One of the best additions to your home comes in the form of a plant, and although most people equate this to the standard house plant or their outside garden, there’s a new trend emerging that brings even more of this greenery indoors.
An indoor green wall or vertical garden built the right way, brings many benefits to the average home, and it’s something you can create for yourself.
These green walls vary in shape, size, and contents, and it’s up to the homeowner to decide how to build it best. They have lots of benefits when they’re placed indoors like having access to living things inside and fresher air in the home, but their beautiful looks are a major part of the appeal.
How do you make an indoor green wall at home?
First, you need to establish what type of wall you want, the plants you want to grow, and how it will be watered and maintained. From there, you’ll have an idea of what’s possible and the materials you need, so you have to assess your existing indoor space first.
Having a vertical garden inside your home can bring a lot of joy and relaxation, along with their other benefits.
If you’ve been thinking about adding this unique living structure to your home, check out our definitive guide to indoor green walls and find out what they’re all about.
- 1 What is a Green Wall?
- 2 The Benefits of Green Walls
- 3 Deciding on the Best Vertical Garden
- 4 How to Make a Green Wall Indoors
- 5 Keeping Your Plants Hydrated
- 6 Ongoing Maintenance and Care
- 7 Related Questions
What is a Green Wall?
A green wall is a term used to describe any type of garden that’s grown vertically, and usually on a wall.
A green wall features a range of different plant species designed to thrive in the environment they’re placed in, and with hopefully minimal care.
An indoor green wall is one of these vertical gardens placed inside the home. There’s no limit to what room of the house you might grow one, however, many people find they suit best in the kitchen or living areas.
For an indoor vertical garden green wall, there are some key differences to the outside models. Most importantly, they should be rear draining which allows them to receive irrigation without making a mess, and the wall planets will need to be large enough to hold excess soil, as it can be hard to change their pots once they start to grow.
There’s no limit to the types of plants you can grow on an indoor green wall, provided it suits the conditions inside. You’ll have to consider temperatures, sunlight, irrigation, and general care before deterring which ones are best, and if you’d rather not purchase one of the ready-made kits or walls, there are ways you can develop one for yourself.
The Benefits of Green Walls
Just one look at a thriving green wall tells you everything you need to know about their popularity, but as well as being visually pleasing, there are lots of other benefits they offer.
If you’re considering installing a vertical garden inside your house, these are just a few of the advantages you’ll get:
- Air quality
Plants have a natural process of reducing harmful toxins in the air, and when you spend a lot of your time indoors where there is the most pollution, this is good news. Your wall garden can also act as an air purifier and help to improve the quality of what you’re breathing in day and night.
- Food production
It’s common for indoor green walls to be placed in the kitchen as they’re able to supply the home with fresh herbs, vegetables, and fruit. Some of these gardens can be grown specifically for food production so you have a sustainable and renewable way of feeding your family.
- Visually pleasing
No matter the size, shape, or contents of an indoor green wall, there’s no denying they’re aesthetically pleasing. This is one of the best ways to boost your home’s interior design in an eco-friendly way.
- Improved mental health
Numerous studies have proven the benefits that indoor plants can have on our mental wellbeing, and with something as large as a green wall, it will only be better. One study, in particular, found that indoor places reduces tension and anxiety by 37 percent, and reduces anger by 44 percent.
Research has shown that because a plant is capable of improving air quality, this leads to a direct boost in productivity for most people. If you study or work in this space, or just need some motivation to get up and get on with your day, an indoor green wall can be just the ticket.
Deciding on the Best Vertical Garden
With all of the benefits in mind, most people are eager to get to work designing their green wall or vertical garden.
However, before you can jump right in, there’s some planning to do, so consider each of these things to help you come up with the best solution:
You might already have a good idea about where you want your green wall to go, like in the kitchen or living room, but consider some other things about this space before you forge ahead. What is the sunlight like, how are temperatures in this area, and will it be placed somewhere that allows the home to reap its benefits best?
The plants you decide to grow will have a major impact on the wall’s success, and they must be chosen to suit your climate and their indoor habitat. A shade-tolerant plant is best for inside, and they should have a shallow root system otherwise they will outgrow the vertical garden space.
- Irrigation system
There are lots of options for how you’ll keep your plants watered on a green wall. Most of these options are sustainable water systems that allow any excess water to be pumped back into it, so there’s no waste. The options include pipe networks, built-in watering networks, and drip irrigation that works with the help of gravity.
- Commitment and experience
Consider yourself when planning a vertical garden and be honest about how much time and commitment you’re willing to put in. more experienced gardeners will understand about ongoing maintenance and care, but if you’re a beginner think about the potential tasks you’ll have to do like pruning, weed control, and keeping the wall at the right height.
How to Make a Green Wall Indoors
There are lots of ready-made green wall structures available to purchase, but it is possible to make a simple green wall yourself at home.
If you’d rather take the DIY approach, you can use a few simple tools and the right choice in plants to construct a vertical garden without the hefty price tag.
The Installation Process
To make a DIY green wall inside your house is easy, and you have the option to make it as large or small as you desire.
Follow these steps to get the basic foundation of your green wall started, before moving onto the plant selection.
- Find an ideal space in the home if the area you’ve chosen. You’ll need a solid wall or fence, or even a portable wall that can be moved around if needed.
- Mark out the positions of the planets of the wall with a pencil and then screw in treated battens around 15 inches apart horizontally, and another 15 inches vertically. This will enable you to place one plant in each of these with adequate room to grow. Use a spirit level to check everything is even as you go along.
