As more and more people and businesses move to urban areas, the lack of greenery, plants and a view of the great outdoors can be downright depressing. The desire to bring green back to urban areas is one of the reasons for an uptick in the implementation of “living walls” or vertical gardens. While these walls are a good option for many businesses or even homes, they are not a good choice for everyone.

Before you make the BIG decision to add a living wall, consider these pros and cons.

Benefits of Living Walls

  • Artistic – Is there any better form of art than that created by Mother Nature herself? Living walls have a style that fits in with any décor.
  • One-of-a-Kind – No one wants to have a home or business decorating scheme that is just like everyone else. When you choose a living wall, you’ll always make a statement and stand out from the crowd.
  • Conversation Starter – Whether you have customers come to your office, want to put applicants at ease or you host parties regularly, you’ll appreciate how a living wall gets the conversation started.
  • Saves Space – Growing in containers is nice, but think about the space these pots and barrels take. Growing on the vertical plane saves space.
  • Adds Life – It is easy for an interior to feel stuffy or barren. A living wall adds life and even warmth to your space.

The Cons or Disadvantages of Living Walls

While there are benefits to this style of décor, there ARE disadvantages. Understanding what you may expect ahead of time will prevent you from making a mistake.

  • Root Balls – Because of gravity, the “root balls” that begin the growth can become compacted and need extra attention, more frequent root pruning or replacement.
  • Watering Difficulty – While drip irrigation is an excellent method of keeping your walls moist, it can sometimes be difficult to keep the uppermost plants well hydrated without over-saturating everything else.
  • Growth Towards Windows – Indoor plants will naturally grow towards the light source. This can make it hard to control growth and keep things looking neat.
  • Wall or Floor Damage – Water damage is fairly common. It is possible for mold to form. Also, water drips and soil spills are almost unavoidable. Wall damage, carpet, and floor damage often result from water drips.
  • Pet Problems – Cats are very likely to climb the walls and wreak havoc. Cats or dogs may be tempted to climb, eat the greenery, so using non-poisonous plants is vital.  Dogs have been known to urinate on  green walls positioned near the floor.
As you can see, there are many benefits to living walls—as well as a few drawbacks too.

One way to “accentuate the positives while eliminating the negatives” is to plant the wall outside. When the wall is outside, there is less chance of irreparable damage. Since living walls look just as good outside as they do indoors, it makes sense to go with this option. You’ll have less stress and more enjoyment. What could be better than that?

Sources:

http://www.ambius.com/green-walls/benefits/index.html

http://www.southernliving.com/garden/container/how-to-plant-a-living-vertical-wall-garden

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