As most of you know, we are in the process of try­ing to ren­o­vate a his­toric build­ing on Fair­field Avenue in Belle­vue, KY. Recent­ly a $35,000 urban revi­tal­iza­tion grant came up for grabs. We felt that our project met the qual­i­fi­ca­tions, and sub­mit­ted an appli­ca­tion. We ulti­mate­ly did not get the grant, but I learned some amaz­ing things along the way. Our grant appli­ca­tion was focused on the façade and green space that would be front and cen­ter on the Avenue. Once our project is com­plete, there will be a need for land­scap­ing, and irri­ga­tion. While work­ing with a local sus­tain­abil­i­ty expert I was intro­duced to the con­cept of liv­ing walls.

Liv­ing walls are exact­ly what they sound like. They can take many forms, rang­ing from plants grow­ing up a trel­lis to plants cas­cad­ing down the side of a struc­ture to plants grow­ing in a medi­um direct­ly attached to the build­ing. Once our project is fin­ished we will have a rather bland façade that the sus­tain­abil­i­ty expert sug­gest­ed we make a liv­ing wall. Our liv­ing wall was sup­posed to look some­thing like this:

Whole Food NYC Liv­ing Wall

I find this idea to be a won­der­ful way to turn some­thing “blah” into a liv­ing piece of art. PLUS, there are plen­ty of oth­er ben­e­fits as well:

  • Reduce tem­per­a­ture fluctuations
  • Pro­tect the façade from the elements
  • Low­er ener­gy con­sump­tion by up to 20%
  • Improve air quality
  • Improve acoustics by absorb­ing sound
  • Increase prop­er­ty val­ue by up to 20%

What­ev­er the scale of the project, there are a few things to con­sid­er before installing a liv­ing wall. The most impor­tant con­sid­er­a­tion is weight. Each square foot of liv­ing wall can weigh an aver­age of 33lbs when ful­ly sat­u­rat­ed. Before instal­la­tion you may need to rein­force your struc­ture. Liv­ing walls must also be water­proofed to pro­tect the struc­ture being used for sup­port, and final­ly the sys­tem needs appro­pri­ate irrigation.

If you are not quite ready for a full-blown Liv­ing Wall instal­la­tion you can try your hand at these DIY projects to spruce up you space.

Hang­ing Gut­ter Garden


Fer­n’s Pal­let Garden

For more infor­ma­tion on large scale instal­la­tions or to view more pic­tures please vis­it these sites: