Guest Blog 8 tips for planning a successful Green Wall from our industry colleagues MMA Architectural
Green walls are ever popular in urban locations as they introduce greenery and nature to otherwise concrete heavy environments. Green walls not only look fantastic, but also provide a multitude of benefits including deterring graffiti and protecting building façades, creating habitats and cleaning the air by releasing oxygen and trapping dust and pollutants. We design, supply and install complete stainless steel trellis green wall systems. Working alongside our partner Pritchard & Pritchard, we also supply plants, irrigation systems and maintenance packages.
When planning green wall systems it is crucial that thorough research and planning is carried out to ensure the installed system has been designed to thrive. Drawing on our own expertise on trellis systems and Pritchard & Pritchard’s in depth knowledge and experience installing, planting and maintaining green walls, we have 8 top tips to consider when designing a stainless steel trellis green wall to ensure that it will flourish!
Green Wall installation tips start here
It is crucial to survey the area in which the green wall will be located to identify any additional requirements it may have in order to thrive. Light and shade, wind, temperature and rainfall should be assessed to evaluate if the plants will have enough light and water to grow, or whether regular watering or an irrigation system is required. The ground beneath the green wall should also be surveyed to see if it is suitable for the plants to be planted straight into the ground or if planters will be required.
Research which type of green wall system is most suitable for the application. It is important that the system selected is going to meet the needs of the project. For example, a modular system may be the best option for a project where instant greening is required, whereas a stainless steel trellis based system may be more suitable when cost and environmental factors are more important as trellis based systems are typically more cost effective, require less maintenance and are fully recyclable at the end of their working life. Another application factor that needs to be decided is what the green wall will be fixed to. Jakob’s trellis systems can be fixed to building façades, or fabricated freestanding structures.
3. Fixing Information
It is crucial that thorough research is carried out to ensure that the supporting wall or structure is capable of bearing the weight of the green wall once it is fully planted. In some instances, engineering calculations may be necessary to determine the safety of the green wall’s design. Once this research has been carried out, it will mean that the most suitable products can be selected for fixing the green wall to the façade or structure securely.
4. Plant Types
The plant types selected for green walls is very important, as the plant type must be compatible with the system’s structure and location. Pritchard & Pritchard have a wealth of plant knowledge to draw on when recommending which plants to pair with green walls, taking into consideration the location and application. Pritchard & Pritchard recommend climbing plants for use with our Jakob trellis green walls, including ivy, evergreen jasmine (trachelospermum jasminoides, also known as star jasmine), clematis, wisteria and climbing roses. These plant types work very well as they naturally climb the green wall trellis structure, are hardy, are good for removing dust and pollutants from the air and create façade greening rapidly.
In addition to the regular maintenance of green walls, it is essential when planning a green wall system that the water requirements are going to be met. The watering needs of the system will depend on the plant type and location, the evaluation of these factors will determine whether the green wall will flourish with rainfall, manual watering at planter level, or whether an additional irrigation system is going to be required. Pritchard & Pritchard supply and install irrigation systems, and recommend that all modular green wall systems have an integrated irrigation system to ensure the plants get the required amount of water to flourish and thrive. Depending on the scale of the modular system, an irrigation tank may also be required to ensure there is always an adequate supply of water. Where the plants for our Jakob stainless steel trellis green wall systems are planted directly into the ground or into a planter for the plants to then climb up the trellis, often manual watering at ground level is enough for the plants to grow and thrive. In some instances, for example if the green wall trellis is particularly large or if there is multi-level planting, then an irrigation system may be necessary. Once irrigation systems have been installed, Pritchard & Pritchard recommend that they are regularly maintained to ensure they are operating correctly. Pritchard & Pritchard supply and install different types of irrigation systems and all of their green wall maintenance packages include irrigation maintenance.
7. Life Span
When planning the installation of a green wall, it is good to know how long the system will be expected to last, both in terms of foliage growth and the life span of the green wall structure. Careful plant selection and maintenance should ensure the plants stay healthy. Jakob trellis green wall systems are manufactured from 316 ‘marine grade’ stainless steel, offering better corrosion resistance than other grades of stainless steel. Featuring robust and durable qualities Jakob trellis systems are weather resistant, long lasting and the trellis itself requires little maintenance.
Once a green wall has been installed and the plants are established, it is vital that it is maintained to keep the plants healthy. Pritchard & Pritchard offer complete maintenance packages for green walls, keeping them looking great year round. Director for operations James Pritchard says that the key elements of green wall maintenance include inspecting for pests and diseases, selectively pruning larger foliage to allow light to reach all plants and monitoring moisture levels. Pritchard & Pritchard believe green wall maintenance is no different from maintaining plants in a garden, as all plants need care and attention to ensure optimum results. They also recommend modular green wall systems are inspected and maintained on a regular basis, recommending 1-2 times per month. Jakob’s trellis based systems are much less complex than modular greening systems and therefore can thrive with less regular maintenance than modular systems. Pritchard & Pritchard’s maintenance packages cover plants, irrigation systems and if required they are also able to assist with the structural maintenance of green wall systems.
If you have an upcoming project featuring a green wall and would like any further information or a free quotation, please get in touch with us and we’d be happy to help!
Many thanks to MMA Architectural for sharing your blog piece with us. Collaboration in the urban greening space is essential for professional green wall installations across the UK and beyond. It is a pleasure to work with you.