Shop Living Walls – Green walls, also referred to as living walls, have become an increasingly popular solution for dressing up a plain, unattractive wall or fence. The VGP living wall product from Tournesol Site Works is an eco-friendly hanging tray system that gives you a quick, cost-effective way to add beauty and value to any compatible structure. One of the most important elements of any living wall installation is a solid plan. To get started, measure the area that you would like to cover. Each VGP mounting panel is 16 inches wide by 36 inches high and can support 8 to 12 planting trays, depending on how you space them. Use these dimensions to help you determine the number of panels and trays you will need to fill your space.
Also, make sure the structure can support the weight of the system. Depending on spacing, the weight per square foot can be as much as 30 pounds. Once you have the materials on hand, you can begin assembling the trays. Each assembly has four components: the tray, two anti-lift arms, an upper irrigation baffle and a lower base-plate. Designed for irrigation efficiency, the bottom of each VGP tray has a sub-irrigation reservoir that retains water to keep the plant hydrated between irrigation cycles. To prevent over saturation, an overflow drain routes the excess water to the tray below. Depending on your design, this drain can also be plugged or plumbed to divert water to a central drainage point.
The tray has three pairs of hooks that hold it securely to the mounting panel. When engaged, anti-lift arms help to prevent the tray from coming off the mount unexpectedly. The upper baffle helps disperse irrigation across the soil surface, providing even distribution, and the lower baffle allows excess water to filter through to the irrigation reservoir while keep soil and roots confined to the upper part of the tray. Once you have your trays assembled, you can add the plants. Each planting tray holds one four-inch plant or two plugs. For best results, plant in advance to allow for establishment before the trays are hung.
When selecting plants, consideration should be given to the general conditions for your geographic area, as well as possible micro conditions at the site, like temperature and sun exposure. Because plants used in a green wall are subject to greater stress than typical applications, you’ll want to select plants that are two steps hardier than the average for your geographic location. Check the online USDA plant hardiness map for details. With the trays completed, you can begin installing the panels. Depending on the structure you’re mounting to, the hardware may vary but should be one-quarter inch in size.
To provide a firm mounting base for your hardware and to prevent the corners from bending, C-shaped spacers are included with each panel. Use them to fill the void between the panel’s mounting points and the structure you’re mounting to. A spacer should also be used in between the interlocking mounting points of each panel when connecting adjacent panels. With the panels securely attached to the mounting surface, proceed with the installation of the irrigation system. Start by running half-inch or .710 poly lateral lines vertically between each column of trays. Secure them to the mounting panel with nylon zip ties, then cap off the upper end of each line.
Next, attach pressure compensating drip emitters to the lateral lines. Only one emitter per tray is required. Finally, run the quarter-inch distribution tubing from the emitter to the tray using a bug cap at the end. It’s important to note that more green walls fail because of improper irrigation than for any other reason. Program the irrigation controller to run frequent cycles for short durations. This will help to prevent the over watering that can occur from extended run times and will serve to keep the plant from drying out due to long intervals between watering cycles. For detailed instructions on building a Tournesol Site Works VGP living wall system, please refer to the manufacturer’s field guide.