Add a lush, verdant feel to the drabbest urban courtyard or bring life to your living room with a wall of plants
Houzz Contributor. I’m a London-based journalist with years of experience writing… More
Vertical gardens – also known as green or living walls – are having a moment. They’re a stylish, modern way to add greenery to urban outdoor areas, but they also work indoors. Use one to revive a boring courtyard, to add privacy, or to cheer up an uninspiring view. Alternatively, fill that tall, blank wall on the landing with greenery, or simply give a quiet reading corner some life.
There are many ways to create your own verdant vertical, from the structural – building up a wall outside from which plants can cascade, or creating a frame to replace a fence – to the small scale, such as a frame made to hang above the fireplace or a plant pocket system to which you can add as you go. And if plant care isn’t for you, investigate the increasingly impressive range of artificial greenery now available.
Let’s Go Outside…
Use plants as art
When it comes to vertical gardens, less can be more. Combine just one or two varieties of plants for an eye-catching display. In this courtyard, soft, trailing plants and more sculptural succulents have been ‘framed’ for a cool, modern effect.
Change your view
Don’t have romantic vistas of forests and hills from your bedroom window? No problem. One of the beauties of vertical gardens is that you can create your own view – building high if you need to. Ask a landscape designer or builder to construct a support for plants in awkward spaces.
If plants are out of reach, investigate automatic gravity irrigation systems, which can feed water in via a hose.
Overload on trellis
Utilise fencing that encourages climbers for a gradual, green wall effect. This stylish courtyard sports two tiers of green trellis: greenery spills lushly over at the top, window-box-style, while, below, climbing plants make their way up wire guides attached to the wall.
It already looks great, but when the two planting styles grow enough to meet, the homeowners will have a lush focal point.
Protect your privacy
The beauty of vertical gardens is they can be installed anywhere, not only where flowerbeds already exist. This formal, bespoke frame adds drama and greenery to a brick driveway while screening off the neighbour’s patch.
If you’re a gardening novice, get advice from local specialists about which plants will thrive.
Browse 10 beautiful garden fences and walls
Combine plants with leaves of varying shapes, textures and colours for a pretty, carpet-like look. Choose shrubs that won’t droop or overgrow – seek professional advice if you’re uncertain. And pick varieties with similar maintenance and watering needs, so your living wall stays uniformly lush.
If you love the idea of a vertical garden, but can’t imagine getting round to it – cheat! It’s easy to pick up hanging pots and they don’t need to be fancy – a display of several vertical rows can make a charming display. Just remember to keep your watering can on hand during dry spells. With the right pots, this is an idea that could work equally well indoors, too.
Who says a living wall has to actually be alive? If you have a barren spot where plants just don’t thrive, or your fingers are far from green, follow the artificial route. The standard of fake plants has improved enormously in recent years.
This London mews house had a fully glazed rear facade but a boring view. Now artificial panels sit in a modern timber-clad frame with fibre-optic lighting at night for extra atmosphere, creating a gorgeous green view at all times.
Refresh with colour
Make your containers the stars along with your plants. A vertical wall of bright hanging plant pockets adds a shot of vivid Mediterranean colour to this sweet garden hideaway while neatly screening off the dining area. The beauty of pockets like these is you can build your wall as you go, or hang just two or three if space is tight.
Break things up
If a huge expanse of vertical planting feels a little too difficult, copy this trick instead. White-painted tongue-and-groove is broken up with small squares and rectangles of foliage for a more manageable, but still pretty, effect.
To recreate something like this, you could also use pockets, or seek out individual, wall-mountable flat containers, both of which should be simple to plant up and install.
Bring the Look Inside…
Capitalise on a skylight
With houseplants back big time, a vertical garden indoors can be the logical next step. This inspiring living area has a conservatory feel thanks to the bold wall of lush, almost tropical foliage. The skylight provides plenty of sunshine for botanical sustenance.
DIY your reading nook
This cute and achievable idea uses whitewashed old stacking pallets to create ‘living’ shelves for plants. Decide which way up to hang your pallets, then add pieces of wood to each of the original ‘feet’ – the bits that would have been on the underside of the pallet when it was being used for transporting heavy loads.
Line each new cavity with plastic (quality carrier bags would do the trick) using a staple gun and then fill with soil and your plants. Attach them so they’re easy to unhook from the wall – you might want to do the messy job of planting outdoors.
Think in parallel lines
Be creative – you don’t necessarily need to purchase the entire contents of your local garden centre for a gorgeous vertical garden. Five carefully curated climbing jasmines add an uplifting touch to this pared-back and (importantly) light-drenched Scandi space.
Discover how to create the perfect indoor garden
Divide and rule
Want something more creative than a feature fireplace or photography project? Use a green wall as a feature to break up living and dining areas in an open-plan room. It’s a great way to add colour, and a conversation piece for house guests.
Work the wall
What could be simpler than wall-mounting a few potted plants? Yet this simple trick can give a living room an inspiring, modern feel. In this light-filed industrial space, a built-in planter below the pots adds another element of vibrant greenery.
Have you gone for a green wall? Tell us how and where you created yours in the Comments below.