Green walls have exploded in popularity in recent years, especially in luxury homes and businesses. They’re the perfect way to bring nature inside in urban areas and to add lush foliage to small patios and balconies where it’s just not possible to maintain real plants.
If you’re thinking about bringing a green wall into your home or business, read on for all the facts so you can make the right purchase!
What is a green wall?
While their popularity has certainly grown in recent years, the idea was first seen back in the 1930s. A green wall is a wall that is completely covered from roof to ceiling with foliage. You can do a small section of the wall with panels, but a green wall is, traditionally, the entire wall covered in foliage.
Why choose an artificial green wall over a real one?
Cost of Living Green Walls
There’s no doubt that live green walls are an incredible feat of nature – but that’s what they are, a feat! Setting up a live green wall and, more importantly, maintain it isn’t for the faint of heart or a small budget.
True living walls (as in, not just climbing plants or hanging planters) require a special kind of media to grow in with a drip irrigation system, which have to be installed by specialists. They also require the right lighting, either from skylights or artificial lighting that is set up to offer a full colour spectrum.
You’ve got to remember that it’s not just the purchase of plants but the set up and maintenance of the system. Because there is so little growing media on the wall, the drip irrigation system has to be on constantly to keep the plants moist and fed. This system deals with small holes that must be maintained to keep the system functioning properly, which means you’ll often have to pay a maintenance fee to the company who installed the wall.
The plants themselves must also be pruned and replaced from time to time. For a small wall in a home, you may expect to pay a few thousand a year for maintenance, but for a statement wall in a home or business, the costs quickly add up. One Australian green wall company estimate the costs for a 500 square foot live wall costing over $76,000 (£40,000), and that’s just for installation. The costs for maintenance for that same wall was estimated at an annual $11,000 (£6,000).
Those figures are enough to scare most away from the idea! Fortunately, an artificial green wall is much more affordable, especially when it comes to ongoing costs – which are next-to-nothing. An artificial wall of the same size and quality would cost less than £10,000 with no ongoing costs – that’s less than 25% of the cost of a living wall. If you choose cheaper panels, then the cost becomes even more affordable.
They Share the Same Benefits
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Defect water away from walls
- Help add a little extra insulation to homes
- Reduction in noise pollution
… As Well as Plenty of Other Benefits
Better still, they won’t damage the structure of your home the way a live green wall may if it’s allowed to get out of hand. Climbing plants like ivy do look beautiful when they cover brick, but they also pose a risk to the structural integrity of a home if they are allowed to get out of hand.
Inside, living green walls can produce a lot of moisture, which can encourage mold growth. Artificial green walls don’t require any moisture, and so won’t drive up your humidity.
Of course, one of the most attractive reasons to purchase artificial plants is the lack of maintenance. Unlike other houseplants, you simply can’t properly maintain a living green wall yourself. Imagine investing thousands in a living green wall, deciding to handle the maintenance yourself, and then having it all die on you – it doesn’t bare thinking about. Understandably, living green wall companies have specialists who manage the maintenance to ensure no customer experiences such catastrophic failure, so you likely won’t have the option of caring for a living wall on your own unless you try to set up a DIY system.
It’s also important to note that a living green wall simply can’t survive forever – the plants will only last for as long as their roots have space. The media panels themselves are believed to work for up to 25 years, but it’s highly unlikely that any plants will last that long. Outside, they’ll be designed to withstand the weather in that one location, so there’s a risk the plants won’t survive there.
Where can you use an artificial green wall?
Honestly, just about anywhere! Here are a few ideas:
- In a bright hallway
- In a restaurant, salon, or office waiting area
- In a dining room
- On a patio or balcony
- To hide an ugly wall
- To provide privacy from neighbours
- To hide fencing
- In modern hallways
- In a dark porch
There really aren’t any limits – just use your imagination!
How to Buy Your Artificial Green Wall: Location & Materials
Now we know why artificial walls are so preferable to live green walls, let’s get into the details of how to purchase one for your home or business. The first aspect we need to talk about the location for your artificial green wall and how that affects the materials you choose.
If your artificial green wall is going to be inside, then you really have no restriction on what your artificial green wall is made of. It won’t have to withstand any adverse weather conditions, so fabric leaves will still look as good as new years after installation. However, if your artificial green wall is going to be in a high-light position, such as below a skylight or opposite a glass wall, then you may want to pay attention to the next section.
If your artificial green wall is going to be outside, then you need to consider the materials the artificial plants are made from carefully. While almost any artificial green wall panel will withstand rain, ice, and wind, (unless it’s made from silk), they are often more vulnerable to the sun. UV rays can quickly fade the colour from artificial plants if they aren’t protected. If you are buying an artificial green wall for an external wall, make sure the artificial plants contain some UV protection. There are UV sprays and other things you can use to protect artificial plants from the effects of UV, but if you’re buying panels for outside, make your life easier and ensure they made from synthetic materials with UV-protection in the material itself.
There are no rules on where you can and can’t set up an artificial green wall – besides keeping it out of the way from obvious fire hazards, you really can choose any wall or flat surface.
Type of Artificial Green Wall
Just like real green walls, you have a lot of choice when it comes to what kind of plants and foliage you want to include on your green wall. The one caveat is that you’ll want to stick with the same combination of plants throughout unless you use different panels in a pattern. As you’d expect, the more intricate the design, the more expensive the panel, so if you’re working on a budget, you may want to choose one of the cheaper designs for your artificial green wall.
When choosing the type of artificial green wall you want for your home or business, consider what effect you want it to have. Do you want it to look tropical? With plenty of ferns and mosses like a forest? Something low profile, or something with plenty of volume?
Something like our artificial ivy green wall is a great budget-friendly option for small spaces, while our garden fern artificial green wall is a great choice if you’re looking for a wall with various types of foliage for a natural look.
Take your time here and think about what will work best for your space and budget, not just what you like best in the pictures. Remember that an entire wall of artificial green wall panels will make a big statement, no matter what kind of panel you choose.
Consider Other Costs
When you pay tens of thousands of pounds for a company to install your green wall, they’re going to supply absolutely everything, including the manpower complete the project. When you’re DIYing your artificial green wall, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to fix the panels to your wall. This will depend some on where you buy your panels the fixtures on the panel itself.
Most panels have screw holes so you can fix the panel directly to your wall, but you can also fix the panels to fences, trellis, and other items if it works best for you. Most of the time, these costs will be minimal, but it’s a good idea to know how you’re going to fix your panels in place before they arrive. Screws work well for wood, but don’t forget something as simple as zip ties or wire ties provide a suitable solution.
If you’re planning to move in the near future, or are renting, these latter options will likely provide a better option than drilling numerous holes into the interior or exterior wall of your home or place of business.
How do you care for an artificial green wall?
If your artificial green wall is inside your home or business, all you need to do is dust it from time to time. When you’re cleaning, simply take a long duster and fluff it around the leaves to dislodge dust and remove any cobwebs. Outside, you likely won’t have to do any maintenance at all!
Can you move a green wall?
Moving a live green wall likely won’t be easy, but moving an artificial green wall is – simply unfix the panels and move them to their new location – they’ll look just as good there as they did in their previous home!
How long will an artificial green wall last?
Our outdoor green wall panels come with a 5-year warranty, that protects against colour fade. If you have dusted regularly, you can likely apply a UV-protection spray once those 5 years are up to further extend the lifetime use of the artificial wall panels. If your panels are in the shade or indoors, they may last for much longer than that!
Artificial green walls are the ideal way to bring an abundance of greenery to your home or business, and they look incredibly luxurious. They’re the perfect way to cover up an unsightly wall or bring a splash of bright colour and texture to a modern or minimalist space. To browse our full range of artificial green wall panels, click here.