Vertical gardens: 9 Steps how to make a home garden and terrace - Green Ecologist

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Vertical garden

The vertical gardening It is nothing new and has been practiced in urban environments for many years with green facades in buildings, which, because of their modern appeal, has transcended a penchant for having a vertical garden (living wall) Inside the house.

Its beginnings are based on the ecological evolution of green roofs that have been adapted to cover the facades, ceilings and walls of large buildings - vertical garden - where architects and landscapers provide not only a floral and plant aesthetic in the decoration, there is much more.

Also, it contributes an important improvement in the thermal comfort of the building, in help to purify the environment by providing oxygen and improving environmental quality, etc. Palpable benefits that are practiced today more than ever.

The trend of natural or artificial vertical gardens It has been introduced into homes on a smaller scale due to the inclination to live in smaller spaces and the need to enjoy a small garden.

Setting up a vertical garden at home provides benefits for health and mental well-being, in addition, it is very easy to install

The vertical gardens in homes they are a very viable option; be it for the interior of the house or the balcony, and, if it is the case, for the exterior in a terrace, besides being easy to take care of.

Of course, becoming urban gardeners requires learning, but in this article we will explain step by step how to make a vertical garden for home in a practical and simple way. We start with the guide …

What is a vertical garden

The vertical garden can be defined as a green wall consisting of an installation attached to a vertical wall covered with different species of plants.

The vegetation that can be natural or artificial is supported by a structure that can be mounted in different sizes outside, in the open air; terraces, balconies, patios, facades, or inside the houses; living room, kitchen, balcony, corridors, allowing a plant wall varied in flora.

Is the perfect solution for houses with limited space in which we want to enjoy a green wall and a modern touch that connects us with nature thanks to a mini domestic garden, without its maintenance being an effort or high complication for the occupants of the house.

We could say that the slogan would be … "A garden does not have to be planted from the ground to enjoy a green blanket".

But… Why is it easy to have a vertical natural garden? To understand what advantages does the green wall system have (with little or no direct agricultural land) with traditional crops we provide this comparison:

Above ground Traditional garden No direct soil Vertical garden
Plant Nutrition Very variable, difficult to control Controllable, soil easy to check and correct
Spacing Limited to fertility Higher densities, better use of space and light
Weed control Presence of weeds Much less or none
Soil Diseases and Pathogens Most common soil diseases The little soil we use is controlled
Water Plants suffer from inefficient water use stress There is no water stress, we control the water

We have more opportunities for our mini indoor garden to work well by controlling almost every aspect that plants grow

Note: For many aspects, a plant ecosystem that forms a green wall is not for having vegetables or greens, it is for ornamental plants. If your intention is to have some fresh tomatoes that you have grown at home, for example, you have to read another extensive article that we have about a complete guide to the urban garden.

What are the benefits of green walls

The living walls they play an important role that favors different aspects, both in a building when it is applied on roofs, facades or terraces, as well as inside a home. Main functions of green walls:

At the domestic level, benefits of having a vertical garden at home are substantial and a practice that we should begin to consider. Some of its advantages are the following:

  • They improve the air quality of the home, insulate thermally thanks to the foliage and avoid the heating of walls, if we place them strategically we will even reduce the electricity bill.
  • We substantially improve our relationship with nature (we know the natural cycles of the earth and biological cycles of plants, their properties, we increase our knowledge of the natural environment and flora.
  • It provides benefits to our mental health (it is an excellent anti-stress) and fun, relaxing, therapy and totally healthy activity.
  • We can enjoy with the family the maintenance and better quality of coexistence.
  • It is not necessary to use topsoil replacing it with volcanic rock and clays.
  • They can be installed in interior areas of the house, thus requiring less energy and water consumption.
  • You can choose a great variety of plants and flowers at the same time regardless of the species of each one of them, only that they are complementary, and, if possible, that they are native species of the area to gain resistance and less care.
  • Apart from providing a pleasant aesthetic to the interior of the house. They can be separated from the wall, housing inside pipes, heating or air conditioning pipes, so their optical effect is invisible since they are covered with plants.
  • They provide an optimal drainage avoiding unnecessary filtrations when we have problems in terrace walls.

As drawbacks, to name a few: its installation has a cost, although it is cheap if it is practiced consistently and with the possibility of using recycled materials in the structure (for example, with pallets), home-style planters, reused wooden drawers, bottles , etc We will get a grow wall cheap! (Remember our helpful article on recycled pallets for furniture)

Of course, we will need to invest some time in taking care of it, and, depending on the location (Indoor or outdoor), we will not always be able to plant all the species of plants, vegetables or flowers that we would like.

