Living wall (click to enlarge)

Living wall (click to enlarge)


Update: This living wall is thriving. I built a second design with an aluminum frame and removable potted plants and so far the plants prefer this living wall made with fishing net.

This is a living wall experiment using a small prototype to test the concept. It’s easy to make and very low cost. Living walls can beautify your home, as well as add insulation, habitat for wildlife and reduce noise. In addition, plant covered buildings are very practical because they can save wall materials and finish work, reduce heating and cooling loads, and oxygenate air around the building. Just imagine your house enveloped in fragrant, colorful flowers, wonderfully blended with the natural environment.

Living wall construction details

Living wall construction details


Construction details: We made our living wall out of fine mesh nylon fishing net about 150 cm long (5’). We have seams down the middle to create tubes, which are about 6” or 15 cm in diameter. We’ve filled each tube with potting soil, aged manure and coconut husks, and fastened it to the wall with aluminum channel, screws and plastic masonry anchors. Over the next 6 months it should be covered with plants. You could do this on the outside of your entire house or other large area. For covering large areas, it’s best to make in sections about 2’-3’ high so as not to strain the mesh near the attachment point.

This living wall system was originally conceived for my Green House design.
Living Wall video at my YouTube channel

Note: This post was “Freshly Pressed” (selected as a favorite) by WordPress.com. Thank you WordPress and thank you for the best, free blogging system. We love it.


Comments

Living Walls — 59 Comments

  1. Innovative and interesting concept. But a lot depends on the local climate. But, it’s worth a try. Do post about the progress. Thanks for the post.

  2. Back to the nature…. starting all over again…

    Little bit of unlearning is of great help to the mankind.

    Awesome stuff Mr. Adam

  3. This is a really cool idea. Living in London it’s pretty hard to imagine bag-building taking off here, but in so many parts of the world it’s so relevant.

  4. It seems like a great idea, but I wonder about the damp problems this will create, here in Spain there are lots of built in flower boxes and anywhere they come into contact with the house, the corresponding inside wall starts to fall apart.. I like it though

    • The main moisture issue is resolved by building ‘eyebrows’ — protective overhangs — over doors and windows. They’re not shown here in order to simplify the drawing. Plus, eyebrows aren’t needed in dry climates.

      What you’re talking about is not an issue. This design uses 18″ thick walls of volcanic rock covered in plaster.

  5. nice bolg…just attended a workshop on mud architecture..where we used earthbag techno for plinth and cob techno for walls…there are a lot of experimentation going on in India too,and i just hope it gets a lot of patronage…

  6. Interesting. I don’t think I would like to put this on the house, but it might be quite nice to have as a fence, or a smaller area as a focal point for landscaping.

    If you put this on the walls of a house, would it cause the walls to rot?

  7. I love reading posts like this, about ways people are making the earth a greener place to live. Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

  8. So does this mean instead of repainting the exterior walls of the house every 10 years, that you just replant the exterior walls of the house every 10 years?

    Great informative post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed.

    Blessings,

    Ava

    • Good point, thank you. The soil would only last so long and need replacement. Plus, the life expectancy of the fishing net is unknown. The whole thing may need replacement in 10 years.

    • That was my question — how do you access the soil in order to amend it with nutrients, and how to you deal with “rootbound” plants?

      Still, I love the idea!

      • We bought potting soil and amended it with coconut husks (very low cost) and old manure. That’s it.

        Some plants may not like this environment and would prefer to be in the ground. Start with a small area and see what works best.

  9. Love the post… I’ve built a couple of living walls in Tenn…. These have been used for a “green” alternative to retaining walls, traditional erosion control methods, and slope landscaping…. I’m anxious to see future posts here… thanks.

    • Hi Rod, which part of Tennessee did you build the walls? do you have any photos you can link to on the Internet?

  10. “Living Walls”..!! Oh, I love this concept. Unfortunately, it would take a long time to be seen in India. However, I do have a query in my mind: Is its maintenance troublesome..???

  11. THANKS for this because I was just at an “eco” store and they had this but they were liek $40 for a walled bag. No way! Now I can do it myself. Woohoo!

  12. I love living walls! There are some buildings with them inside here in Sweden. Every year at the conference complex with the yearly outdoor activities expo is one of them. It’s filled with non-native plants, but it’s still beautiful and about 20 to 30 feet of the corridor is floor to ceiling with vibrant plants.

  13. Congrats on being freshly pressed. I do have a couple of questions for you. What happens when a fungus attacks your plants? How do you remove a bag in the middle of the pile? What is the best way for going after a problem like that?

  14. I think they are beautiful, but how do you manage the way they promote bugs and rodents? I’m happy to have lots and lots of flowers/living things everywhere, but friendly critters not so much.

    • Think of it just like another garden, only vertical. The same horticultural techniques apply: encourage friendly insects that eat harmful insects, use plants that harmful insects don’t like (marigolds, etc.). You can find this info through Google.

  15. Wow, this is really cool! I love it when vines grow up building walls. But to have a wall like this inside a house would so amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    • This one is outside, but yes, you could do this inside if you have sufficient light.

      And you touched on another good point — vines. You could plant vines in the ground around the house and train them up the walls.

  16. My parents are currently building the home they plan to retire to. I’ll have to forward them this link.

    Thanks!

    Crystal

  17. I had never considered this. It’s simply beautiful, and the benefits are incredible.

    Thank you for opening my eyes to the possibilities! :)

  18. This is fascinating, and something I’ve never heard of. I wish you had included more photos! I will definitely do some reasearch about this. Thanks so much for posting.

  19. Very cool post – congrats on being freshly pressed!!

    I am going to forward this to a couple of family members that will all be interested in this topic. Thanks for posting will come back later to see updates.

  20. This looks like a wonderful project! I’ve seen similar ones on Instructables and Makezine. A question/comment though, do you think the sun might damage the nylon and make it fall apart?

  21. You’ve been pressed!

    An interesting concept. One of the problems though with all of these “green” or alternative building materials and styles is that most urban, county or state building codes don’t know how to deal with them. You’ll either be told a flat out ‘no’ or have to go thru so much red tape as to make an inexpensive project not worth the effort.

    Most people in an urban environment will not be able to use this as part of a home structure – at least not in the West.

  22. Hi Owen, this is a great experiment and look forward to the video. Are you placing a waterproof barrier between the earthbag wall exterior and the living wall sections? If so, what are you utilizing in Thailand? Is this the situation where EPDM pondliner or polyethelene would be useful where it is available in other parts of the world? or ??

    Bright blessings,
    Gail

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