- Attach one plastic planter to each batten you’ve screwed in and ensured it’s fastened in place. With all of the planters lined up, check to make sure everything is even.
Choosing the Best Plants for a Green Wall
For an indoor vertical garden, some plants will perform better than others. These are shade-tolerant plants that add a good texture to a wall and are easy enough to care for.
- Ficus leaf
A ficus is shiny and healthy-looking, with leaves varying between reds and greens. Having a ficus on your vertical garden can be good for areas that still get sunlight, as they’re able to withstand some UV, but do best as an indoor plant that’s kept in the shade.
- Laurel leaf
A laurel is key to making your garden have some volume, as their leaves are small but plentiful. This leaf is adaptable to both indoor and outdoor settings, so if you ever decide to move your wall outdoors, it will perform just as well.
There are loads of good indoor ferns that thrive in the conditions inside a home. By utilizing more than one type of fern, you’ll get a very distinct look, but all with the low maintenance that these plants are known for.
Planting the Plants
The final stage is planting your chosen plants into the wall’s planters. This step is about lining everything up and making sure the green wall is neat.
The key to a thriving wall is one where plants have enough space to grow, but also one that is aesthetically pleasing.
- With the plants chosen and enough to fill all of the pots that are placed on the wall, you can now get to work planting them. You can choose to keep them in their plastic pots or move them straight into the planters.
- Perform a watering with a can or indoor hose to make sure the soil is moist, and if you decide to later, you can consider adding an irrigation system to make the watering automatic.
Keeping Your Plants Hydrated
The irrigation system of a green wall is perhaps the most important part, as, without it, your plants will go thirsty and start to suffer.
In this type of indoor garden, there are three categories that your irrigation can fall into. Which is best will depend on how much effort and money you want to spend, the size of your garden, and any other specifics you want to achieve.
Recirculating Irrigation System
A recirculating irrigation system is powered by an irrigation tank that holds the water. This can be turned on and off remotely or directly underneath the garden, and it requires the tank to be filled regularly with fresh water.
The pump connected to the tank delivers water to the back of the green wall so that it reaches the soil. Gravity does its work by dragging the water downwards, so whatever isn’t’ used can then be collected. This excess water is fed back into the irrigation tank and used over and over again, so it’s a sustainable and environmentally friendly way to keep them watered.
Direct Irrigation System
Direct irrigation implies a system that delivers fresh water direct from a source like a water pipe or water main and into the garden. This water is channeled straight to the soil and plants without the need for a pump, as it has enough pressure coming from the pipes.
The water is also pulled down, thanks to gravity, but rather than being recirculated, it is fed out to a sewer drain. This isn’t the most eco-friendly option, but it can be the only choice for some vertical gardens, depending on their setup.
If you don’t want to go to the expense and time of setting up an irrigation system, you might prefer to water the plants yourself. This can be done simply with a watering can or a small indoor hose, and allows you to monitor how much is being fed to the plants.
You can still set up an excess water collector underneath the plants which can be used to water them the next time, so nothing is wasted. This is a good option for smaller green wall setups or for people who would rather be in control of the watering schedule of their plants.
Ongoing Maintenance and Care
As with any garden or plant in your care, there’s more to do than just the initial step of planting it.
More than a regular houseplant, these green walls need ongoing maintenance and care in addition to their feeding and watering schedule, so it’s a constant job to keep one thriving.
The maintenance phase should be considered in the initial stages when planning your wall so that you choose something that suits your commitment. There are options for low maintenance vertical gardens if this is all you’re able to commit to, and some that require hands-on and serious care to keep thriving and in the best condition.
When planting your new vertical garden and choosing which plants you’ll use, keep in mind that these ongoing maintenance tasks will need to come into the equation as well:
- Checking for weeds and controlling outbreaks with pruning and other methods of removal.
- Inspections of the support structure to look for signs of weakness and areas that need repair.
- Making sure plants and their roots are only growing in the vertical garden’s structures and not starting to protrude or make their way into nearby walls and other fixtures.
- The ongoing removal of plant waste like leaves, twigs, and garden clippings.
- Keeping the levels and appearance of the wall consistent, by either adding new plants or removing parts that have overgrown.
- Understanding common plant diseases and knowing what to look out for in the plants on your green wall.
An indoor green wall can bring lots of benefits to your home including improved mental health, a sustainable source of food, and a visually pleasing feature.
For more ideas on ways you can make your home greener, check out our answers to some commonly asked questions about being eco-friendly to find out more.
What is Eco-Friendly Furniture Made Of?
There are ways to choose furniture that has less of an environmental impact, otherwise, you can shop second hand to reuse something that is no longer wanted by the original owner.
Look for brands and products made with recycled and reclaimed materials, as well as new ones made of sustainable materials like bamboo, wood, glass, and iron.
Which Plants Are Best for Purifying the Air?
If you want indoor plants that work actively to purify the air, there are some reported to be more effective than others.
Devil’s Ivy, Peace Lily, Boston Fern, and Dwarf Date Palms are all easy choices to grow and have purifying capabilities that can improve the air quality in your home with enough of them present.
What is the Most Eco-Friendly Flooring?
If you’re building a new home or renovating and need to upgrade your flooring, there are some good sustainable options out there.
Bamboo, cork, concrete, and wool carpet are all available as floor coverings and have less of an environmental impact to source raw materials for and to install.