What is a living wall?

living wall westgate hotel san diego

Living Wall – Westgate Hotel, San Diego

Human beings have been growing plants on walls for centuries. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World is a living wall: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Also known as green walls, vertical gardens, plant walls and edible walls, the modern version we know as a living wall today has become a mainstream feature of homes, offices, and public buildings. Living walls keep growing in popularity, limited only by human creativity.

A basic living wall is a plant such as ivy vines growing up the side of a building. A more complex living wall uses an engineered trellis system with plants rooted into a growing medium within the structure, but separate from the building. This system allows for more creative options. The most complex living walls systems include four elements: growing media, structural support, integrated irrigation and a drainage system.

Living walls can exist inside with the right lighting, or outside in almost any climate. They can be planted randomly or display intricate patterns. Living walls can use a recirculating irrigation system, drip irrigation and a drain, or be watered by hand.


What are the benefits of living walls?

  • Natural air filtration through bio-filtration walls
  • Removing of harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Filtering toxic air particulates
  • Regulating temperature extremes by providing insulation
  • Conserving energy costs by reducing the need for heating and cooling
  • Creating biodiversity by providing natural habitat
  • Absorbing and filtering stormwater and greywater
    Providing sound absorption and reducing interior noise pollution
  • Providing privacy and reducing stress in open office environments
  • Increasing workplace productivity and employee job satisfaction
  • Reducing employee turnover, saving overhead costs
  • Speeding healing in hospital settings; patients recover more quickly, and use less pain medication when a living wall is visible
  • Adding humidity to interior air, lowering heating and cooling costs

Highlights our living wall projects in the Los Angeles area.