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: