Vertical Gardening

Vertical Gardening is a new concept in the gardening world. Vertical Gardens are also referred to as living walls, bio walls, or green walls. Patrick Blanc is the inventor of the modern Green Wall. His ‘mur vegetal’ projects being the best known of modern Vertical gardens or Green Walls. A Vertical Garden can basically grow anywhere, in homes, offices, schools, galleries, museums, hotels, shopping centers, airports, restaurants, cafes, bars. The list is endless. Basically, anywhere there is a wall or a flat horizontal surface.

Mur Vegetal

Mur Vegetal

Plants are attached to the exterior or interior of a building or surface. Plants root in a structural support which is fastened to the wall itself. The plants receive water and nutrients from within the vertical support instead of from the ground. Vertical Gardens can be a solution for screening walls, introducing greenery in urban lifestyles, promoting interest in gardening, improving air quality, lowering energy intake and introducing an interest in horticultural art. Almost any kind of plant can be incorporated into a vertical garden, including annual, succulent, perennial, ground cover or vine plants. These container gardens can be used in locations where there is not much space, such as patios, balconies and small courtyard gardens.


This gardening trend is gaining fast recognition and popularity internationally but is yet to establish itself in South Africa fully.

• A Green Wall acts as a bio filter, enhancing air quality by breaking down harmful airborne contaminants and transforming them into clean oxygen. Like a green roof, a green wall absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen and therefore reduces green house gases in the atmosphere.

•In urban surroundings, vertical gardens may be an ideal way to introduce a natural element to the lives of city-dwellers.

• It retains rain water that would otherwise run off the side of the building and overflow sewer systems

• Green Walls reduce energy consumption by providing a layer of insulation around the building. This keeps the building cooler in summer, reducing the reliance of air conditioning. As well as protecting the building from the cold in winter. This layer of insulation also protects the building’s facade from harmful UV rays and other damaging weather conditions, as well as creating a sound barrier.

• Living walls can help cut your food bills. A number of edible plants can be grown on living walls, including many herbs, salad greens, and other vegetables and fruits.

• Green Walls are a stunning visual statement. They are beautiful, unique, and space efficient. Whether the green wall is inside or outside a building, it adds tremendous aesthetic value to the area. It also creates a statement that you have consideration for the environment.

• Green Walls provide important habitat for migrating butterflies and birds and bees, which helps them to survive whilst allowing you to observe and enjoy their beauty.

Tessa Fraser


7 Responses to Vertical Gardening

  1. Niall November 11, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    this is amazing … I love the Blanc wall. I hear they have a vertical garden at the Corner Cafe in Durban now … still need to check it out!

  2. Julia November 12, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    Brilliant!Hope some one at Ethekwini Municipality sees this…

  3. mol-d November 15, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    Hi Julia, not quite vertical but the municipality has done some work on rooftop gardening:

  4. Jennifer Mitchell February 1, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    This is a great blog post!
    I try to add a vertical garden element to all my designs (I specialise in garden designs for small and unusual spaces.) to take advantage of the 3D nature of the spaces. Our metalwork department has just come up with a design for a decorative vertical space-saving houseplant holder (can also be used outdoors). I’m encouraging people to have more plants in their homes because of the proven health benefits. So far I’m happy to say it’s been very popular.

  5. Positive Cycle December 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

    Very exciting stuff this, we are getting involved in vertical landscaping ourselves. It’s all part of our dream to produce a green city in Johannesburg.
    Check out

  6. Mark December 5, 2011 at 6:46 pm #

    This is a awesome idea for quick, easy, and even moveable and surely seasonal design. We can I purchase some of these containers? What a solution to many gardening design headaches.

  7. Travis December 5, 2011 at 7:39 pm #


    Don’t purchase them. Pick them up, from the back of your friendly local supermarket chain. Any plastic crate will do, as long as it has holes in it. If it doesn’t, make holes. Drill holes into your wall, bang in some nails, screws or rawl bolts and wire or cabletie the crates on. Line the crates with plastic sheeting (anything will do, as long as it’s not breaking down into something toxic – the black bags you buy seedlings in are agricultural plastic, and work just fine). Add soil, and plants, and mulch.

    Voila. Vertigarden.

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