Planting for the vertically challenged
I’m a recent convert to plant walls.
It’s becoming a bit of an obsession to be honest.
Show me a plain vertical space in the garden and I’m there. Wall hanging planters in hand I just love to create plant walls.
My husband is seriously thinking of banning me from the garden if I hang any more plants on the fence panels.
What is it about LIving plant walls?
There’s something so lovely about seeing a vertical space utilised to bring the outside in.
Plant walls in office spaces are cropping up everywhere (pun intended).
In my opinion, plant walls come into their own outside the house. The opportunity to add colour and life to a sunny wall or fence panel is too good to miss.
Create your own plant wall
A plant (or living) wall can be created as simply as you like.
The picture above is of a climbing hydrangea that we have climbing up a patio wall in our garden.
This wonderful self-climbing, the flowering hydrangea is as happy in full sun as it is in the shade. With the ability to grow up to 12 metres high and a spread of 4-8 metres, all we need to do is cut it back every couple of years to stop it taking over the patio rail.
Other than that, our glorious climbing hydrangea is a joy from spring through to autumn when the leaves drop.
With a little patience, climbing plants like the hydrangea will just quietly get on with doing their thing and giving you a beautiful plant wall of living gorgeous-ness for years to come.
Wisteria is another excellent choice to train for growth up a trellis or around fencing. Wisteria needs full sun and pruning twice a year to encourage flowers to grow.
That’s not too onerous.
If you’re in the mood for a little more inventiveness here are some great ideas
Choose your location
The placement of your living plant wall may present itself.
If you have a small patio area with a bare wall, you have the obvious location.
If you have fence panels surrounding a seating area, choose the position that will enable you to see and enjoy your living plant wall.
Your choice of plants will be based on the location.
Consider too, how much sun the plants will have throughout the day. Will you be able to plant anything into the soil at the base of the location? That would help with getting plant growth started from the bottom up.
Or will you need some kind of trellis or other support to hold planters or enable climbing plants to cling to?
You may not have a wall or fence panel to use at all. That’s where a little creative thinking comes in.
Think instead about some kind of structure to be your living wall canvas.
Being creative is going to help you keep costs down while creating something unique
The wonderful thing about creating a planting scheme anywhere in your garden is that it will be yours alone.
Taking inspiration from the way others have tackled the problem of creating a vertical space to turn into a living plant wall is an excellent starting point.
Great solutions come from reimagining objects you already have to create something new and beautiful. Thinking about our environment, this is upcycling and reuse before buy at it’s very best.
Charity shops and ‘junk’ yards are a fantastic choice when looking for ideas for your living plant wall. All you really need is something you can place planters on safely, or hang planters from to get you started.
Your living plant wall frame may need something to secure it in position, such as with the old door shown above. If you elect to do your planting in a heavy-duty planter with pockets, such as this one available from Amazon, you will need to consider where you create your plant wall.
If you hang your planter on an outside wall there may be damp problems when you water the plants.
That shouldn’t be so much of a problem if you hang it from a fence panel. Choosing the location for your living plant wall means keeping practicality in mind.
Plants need to be watered safely and without causing problems that could end up costing you money to fix.
Standalone living plant walls
Self-standing growing frames are available from garden centres and online retailers.
The picture above is of a living wall grown on a strong panel with slats to hang planters from.
The whole panel has a lower base that holds pots, and it has locking wheels to move it around your outdoor space. That allows you to move your plants to follow the sun or to keep shade-loving plants where they’re happiest.
For the truly gifted DIY’er
I have two living plant wall designs in mind for our new seated area when it finally finds its way out of my head and into my garden.
The first takes advantage of the corner position of my plan.
Putting shelves around a corner location such as shown on the wall above is a simple enough idea.
Putting this on a house wall would have to be carefully planned to minimise the risk of creating a damp problem.
My plan is to take this idea and incorporate it into planting around a corner created with fence panels.
My corner is internal rather than external as in the picture, but you get the idea.
My version will use planters lined up and hung around the corner. There isn’t any need to be as integrated as this picture suggests.
It’s a matter of taking an idea and overlaying your thoughts aligned to your ability and budget to achieve your vision.
The second use of the vertical space in my new seating area will use picture frames from long forgotten paintings and photo frames.
Succulents are a gorgeous addition to any garden. As succulents are often low-growing and very adaptable to their growing conditions, they will marry beautifully with my photo-frames to add interest to fence panels.
Check out this article on creating your own framed succulent living wall.
Related Content and other resources
Check out my Pinterest boards for great ideas for creating your very own living plant wall.