It’s easy to believe that living walls, also known as green walls, are a relatively new idea but they have in fact been around for centuries, with examples of historical green walls found in various parts of the world. One of the most famous examples is the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The gardens, which were built around the 6th century BC, featured terraced greenery arranged in a stepped pyramid formation.
In the Middle Ages, living walls were used for more practical purposes such as fortification, with walls covered in creeping plants to deter attackers or hide their strength. Later, in the Renaissance period, living walls were used to create ornamental gardens, with plants arranged in intricate patterns to create living tapestries.
Of course these early living walls would in many cases have been little more in our eyes than climbing plants and creepers. The first patent for a modern green wall system was filed in the 1930s by Stanley Hart White, who created a system of planters that could be attached to a building’s exterior. From then on living walls have become increasingly more popular as a way to combat urban pollution and beautify cities.
In the 1980s, the renowned French botanist Patrick Blanc developed a hydroponic system using a felt-like material that allowed plants to grow vertically without soil. This system became popular and was used in many buildings around the world including the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris and is the basis for living wall systems used today.
Since then, living walls have gained popularity as a sustainable and aesthetically pleasing alternative to traditional walls. They are now used in an increasing variety of settings, including commercial and residential buildings, schools, and public spaces.
Recent advances in technology have made living walls more accessible, with modular systems and automated irrigation making them easier to install and maintain. They are also now recognised as a way to improve indoor air quality, increase urban green spaces and promote biophilic design which seeks to connect people with nature in the built environment.
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Please contact us if your living wall requires maintenance or remedial work and we are always happy to help and have many years’ experience with the wide range of systems on the market.