How to make a vertical garden at home

If we want to cultivate a beautiful urban garden, be it outdoor or indoor, semi-covered or totally, we must follow a series of steps to get a beautiful green wall.

As a first recommendation to build a vertical ecosystem, is to start with a small home garden, and, if we like it, we will expand the distribution to larger ones, investing more money and time in its maintenance.

Tip; for a vertical garden in the lived, it is necessary to start small, and, if we like it, we will invest more time and money

1.- Location of the vertical ecosystem

Although it is obvious that we already have a site in mind, we do have to look at some important aspects. First… Where can we put a living wall?

Outdoor vertical garden Indoor vertical garden
Outdoor terrace walls Balcony
Vertically in the middle of the terrace Corridor
Hanging in the middle of the terrace Living room)
Patios Bath
Entrance hall or community terrace of the building Kitchen
Building facade parts * Sleeping rooms are prohibited.

But…What should I look at before deciding where to put the garden? Here, there are three key elements before deciding on the location:

  • We need light. We need to find a space with the greatest and continuous exposure to the Sun for the forest (Beware of the noon sun). For a outdoor gardenThe minimum should be between 5 and 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. In the interior case, if possible, direct natural light, and if we cannot, we must choose plants that need little light (later we will see what ornamental plants we can use).

On hot days with a lot of sun, you have to protect the plants from midday. If it is outside, we can use umbrellas or an awning, particularly for young plants.

  • Need for water. We need to locate the vertical ecosystem in an area where we have access to a water intake; that is, to water or connect the irrigation and drip system.
  • Ease of access. Being able to maintain and work the living wall comfortably is essential. Forget about strange structures and shapes that hang from the ceiling, they are only for movies!
  • The need for a strong wall and the type of structure - form that I will use. If we want it to be hung on the wall, check that it is resistant (See that we do not hide any electrical or plumbing installations in the house). Later we see the varieties of structures that we can buy.
  • What type of vegetation do we choose. Although later we will focus more, to simplify a bit, the plants for outdoor gardens are much more beautiful and ornamental, where, in addition, we have a greater range to choose from, the main disadvantage is that we do not control the weather conditions. For indoors, broad-leaved plants are more suitable because they catch light better. In general they are less ornamental, but we have the advantage that we control the environmental conditions.

How do we identify if our green wall does not receive enough light? In search of this, the stems will grow longer and more fragile, and the leaves will have a pale green color.

2.- What tools do I need to work a grow wall?

This depends a lot on the expense we want to make and the skill of each user. Once the support structure is in place, we will not need many utensils either. We will need appropriate tools, that is, hand.

Search garden tools with short handles and that are ergonomic so you can work well. As an example of some utensils:

  • Spear hoe. It is used to remove plant debris and weeds, remove the earth, aerate.
  • Fork hoe or escardillo. It is used for digging, turning the soil, breaking up clods, and weeding weeds and weeds. Most used in the traditional outdoor garden.
  • Cultivator. It serves to scratch the surface and aerate it.
  • Palita or transplanter. We can open holes to plant seeds and seedlings.
  • Mango rake. It is used for practically everything, but with the main function of dragging plant debris.
  • Carrycot and gloves. The baskets are very useful for transplanting and moving soil from one place to another. Protecting our hands is always good, and gloves are the best option for home gardens, make sure they are a bit thick.

3.- What components make up the structure of the plant wall

To understand how far we can go with design and construction of vertical ecosystems. First, I would like to answer a question … What are the components of a vertical garden?

  • Active components: It refers to the type of plant cover that we have used and the means to make it grow.
  • Stable components: Are those manufactured elements that have a specific function in the structure (waterproofing membrane, anti-root barriers, filtering barriers, drainage videos, irrigation systems, etc.)
  • Auxiliary elements: They are complements - extra - that we add to the structure that have a certain function, for example, wall dividers, a system to evacuate the water and another for automatic irrigation, artificial lighting, etc.

4.- What vertical garden structures can we buy?

Although we have a predetermined idea of what we want, we must first know what options exist in the market to mount our vegetal wall, and what technologies and vertical systems are there for a mini garden.

By the way we assemble the green walls With modular compositions, we can "play" and this can give us other ideas to locate the garden at home.

