Five ways to… make the most of living walls

9 June 2011


Don’t be put off by the challenges of the building

Living walls can go anywhere, at any height, with any aspect or level of exposure — it’s all about selecting the right plant species and ensuring that they are fully developed and rooted before going into any harsh environment. Nothing is impossible.


Go slow to go fast

If you take your time to specify a proven system that uses the latest technical solutions, you won’t have a lot of unnecessary disruption to your project. Some of the modern systems, such as Frosts’ FVM1 module are very quick and easy to install, planted off-site for minimum impact on your team and mounted directly onto a steel frame for speed. A modular system could be installed within four days, depending on the size of the project.


Plan health and safety early

You should be involved with the landscapers from the design stage to ensure all the teams involved are satisfied with the safety measures being taken. You will probably have to take precautions for working at height. For example, during the construction at the Mint Hotel at Tower Bridge (pictured) Frosts used a mobile mast climber, access platform and traditional scaffolding to other areas. If health and safety, including method statements and risk assessments, is taken seriously this can all be done safely.


Don’t forget maintenance

Your landscaper should be really clear from the outset about how much access they need for maintenance, and over what period. There is nothing worse than unplanned site visits during those busy final few weeks of any project. Some systems are so innovative you will hardly notice any maintenance. The Frosts Vertiscapes module has been built around an intelligent irrigation system which is adjusted remotely to suit each different elevation and varying weather conditions.


Think about biodiversity

Why use just one species when you can create a colourful wall with real texture? Your living wall should complement the architecture of the building in its entirety, capturing the imagination of occupants and visitors. Challenge your landscaper to use their imagination and work to create something truly unique — it does not necessarily need to increase the cost.

By Aidan Lane, Frosts Vertiscapes

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