Automatic irrigation systems cannot be trusted. When searching for a living wall designer and or installer it’s critical that questions are asked about how he/she plans to allow for irrigation failure.
To create a decent living wall it is easy to spend £5-10K. If the irrigation fails to turn on during a holiday period and the weather conditions are dry and hot it is perfectly reasonable to assume that many plants could be lost.
Whilst Garden Beet is keen to support the specification of living walls by interior designers, event organisers and architects there is concern that this key design issue is often overlooked by those without a horticultural background.
One of the biggest assumptions I find when discussing living walls with designers is that irrigation systems always work. This is not the case. Sometimes irrigation systems do not turn on and sometimes they do not turn off. The later scenario is a major concern for interior living walls as flooding can occur.
Be wary of any design firm that do not take this issue seriously. Designers need to demonstrate that irrigation has been carefully considered.
Even Patric Blanc, the father of vertical gardens, is not immune from the watering dramas of living walls. His new vertical garden at One Central Park in Chippendale, Australia has already undergone replanting since the living wall was installed in February 2013. Many plants were lost – and were lost very quickly – when the water source was cut by unsuspecting workers in the building and the vertical garden’s alarm system failed.
For discussion on living walls please refer to Garden Beet’s new Vertical Garden Living Wall Forum