How to Plan a Living Wall Planter in 5 Steps

Living walls add life to any area, they look fresh and modern and do a lot to enhance the urban landscape. If you are looking to add a touch of “green” to your city-dwelling life, don’t worry – living walls can be easy to make!

Although, it is important to know some basic concepts before trying to learn how to make a living wall. There are six steps or components to planning a living wall that can each be implemented in a variety of ways.

Step 1. Find a strong wall or structure to support your living wall.

The structure needs to be sturdy enough to support not only your plants but your entire living wall system. When choosing this, you will need to keep in mind the complete weight of the project water and all.

Step 2. Choose a container and soil media.

There are countless approaches to finding your preferred planting container and soil media. One of the simplest setups to implement is a set of narrow shelves with pots or bags of plants, nestled closely together.

Another setup worth investigating in is using a modular set of cubes, filled with moss or bags of soil. You can find living wall kits like these from a variety of vendors that include your entire setup and are bought assembly ready.

Since the concept of learning how to make a living wall is still relatively new, you will find the best variety of kits available online. 

Of course, if you are handy with a hammer, you can construct your own set of simple cubes and arrange them as you wish. If you choose to go that route, make sure you spend the time to research and plan out all of the other components of your chosen setup.

If the bins are made of plastic or metal, then they can be both the structure and the container. If the set of bags are made of plastic or felt, they need to be hung on a sturdy structure of metal piping, fencing, or wood. In either case, the structure can be as simple as an existing wooden wall or fence, protected with a sheet of plastic for waterproofing.

Alternatively, it can be an inverted V-shaped frame, over which the bags are hung. While kits are available for these types of setups as well, you could try an extremely simple homemade option consisting of two sturdy over-the-door shoe organizers. When hung back-to-back on a set of strong poles, you should be able to support the weight of all the plants, soil, and water used in your living wall.

If neither of these options sounds appealing, you can purchase a mat media in which certain plants will root well.

Step 3. Determine if you need material to protect your structure from water damage.

If your living wall is going to be for indoor use or patio use, you’ll need to remember to add a low, long, shallow box for a base to catch water. You may also need a base that adds stability to the structure while catching excess water.

Step 4. Plan your watering system.

After planning the basic approach, you will need to plan your watering system. If you are purchasing a kit, then the watering system will be included. However, if you choose the go the do-it-yourself way with building your living wall, you’ll need to consider non-traditional watering methods, such as tube irrigation or hydroponics. To implement a watering system, invest in tubing made of metal or plastic. Arrange the irrigation hose as you would for a horizontal garden, taking care that each individual plant receives water.

Step 5. Find plants that are suited for living walls in your particular region or area.

If you decide to purchase a living wall kit, then the first five of these components will be planned out for you. A living wall is generally planted for the sake of beauty and aesthetics. Its twin, the vertical garden, is usually planted to grow food. In selecting your living wall plants, you will want to choose relatively lightweight plants, with shallow root systems that are generally hardy and easy to grow.

Because this list can vary considerably depending on your climate and whether you want an indoor or outdoor living wall, it is difficult to list the plants that are ideal for all. Succulents, sedum, and ivies are often good choices for most areas. Your local garden shop should be happy to provide information tailored for your area.

If you living in an area where garden shops are at a minimum, you’ll find that many online plant and garden supply shops can provide you with region specific ideas as to which plants to choose.

Now you know how to go about planning a living wall. No matter which structure you choose to implement, your new garden will reward you many times over with its lush beauty while being contained in a small space.

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