Living walls are a hot trend this year and whilst you can have them in pretty much any room in the home, your conservatory is the ideal place to create one. For those of you who don’t know what a living wall is, it’s an arrangement of plants growing on a vertical facade, such as a wall and can be inside or outside your home.
Why have a living wall in your home?
There are several advantages to having a living wall inside. The foliage acts as a type of insulation which can reduce your heating and air-conditioning bills, as well as reducing carbon emissions and improving air quality. It also appears to help reduce stress and improve mental health, so these are great reasons to incorporate one into your own home. These advantages can be magnified in a conservatory, and also complement the ‘inside-outside’ nature of this area of your house. There is also the advantage that a conservatory tends to have more natural light, vital for most plants to thrive.
How do you go about creating a living wall?
Living walls can be created using prefabricated wall-hanging frames into which you plant your greenery. Some of these are also freestanding, which is probably the best route to go in a conservatory, as you will otherwise need load bearing studs to fasten the wall to.
It is also possible to make your own living wall. As with the prefabricated wall-hanging frames, if you are going to create your own living wall, you do need to make sure the wall you attach it to is strong enough to support its weight.
Whichever route you decide to go, start by measuring and marking out the area that you intend to use for your living wall. Remember to consider where the load bearing studs are located unless you are using a freestanding option.
Prefabricated living wall frames will come with their own instructions, which should be carefully followed.
If you are creating your own (often using wood, plastic sheeting and a fabric that is plant-friendly) you need to start by building a frame. This should consist of a solid structure that can bear the weight of the soil and water required for the plants. You can use wood or plastic for this. You will also then need to attach plastic sheeting to one side of the frame to prevent water leaking.
A layer of plant friendly fabric can then be attached. This will be the foundation that your plants live and grow from. Felt or landscape material are a good choice due to their water retaining properties and the fact that they allow roots to grow through. You can then add your plants.
You will also need to set up an irrigation system of some sort that can water all the plants on the wall. This could consist of a tube across the top of the wall which then drips water down throughout the fabric. It is worth doing some research for this step.
Another easy way to create your own living wall frame is to use picture frames. Attach chicken wire to the frame, and hold it in place with a second smaller frame. Attach the back to the second frame, fill with soil and plant it up. You can water this by hand rather than using an irrigation system if you’d like to keep things simple.
A good tip for your first living wall is to start small. This way you can easily adjust to solve any issues that come up and test your system out. Particularly in your conservatory, being part of your home, you want to make sure it looks great as well as being easy to maintain and that it complements your living space rather than dominating it.
You can get more garden related tips on our website and blog.