Beautiful, lush, green: Vertical gardens are undoubtedly an eye-catching, unique way to bring color and life to your space. But have you ever wondered how living walls actually stay alive?
Everyone knows that plants need water to survive — without it, your green wall would quickly become a brown one. That’s why, behind the captivating facade of plants, you’ll find an irrigation system working hard to keep your living wall hydrated and healthy. Green walls contain little (if any) soil, making irrigation an essential part of its upkeep. The small amount of soil means your wall can’t hold a lot of water, so irrigation is necessary.
Generally speaking, there are two main types of green wall irrigation systems: recirculating irrigation and direct irrigation.
Recirculating Irrigation Systems
As the name implies, a recirculating system recirculates water through the living wall. Typically, the water source is a manually-filled irrigation tank located underneath the wall. Through a pump, water is delivered to the top of the vertical garden, and with gravity’s help, trickles down to the plants throughout the wall. Any excess water drains to the bottom and reenters the tank to be recirculated once again. This type of green wall irrigation system is typically used for smaller living walls.
Direct Irrigation Systems
Direct irrigation systems are slightly more complex. Unlike a recirculating system, there is no water tank or pump in direct irrigation. Instead, the water — usually from a city waterline — is channeled to the living wall via water pressure. A direct irrigation system can also include a water filter and fertilizer injections. Excess water will also trickle down through the wall, but instead of being recirculated, it’s sent down the drain. You’ll typically see this type of irrigation system in larger living walls that require more water. Since its connected to the waterline instead of a tank, this system allows for an ongoing, uninterrupted supply of hydration.
There is a third form known as manual irrigation, which involves — you guessed it — watering the living wall by hand. This can be done using a water machine, a watering can or simply a hose and is ideal for living walls on a smaller scale.
Ultimately, the amount of water necessary to keep your living wall alive depends on the requirements of the type and number of plants used. Like most structures, irrigation systems require periodic inspections to make sure everything is working correctly and efficiently.
If you have questions or concerns about the irrigation system used in your living wall, our expertsat TrueVert® are standing by to help.