February 15th is the second official #GreenWallDay, when living wall specialists from around the world will share inspiring images and information about the living wall revolution, the benefits, the installations, the plants – follow the Pritchard and Pritchard team on #GreenWallDay to see a window into this global, growing industry.
Why February 15th you may ask? This date marks the 131st birthday of Stanley Hart White, the landscape architect who really can own the title ‘pioneer’ of living walls in the 20th century. His ‘botanical bricks’ which enabled integration of plants into vertical structure to create green walls were the first real solutions to supporting ‘green’ within the built environment.
Living Walls in 2022
The living wall narrative has changed a lot since then. Back in the early 2000’s vertical gardens started to be specified in largely high-end residential schemes, they were an aspirational aesthetic which really worked well in small urban gardens and courtyards and definitely qualified high on the ‘would like to have’ list. Back then it was all about the ‘look’ the ‘wow factor’ – but two decades on research into the horticultural benefits of living walls and their genuine benefits for supporting sustainable cities have seen these wonderful vertical gardens graduate to a ‘really should have’ along-with other benchmark urban greening solutions such as green roofs.
Green Walls have scaled up – there are some staggering big scale living wall examples across the globe – bringing valuable biodiversity to otherwise horticulturally barren hard city infrastructure. Delivered by providers such as ANS Global, Biotecture, Terapia Urbana, Mobilane and Scotscape.
Yesterday the industry woke up to the news that leading Green Wall provider Biotecture had joined forces with Mitie Landscapes part of the UK wide facilities provider Mitie.
Firstly we offer our congratulations to Biotecture and Mitie on this news, it is reflective of the momentum behind the green agenda, infrastructure and delivery is key to really roll out green solutions across the UK so that we can all benefit from the positive power of nature injected into the heart of the urban landscape.
The enforced recognition of green walls and green roofs and their benefits in the recent Urban Greening Factor guidance for Planners in London and Biodiversity Net Gain targets for developers further ignites the charge towards specifying green as standard.
The retro-fitting of plants onto existing building stock remains extremely viable with a recent study released by Plymouth University demonstrating the sizable insulation qualities of living walls and in turn the energy saving capabilities of well designed and installed systems.
The research will continue, the scale of green walls will magnify, we are certainly thankful to be part of this innovative energetic industry – thank you Stanley Hart White for your idea, if only you could see how it took hold.