The Complete Guide to Living Walls

A living wall is part landscaping and part architecture, built to house and maintain a breathtaking arrangement of plants, flowers, and preserved mosses. In our Complete Guide to Living Walls, we’ll reveal everything you need to know about the history, benefits, and maintenance of living walls, along with how to incorporate a unique living wall design into your own commercial or residential property.

Living Walls: A Brief History

Living walls are often thought of as a modern-day trend, but the truth is they’ve been around for much longer. The very first implementation of a living wall structure can be traced back to Stanley Hart White, a Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois. In 1938, White patented a “Vegetation-Bearing Architectonic Structure and System.” While his invention didn’t progress beyond a few prototypes in his backyard, a French botanist named Patrick Blanc, along with architect Adrien Fainsilber and engineer Peter Rice, implemented the first successful indoor living wall in 1986 at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris.

Living Walls Today

Since then, living walls have grown immensely in popularity and can be found all around the world. From South Korea and Singapore to Spain and Australia, living walls are making an international impact. Vertical gardens are also thriving in True Vert’s home state of California, thanks to the plant-friendly climate and the region’s desire to keep up with the latest design and decor trends in the San Diego, Los Angeles, and Southern California area. 

Benefits of Living Walls

There are many reasons why living walls are so popular at home and abroad. Aside from their beauty, living walls can help improve everything from the air quality to productivity in the workplace. Here are a few ways everyone can benefit from living walls:

Living walls are good for the environment. 

In today’s world, protecting the environment is more important than ever, and living walls are the “green” choice when it comes to architecture and decor in more ways than one. For starters, living walls act as natural carbon dioxide filters by absorbing excess CO2 in the air of your home or office. 

Additionally, the plants in your vertical garden can also absorb volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs. These harmful compounds can pollute our air, as they are found in plastics, pesticides, formaldehyde, and more. These chemicals can cause symptoms like headaches, allergies, and nausea. Some studies have even linked to more severe conditions, like cancer and respiratory illnesses, which is why adding a living wall to your indoor space can help protect your health and the environment.

Finally, living walls can reduce energy expenditure by acting as insulators on both interior and exterior walls. They work by preventing heat from entering during the summer and leaving during the winter. This makes it easier for your HVAC system to regulate the temperature year-round. Learn more about how living walls can regulate temperatures here.

Vertical gardens can improve the workplace.

Many businesses are embracing living walls for their remarkable effects on employee productivity, happiness, and stress levels. Here are a few ways living walls can benefit your work environment: 

  • Living walls reduce stress. A study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology found that young adults who worked with plants “felt more comfortable, soothed, and natural” after the task when compared with subjects who performed work on a computer. 
  • Living walls improve productivity. Forbes reported that working in green-certified offices provides a 26% boost in cognition and 30% fewer sickness-related absences. 
  • Living walls boost morale and employee happiness. By beautifying the workplace, employees are more likely to get enjoyment and satisfaction out of their day job. 

Living walls can beautify both residential and commercial properties. 

One of the best things about living walls? They can thrive just about anywhere. Vertical gardens can bring beauty to commercial buildings and shops while making for memorable branding that stands out from the competition. Learn why businesses everywhere are embracing living walls >>

Living walls are equally beneficial for residential properties, too. They can be used to hide an unsightly fence, accent existing decor, or create separation between spaces in your yard. Learn how to beautify your backyard with a living wall >> 

Living walls absorb excess CO2 in the air.

Living walls absorbs volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs.

Living Walls reduce urban / indoor heat.

Living walls improve productivity.

Living walls reduce stress.

Living walls boost morale and employee happiness

Creating & Caring For Living Walls

There’s more to living walls than meets the eye. These living structures require careful planning, design, construction, and maintenance. While there are some DIY versions of living walls on the market, it’s best to hire a professional installer to create, implement, and maintain the design of your dreams. Why? It takes some serious know-how, experience, and care to ensure a happy, healthy living wall. Here are some things to consider if you’re looking to commission a living wall of your own. 

