We’ve seen a major shift in inquiries for green roofs projects to opportunities for living walls. Thankfully we’ve been trialing and demonstrating living walls here at the office for the past four years. The lessons, tricks and idiosyncrasies we have learned are invaluable and have allowed us to not experiment at a client’s location. As such, I am not willing to install a new system that we have not sufficiently worked with to understand all of the possible challenges associated with that particular system. I’m of the opinion that nearly anyone can install a beautiful green wall, only a select few of us can keep it looking that way for years.
At this point, we have seven different systems that are outside and eight systems inside, a few of which have been here since 2008. Some are doing really well, some are suffering due to a mistake we’ve made and some aren’t doing well at all. I am glad we have the ability to say that despite what a manufacturer claims, we like their product from our experience and will recommend them to our clients. Each one has its own merits, some more than others and we see a new system coming out about once a month. I just met with a company from Chile that has a system that is hydroponic with a sustainable moss substrate. Interesting!
As I am writing this, I just received a call from a gentleman that had a fairly large green wall installed on his home four years ago. Talk about a new and innovative idea back in 2008, we had barely begun our experience! The wall is not doing well and he has asked us to fix it. I am hoping that it’s not a complete re-do as this is costly and could take months to re-grow.
If you are considering getting a living wall, take the time to find a company that has the experience and ability to design it, install it and maintain it. Otherwise, you may be looking at an expensive headache!