The container or final structure that will hold our ornamental plants should meet six basic aspects. We remember this point, because if you want to make a homemade "minigarden" with old elements (As a complementary note, see article waste and recycling containers). Containers must have the following basic functions:

Tightness Water retention capacity Nutrition
Sewer system Consistency Filtration

The types of vertical gardens that we can mount at home, both indoors and outdoors, on a terrace or balcony are:

  • Traditional vertical garden. One in which the plants grow from the ground, normally using pots and a vertical guide structure that will guide the climbing plants.
  • Vertical garden mounted on a structure. It is a system that uses geotextile and different layers - components in its installation (fixed aluminum support, an adhered foam to absorb moisture, meshes, different filters - pockets, etc.) together, it forms an installation that usually has a system automatic watering system (they are used by professionals).
  • Vertical garden mounted on geotextile pockets (Grow bag for wall). It allows a simple and gradual installation in the modular style. Easy to expand.
  • Vertical garden mounted on recycled plastic or wood containers. They are containers of high durability and light weight.
  • Vertical garden mounted on a modular system. They are modules in the form of drawers that we can find in different ways and are inserted - they fit into a pre-assembled metal structure.
  • Vertical garden mounted on a floating system. We could say that it is an inverse system to the traditional one (hanging plants). In the upper part of the wall the modules or pots are placed, and the plants, as they grow - due to gravity - the vegetation occupies the vertical of the wall.

Remember to choose a structure and shape that matches the atmosphere and style of the home or terrace

But… Where can I buy the structures to create the vertical garden and tools? As we always say, you have to look and compare if we want to save a few euros. And if it is a large plant wall, ask for different estimates.

From the neighborhood shops (sometimes they surprise in the price of tools and materials) to large DIY shops What Leroy merlin, Bauhaus, Aki, etc. We have many options to choose from.

The most comfortable option is buy a vertical garden with artificial plants. Those of quality and that are realistic, are worth money, and, more, for interior. We recommend you buy:

  • For interior. At Unicesped they are specialists in artificial vertical gardens. The aesthetic quality is very good with a combination of plants and the Botanic model that you can see HERE looks great. They have many models that appear on Amazon from HERE.
  • For exterior. In Leroy Merlin the Photinia Garden that you can see HERE. It is much simpler, but for the exterior we will need less details.

Buy a wall garden structureIn our opinion, it is the most correct option, although we will have to take care of the plants, which is not so bad! is to seek that they are modular. So we can easily remove or put plants.

If you buy a structure. Look for it to be modular to remove or put plants easily and to your liking

For interior and exterior. There are hundreds of possibilities; plastic, vase, bag, ceramic, metal, wood, modular, etc. For us, the modular are the perfect option because we can expand or remove, as needed. We are left with:

  • East Stackable Artificial Vertical Garden by Leroy Merlin that you can see HERE is plastic, stackable and cheap, a recommended option!
  • We like this other modular from Amazon because it is a bit more complex, with self-watering, but it will make it easier for us to water the plants.
  • Those in the previous image. A simple but elegant style. With 2 or 3 ceramic vases that you can see HERE on Amazon they are great!

By the way, with imagination, a little crafts and DIY, we can save money on the structure; Recycled pallets, wooden boxes, plastic bottles, stones, pots and pots that we no longer use, gutters, etc. Put imagination to fit in the decoration!

Note: We are talking about green walls for spaces with small dimensions, when we talk about gardens on facades of buildings or cover a large surface of a wall professionally, the theme in its typology is very complicated.

Here, more complex installation techniques and systems are already used. As an example and diagram of a mounting system:

The landscaped walls - from a technical perspective - they bring great benefits; not only in an increase in humidity or in the improvement of CO2, among other issues. We can also achieve significant savings in water, both in irrigation water (more optimized) or reuse the excess, as well as the possibility of filtering residual water (for example, from bathrooms) and taking advantage of it for other issues:

In this case, for those who want to learn more from a much more technical perspective, we recommend the following documents:

  • Systems and vertical gardens in the building from HERE.
  • Final degree project vertical gardens in buildings from HERE (It is a technical document)
  • Bioclimatic systems for houses with constructive solutions from HERE.

5.- What is the appropriate substrate for a vertical garden

As a general rule, what is applicable to a traditional garden can also be used in vertical gardens; Without a good substrate, plants will not grow well and will wilt.

Nowadays, it is easy to access the nurseries where we can choose from a great variety of soil, yes, they must be according to the type of plants we buy. So we will have to ask in store, what is the best substrate for the plant that we use the vertical garden.

Highly recommended! Ask in a specialized store what substrate we need for the garden according to the ornamental plants that we are going to use.

