Editor’s Note – No need to keep your yardfarm only in your yard. Why not make living walls in your home?
When gardening has been linked to so many amazing health benefits, why not create a more amazing garden space with plants partitions. Backyards, patios, decks, and terraces can benefit from creating separation to establish different outdoor rooms. Think it of it as creating multiple living experiences. It takes a bit of creativity and inventiveness to optimize these indoor and outdoor spaces, especially small, limited ones. A square footage deficit may require that a single room function as several – one for lounging, one for sleeping, one for dining, and another for working.
Divide and Conquer Using Living Walls and Vertical Gardens
Incorporating a partition is a simple solution for converting one space into two or more without undertaking any major construction. Both inside and out, living walls and vertical gardens can multitask as room dividers and privacy screens, while also bringing nature inside. These verdant structures are especially beneficial additions in urban environments, where greenery may be scarce.
What Is a Living Wall?
Sometimes called living walls, green walls, ecowalls, or vertical gardens, these plant-laden surfaces may be mobile or permanent, free-standing structures or attached to walls, indoors or out. Living walls are typically constructed from panels of plants grown vertically, either hydroponically or with soil.
Off-the-Wall and Hanging Vertical Gardens
There are many ways to creatively divide open spaces using green walls or vertical gardens. A partial wall can create separation if there’s floor space, but if the footprint doesn’t allow it, think about suspending a curtain of hanging gardens from the ceiling to divide the area visually.
Suspended from the ceiling, a series of glass terrariums filled with Tillandsia (airplants) will serve as decorative element and a botanical focal point while separating two spaces. The glass feels airy and its transparency allows light to pass through, keeping the space from becoming dark.
Free-Standing Green Partitions and Screens
Attached to free-standing frames, you can transform many inexpensive objects into hanging vertical gardens. Using thin metal cables, hang planted rain gutters in rows to form a living vertical partition. Drill small holes on the bottoms of the gutters for drainage. If using them indoors, construct a base that also serves as a reservoir to catch excess water, to protect your floors.
Although you can purchase felt pocket planters, you can also upcycle over-the-door shoe pockets into vertical gardens. You may choose to spray paint them first in a color of your choice, and once planted, suspend them from the ceiling using long wires or hang them from the top of a free-standing frame.
Multi-Functional Living Partitions
Living partitions may be two-sided, simultaneously bringing life to not just one, but two spaces. Back-to-back bookshelves filled on one side with plants can do double duty by dividing one area with greenery while serving as a library on the other.
Stacked crates take on new life when arranged at varying heights, each facing different sides of the space – plants on one side, storage for just about anything on the other. The crates can be set up to create a symmetrical checkerboard effect, or staggered more randomly without a specific pattern. Recycling objects isn’t just environmentally-friendly, it’s a great solution for short-term living spaces like college dormitories.
Similarly, plant the openings of inexpensive concrete masonry blocks with succulents, then configure them horizontally and vertically to make a living wall indoors or out.
Reclaimed and Upcycled
Plants added to upcycled found objects can make for eco-friendly partitions with an added element of whimsy. A discarded dresser becomes a green space partition when the open drawers overflow with plants. Stagger the length of the extended drawers, pulling the bottom one out the farthest and the others less as you get to the top. Line the drawers with plastic to form a water barrier, then place potted plants inside.
Secured to a base, tall fallen twigs or thin branches set closely together can form a natural room divider to soften a contemporary space or act as a rustic and natural accent while also providing privacy.
Discarded wooden pallets take on new life when planted. Secure them vertically to a base for a freestanding partition and fill with whichever plants grow best according to the available light.
Old or new, natural or painted, unfolded wooden step ladders become instant space dividers with the placement of potted plants on their steps.
Hooked on Pots
People can get attached to their plants and potted pots. Using inexpensive plant clips and hangers or utility hooks, attach ordinary containers to wood lattice panels, trellises, or slatted fence material with horizontal openings. By hanging plants on them, many types of readily available fencing panels become living walls and vertical gardens. As the plants are in individual containers, they can be easily moved or replaced.
Using these same pot hooks, many other found or purchased objects can become vertical gardens. The addition of a few planters to a simple three-panel hinged folding screen will morph it into a vertical garden.
Good Fences Make Good (and Private) Neighbors
These green fences are more suited to outdoors where they can be watered as a unit, rather than individually. If using them indoors, you will need to remove each potted plant for watering and make sure they are thoroughly drained before hanging them up again.
Outdoors, these fences will give you a bit of privacy from neighbors without blocking them off completely; indoors they can replace walls to separate spaces and offer privacy.
In the yard, install sturdy cedar fence posts into the ground, then string thin wire cables end to end from the top about a foot apart. Using the plant hangers, hang planted terra cotta pots in rows. The closer the pots are to each other, the more privacy you create.
Living Walls Are a Breath of Fresh Air
In addition to working as partitions, offering privacy, and beautifying spaces, vertical gardens offer numerous benefits. According to NASA, bringing plants indoors improves air quality by filtering airborne toxins. Plants may also have a calming effect. Research has demonstrated significant improvements in people’s health and wellness when they are exposed to green spaces.
There’s no space too small or too large to reconfigure, divide, or make private using a vertical gardening system – it’s never too late to grow up!