Green wall at Habitat Horticulture

This is a project completed by Habitat Horticulture located in California at Bay Meadows Welcome Center.

Green wall at Univ. of Guelph

The green wall pictured here is located at the University of Guelph-Humber in Toronto.2 It is 18 meters tall and made up of 1000 plants. The university has fully integrated the wall into its ventilation system, which recycles air and helps the university consume less energy. Instead of a normal ventilation system that replaces old building air with new air from outside, the green wall recycles the air!

Green wall

An easy-to-make green wall for home use.

By Shawn Farrell

Each intern in the Nature Academy internship program at Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum chooses a summer project to research and report on. The project culminates in a poster displayed in Matthaei’s public indoor spaces. Interns also write a blog post about their project concept or the research they’ve conducted.

The second month of my internship at Matthaei Botanical Gardens is coming to a close, I’ve been helping knock out Matthaei-Nichols projects left and right, and now my own project is in full swing. Before I had any clue what that project was going to be, I remember talking with another intern, Kevin Bechard, about sustainable architecture. He showed me the Living Building Challenge, which requires new buildings to pass seven “petal” requirements, which are performance areas for the building: place, water, energy, health, materials, equity, and beauty. Thus began my fascination with green and sustainable building practices. Eventually I stumbled upon green walls (also known as living walls or vertical gardens) and they are beautiful, innovative, and sustainable.

A wall that is completely covered with plants is the new architecture trend. And not only does a green wall look really cool: its implementation comes with many benefits. The wall of plants absorbs carbon dioxide, filters pollutants, regulates temperatures, reduces ambient noise, and physical well-being can be improved with the presence of plants1. Green walls can be found indoors and out. They can be four stories tall or 100 feet long and they can contain hundreds of plants. More information about the plants that could be used in a green wall will be provided in my project.

As urban expansion continues with more and more people moving into cities, existing green spaces are being overtaken by concrete and steel. Green wall designers have decided that it’s time to beautify the urban space and since there is little room to grow horizontally, vertical gardens are the perfect fit for city life.

My project will demonstrate how to create your own green wall at a relatively low price. Using a recycled pallet as the structure, some geotextile fabric, soil, an old garden hose, and some cool plants, anyone can have a green wall in their home or backyard. To the right is a great example I found on Pinterest of a small green wall made from a wood pallet.

My poster will be a more in-depth look at how I build the small green wall and it will include materials and plants that I use. I look forward to putting the wall together in the coming weeks!

Habitat Horticulture

University of Guelph-Humber


Shawn FarrellShawn Farrell is the field services/grounds intern working under Mike Stadler, Matthaei-Nichols facilities assistant. Shawn, from Kalamazoo, Mich., is a junior in Program in the Environment pursuing a degree in environmental studies and sustainability. He’s looking forward this summer to working outside every day at the Arb and Gardens, learning new skills from amazing supervisors, and improving his own skills. Shawn’s internship was made possible by Matthaei-Nichols members and individual donors.