Irrigation Systems 

Living plants require hydration, which is why many living walls are outfitted with irrigation systems. Typically, there are two main types of green wall irrigation systems: recirculating irrigation and direct irrigation. A recirculating system recirculates water through the living wall, while a direct irrigation system channels water from a source through the living wall via water pressure. To find out more about these systems, click here >>

Types of Plants

There are many factors to consider when selecting the right greenery for your living wall. Growing tolerance, site conditions and lighting all play a part in making the perfect plant selection. Preserved moss, for example, does exceptionally well indoors since it doesn’t require sunlight. Succulent walls, on the other hand, tend to thrive in warmer locations with adequate lighting. For more information about living wall plants, read this article >>

Care & Maintenance

Proper care and maintenance can go a long way when it comes to the longevity of your living wall. Live plants require attention—they can wilt, get “sick” and sometimes need to be replaced. The structure of the wall itself also needs to be inspected every once in a while to ensure its structural integrity. Typically, the service provider who installs your wall will over continued care and maintenance services.

A Living Wall of Your Own

Now that you know a bit more about living walls, you might be thinking it’s time to build one of your own! The great thing about living wall designs is that they are fully customizable to suit your needs. From the size and shape to the plants and flowers, vertical gardens are custom-made masterpieces that are as unique and individual as you are. Here are some things to consider before commissioning, renting, or purchasing your living wall design. 

Living Wall Rentals

Did you know that you can rent a living wall? Perfect for corporate events, weddings, red carpets, and more, living wall rentals require no long-term commitments and can quickly be taken down and returned after the event is over. Other reasons to rent a living wall include:

  • Affordability. A permanent living wall is a big investment; a rental can save you time and money.
  • Ease of use. Have a one-off or short-term occasion? Renting is the hassle-free way to go.  
  • You can still customize it. Custom elements, like logos or lighting, can be added to your rental.

How Much do Living Walls Cost?

It’s important to remember that living walls are an investment designed to last for years to come. They also cost money and time to maintain. Here are some factors that contribute to the cost of your living wall

  • Size
  • Frame Type
  • Plants
  • Care & Upkeep 

With that being said, it doesn’t mean your service provider can’t work within your budget! There are several ways to save some money on your living wall if you’re concerned about cost. Reducing the size, choosing hardier plants, and taking care of the maintenance yourself are all ways to make living walls more affordable.

The True Vert Difference

Not all living walls are created equal, which is why finding a trusted service provider is so important. From construction to care, working with a reputable company is the only way to ensure a quality, long-lasting product that you can enjoy now and in the future. 

Who We Are

At True Vert® Vertical Garden Solutions, we pride ourselves on having extensive experience designing, installing, and caring for some of the most beautiful living walls in Southern California. Founded in 2010, True Vert® utilizes an exclusive 5-step design and implementation process created to ensure the highest customer satisfaction. 

Our Process 

Thanks to our team’s technical expertise, our team has a reputation for designing exceptionally beautiful, high-quality living walls. In order to achieve this with each and every client, we follow a Living Wall Design-Build-Install Process that provides a unique blueprint that’s specific to your green wall design project.

Living Wall Design-Build-Install Process - TrueVert, San Diego

Step 1: Consultation

A 30-60 minute discovery process that includes walking the site, asking questions, and getting to know each other. We’ll take note of details like vision, environment, décor style, sun exposure, irrigation, and plant care.

Step 2: Design

We take the details back to the office to develop a design idea that can be as simple as a proposal with a few sample pics or as elaborate as a 3-D scale model complete with renderings.

Step 3: Planning & Production

This is where all the detail comes together. Plants are planted, framing is constructed, and our craftsman put the final touches on any art pieces.

Step 4: Delivery & Installation

Our professional installers bring it all to life. We guarantee satisfaction. We treat your project install as if it was going into our very own homes

Step 5: Service & Support

Customer service is of paramount importance to us. Many of our pieces involve living plants, which is why we take great care to make sure that they have a thriving environment and are well cared for in the future. Healthy plants make happy customers.

Get Started Today

At True Vert, we understand what it takes to design, build, and maintain a beautiful living wall. From the very first steps of the design process to the installation and maintenance services, we’ll be with you every step of the way. If you live in San Diego, Los Angeles or Orange County, contact True Vert today to start designing your own unique living wall.