Vertical gardens are a great way for anyone with homes that lack sufficient land but still want to green up their homes. Of course, vertical gardens are not limited to spatially challenged homes. The perfect vertical garden livens up any wall or vertical structure, and takes a different approach as compared to adorning walls with wallpaper or photo frames.
The advantage of having a green wall or vertical garden is abundant. Vertical gardens can act as green lungs to a home, doubling as filters and also providing clean air to the home. Secondly, vertical gardens help keep homes well insulated and even free from external sound; a.k.a. soundproof, due to the nature of foliage. As long as you have a blank wall or a bare fence that needs beautifying, you can tend edibles, annuals, even perennials with these vertical gardening ideas.
Vertical gardens automatically add another dimension of visual beauty to your lawn. One of the benefits of having a vertical garden is that it saves space, as you no longer need to make as much room on the ground for more plants.
This is especially useful for homes with a small garden space. You can create the illusion of a larger garden by expanding the garden upwards. There is also increased accessibility, which means watering your plants and controlling pesky pests becomes much easier to accomplish.
Vertical gardening can help create “garden rooms.” Hidden alcoves can be created with stand-alone pieces separating one corner of the outdoors from another. It is also a clever way to cover up less attractive parts of your backyard, or even dress up a bare wall, adding colour and life.
Choosing the Perfect Design
There are two main types of vertical gardens. One type is against a pre-existing wall and another is itself a standalone wall, which can be positioned anywhere in your yard. You can create walls out of recycled household items, such as ladders, bookshelves and dressers. The most important thing to remember is to provide good quality soil for the plants and a vessel that allows for constant water drainage.
For the standalone wall, the common option is to go for a trellis made from wood, bamboo or metal. A trellis is a structure made of open framework, which can be bought as a pre-assembled frame or built from scratch. A white trellis provides a pleasing contrast to green surroundings.
An additional idea is affixing netted wiring to a wooden frame. If you want to build your vertical garden against the wall of your house, make sure to place a plastic sheet on the wall, to protect it from the roots of the plants and to prevent humidity from seeping into the wall.
Another way to organise plants on a wall is in pockets, aligned in rows. Recycled pouches are long-lasting and come in sets. Metal grommets are used to screw them into the wall. A shoe organiser is another clever way to hold potted plants in a box-like shape. For those who enjoy knitting, a crocheted pocket is a clever idea if you have leftover yarn.
Make the most of your garden fence by mounting pots onto it, making them stick to the walls with a few hanging hooks. Choose pots of varying colours for more visual impact.
An added creative way to design vertical gardens is by using recycled household items, or buying similar items at flea markets. An old dresser can add vintage class to your garden; make sure to stagger the drawers to give a terraced effect. You can even use glass jars, soda bottles, a ladder, bookshelves and even rain gutter piping. Simply paint the gutter in a fresh colour and use chains to hang these up. Then, fill with soil and add your choice of greenery.
Stacked vertical gardens are another innovative method of design. Using old cedar boxes, crates or even the drawers from an old piece of furniture, fill them with soil and arrange them in straight rows or in patterns against the wall. For a different style, try cement blocks stacked on top of each other. It’s an engaging way to feature dessert plants such as cactuses.
Another garden design style – the hanging planter – consists of five hanging planks of wood with holes for potted plants to sit in. The planks are arranged in rows and are held together by rope.
When building standalone walls, shade for the plants is needed to shield from direct sunlight. Fragile plants such as trellises should be anchored to the fences or the walls to protect them from wind and rain. Proper reinforcement with adequate material needs to be considered in order to hold the plant in place and to prevent it from detaching from the fence and wall.
Lastly, much thought should be placed onto the type of plants you would like to showcase. The following are examples of plants that are well suited for vertical gardens:-
Geraniums, Begonia, Hoya
The bright colours add life to your garden. The flowers tend to be longer-lasting.
Plants that trail will always look better hanging vertically.
They require little soil to grow in, making them very practical for vertical gardens.
Baby’s Tears (Soleirolia soleirolii)
These plants make adorable lush coverage for a vertical garden wall.
Lastly, choosing the perfect location of your vertical garden is also very important. Consider the kind of plants you want, and whether they require a lot of direct sunlight. Otherwise, consider planting hardier ones.
(Written by: Rekha Shankar, 12th May 2016)