Creating a sustainable living wall requires careful planning and good communication.
Coordination and Shop Drawings
Coordination is the key to a successful project. We prepare a detailed set of shop drawings, integrating our living wall system into the site’s architectural plans, specifying points of connection, stating MEP requirements, and outlining the scope of any work being carried out by Habitat Horticulture and any other subcontractors and consultants involved. Included in our submittals with the shop drawings are material schedules, LEED submittals, written specifications, and water usage calculations.
The most celebrated feature of any living wall is the plants. Thus, one of the most critical steps during design is plant selection. Our approach thoroughly examines the micro-climates, potential growth rates and lighting conditions to ensure the right species is specified for the right spot on the wall. Foliage color, leaf texture, flowering times, and seasonal interest are all taken into consideration to create living compositions that highlight the unique qualities of each species while forming a visually impressive whole. To better acquaint the client with each species, we provide images, physical samples and a plant palette page with a description of each plant.
Each and every living wall is thoughtfully designed to provide a unique multi-sensory experience and a sense of place that harmonizes with the architecture and natural surroundings. David Brenner works closely with the architect and/or owner to create each composition in order to capture their inspiration and initial vision of the living wall. Once realized, various concepts and artistic renderings are presented to the client and are reviewed for approval. From there, a planting elevation and plant schedule are submitted for record and the plant procurement process begins.
We plant the seeds for success, from waterproofing to irrigation.
Living Wall System
Habitat Horticulture is a one-stop living wall shop. Our team performs all work aside from plumbing and electrical – we waterproof the existing wall, build the framework, install the living wall system and the irrigation/recirculation systems and of course, we place the plants.
How, where and when the plants are installed in a living wall will notably affect its health and long-term success and the integrity of the design. Our installation crew is composed of professional horticulturists and specialized vertical gardeners who carefully handle plants to minimize transplant shock and maximize acclimation. Depending on the installation, we will either pre-grow panels off-site or plant on-site.
Commissioning & Training
The final step in any installation is commissioning and training. Since every site and living wall is different, fine-tuning the irrigation/fertigation, controls, and lighting systems is critical in ensuring each plant is getting the optimal amount of water, nutrients, and light. During this process we also train key personnel and building management in ongoing maintenance and operations.
Every garden needs a gardener.
A living wall is a constantly evolving installation, and its ongoing success relies on maintenance and care. Careful selection of the plant palette, composition, and irrigation system design will play a major role in determining a project’s ongoing maintenance needs. Some systems are completely automated and tied into the Building Monitoring System with multiple fail-safe sensors and remote monitoring capabilities, while others are as simple as manually filling up a reservoir once per week. Most of our living walls are followed up with weekly or monthly maintenance schedules to ensure the system is functioning properly and that the wall continues to look vibrant throughout the year.
Our horticultural knowledge and vertical gardening expertise enable us to promote ideal growing conditions using organic, non-toxic materials that are safe for you and the environment. One of our most important objectives in every project is minimizing future problems and client hassle, and that goes hand in hand with our commitment to sustainable practices. Strategies include using an Integrated Pest Management program (IPM) to mitigate pests and eliminate the use of toxic pesticides.
It’s important to remember that in constructing a living wall we’re jump-starting an ecosystem. We make sure the living wall is accessible to maintenance technicians so that the plants will never be neglected. We work out the answers to important questions early on – for example, will the wall be accessed by ladder or scissor lift, ropes, or swing stage, and how will each of those components get to and from the wall?