We must make sure that when we place the root ball (mass of earth that is left attached to the roots of the plants to transplant them) it does not directly touch the bottom of the pot or drawer. The roots need room to grow. Also pay attention to using drainage stones in the bottom of the container.

The best substrate is of little use if the plants do not have enough space for their roots.

The Adequate substrate will be the one that ensures you support conditions, access of oxygen to the roots, adequate retention of water and nutrients. necessary. Most common types of substrates:

The less chemical fertilizers, the better for everyone, we must take advantage of the waste generated at home. Organic fertilizer and free! We can make them at home or on the terrace with the help of a kit of composter.

You can learn more with the manual of the good composter from HERE, the diagrams at the end of the PDF are very useful.

Normally we use a little soil with minerals (which is the most normal when we talk about a home vertical garden in which we use pots in their different forms) but, also, the flora can grow thanks to the hydroponics method (without soil, more information on the concept here) where plants fed by mineral solutions are grown instead of agricultural soil.

There are two aspects here, small hydroponic grow kits more intended to have a few vegetables at home (There are some clear examples on Amazon) or hydroponic agriculture in vertical gardens that is more used for a professional practice with complex systems that can create a green wall impressive (On the subject, at the end there is a technical document for reference).

6.- How to prepare the culture bed in the container

Before you start, take a look at the containers you use; planters, pots, drawers, etc., have a hole for water drainage. And now, follow the steps in the following scheme:

7.- What can I plant in a natural plant wall

The plants that we will be able to use - mainly - will depend on the location of our natural wall, the light they can receive and, if it is located indoors or we have the orchard outdoors (Of interest, see also the article on plants for the interior of the home)

For the indoor plants and forest, better to see the recommendations of the following one that is very well explained:

Asking a landscaper, gardener or worker in a garden center, is to get the plants right to have a beautiful garden

For the outdoor garden plants. The ones that are sure to work very well are use native plants from the area is a safe bet! As an example of others that we can use:

In the floriculture Y horticulture Each variety has its own characteristics, which also depends a lot on where we are and the weather conditions. There are hundreds of species and as an option to learn more about them, it is better to use an App specialized in gardening.

As a recommendation for mobile, the gardening app PlantSnap that is in Spanish (it is an identifier of plants and flowers) for Android HERE and for ISO from HERE (It identifies more than 600,000 species of plants from all over the world in an instant with characteristics).

9.- How to water the garden

Plants and flowers that are grown in a container need more water than those that live in the ground.

Tips for watering garden plants:

  • The irrigations are made frequent and short in the cultivation walls, but in less quantity so as not to flood them.
  • It should not be sprayed under pressure. Use showers with a rosette so that the water runs smoothly.
  • Depending on the type of plant, the frequency and duration must be adjusted, as well as at the time of development, the time of year and the weather due to the density of the plantation.
  • The schedule for watering changes according to the season of the year; in summer, it is practiced in the first hour or when it has been put, and in winter, autumn and spring, in the central hours of the day.
  • All containers have a hole to drain to prevent build-up.
  • It is good to avoid wetting the flowers, fruits and leaves to prevent the appearance of fungi.

If the green wall is large. Group the plants according to the water they need, so they will receive the right amount

Video summary to create a natural or artificial vertical garden at home

As a summary of the points that we have reviewed this article, we leave you a video where the keys and some tips to create a natural vertical garden or one with artificial plants.

We always like to provide complementary information that may be useful, so to learn more:

  • Sustainable garden guide from HERE.
  • Manual of gardens on walls and roofs, a good document from HERE (In addition, the extensive manual where detailed information on all types of plants is provided)
  • Guide to green roofs and vertical gardens from HERE.
  • The vertical gardens in the building from HERE.
  • Evaluation of the water behavior of a vertical garden indoors from HERE.
  • Hydroponics in gardens … from HERE.

More than 100 Images and photos for inspiration

Since we have learned a lot, we have to be inspired a bit with photographs and ideas from different places on the Internet that will surely provide us with good original ideas. There are users who have a lot of imagination!

Although on the Internet we can find images of vertical gardens and hundreds of photosGood quality is sometimes difficult to find. So we have compiled some places with quality photos:

  • We know that Pinterest is a must, but this table by Juan Carlos has proposals and photographs with very good ideas. We can see it from HERE.
  • The second to find ingenious proposals is Instagram and from HERE you can't get bored.
  • Hundreds of decoration magazines with quality images are posted on the ISSUU website, they are free to access and without the need to register; New Style, AD, ELLE Decor, Architecture and Design. From HERE you can access many magazines to inspire you as well as extensive information that complements the article.

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