments without worries about cost or maintenance effort. Much more cost-effective than living green walls and neater, artificial green walls can be used in all the same areas as living walls. In terms of maintenance of an artificial green wall, only an occasional dusting is required. Artificial garden walls also offer the freedom to experiment with plant types and colours with no waiting period for plants to flower, or a need to replace dying plants. They can be designed into pieces of art, just like living walls, and offer the same serenity and peace of mind.

Artificial green walls: The downside

Despite their multiple benefits, artificial green walls have a few shortcomings. Though artificial garden walls offer all the aesthetic advantages, they cannot offer the same environmental benefits as living green walls. For instance, they don’t help with easing the issues of sick building syndrome or produce good quality air as living green walls do.

However, the benefits of artificial green and garden walls outweigh that of living walls. Combined with an air purification system, an artificial green wall can help deliver all the benefits of a living green wall without the accompanying hassles.