10 Ways to Create an Uplifting Vertical Garden

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By Michele Koh Morollo / Published by Dwell
Creating a living green wall, also known as a vertical garden, is a refreshing, innovative, and eco-friendly way to bring color and life to your home or business.

Stanley Hart White, a professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois, pioneered living green walls in 1938 when he came up with the idea of "botanical bricks"—units of plants that can be built up to any height to create a vertical garden landscape. 

But it wasn’t until French botanist Patrick Blanc showed the world the first major vertical garden project at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris in 1986. This is when the green wall really took off as a popular treatment in sustainable architecture. 

Vertical gardens can be used as an artistic interior feature wall, or as a green facade that enhances privacy by creating a curtain of plants on the exterior of a building. 

Along with their pleasing visual effects, they also help increase oxygen in the air and reduce ambient noise. Green wall exterior facades can also help keep a building cool. Here are some ways that modern architects and interior designers are using vertical gardens to enliven their projects.  

Placing Plants Between Windows

10 Ways to Create an Uplifting Vertical Garden - Photo 1 of 10 - Thus Ukrainian apartment by SVOYA Studio has panels of green walls between the full-height windows that resemble modern versions of shag rugs.

Thus Ukrainian apartment by SVOYA Studio has panels of green walls between the full-height windows that resemble modern versions of shag rugs.

10 Ways to Create an Uplifting Vertical Garden - Photo 2 of 10 - Singapore practice Chang Architects incorporated internal green walls into this home that extend to the full-height of the tall building. It created a natural oasis within Tree House at Jalan Elok in the tropical "garden city" of Singapore.

Singapore practice Chang Architects incorporated internal green walls into this home that extend to the full-height of the tall building. It created a natural oasis within Tree House at Jalan Elok in the tropical "garden city" of Singapore.

10 Ways to Create an Uplifting Vertical Garden - Photo 3 of 10 - Cloaked in local flora on two sides with a grassy roof garden on top, this galvanized-box serves as a home studio for a jewelry designer in Vancouver.

Cloaked in local flora on two sides with a grassy roof garden on top, this galvanized-box serves as a home studio for a jewelry designer in Vancouver.

10 Ways to Create an Uplifting Vertical Garden - Photo 4 of 10 - Designed by sustainable Vietnamese practice Vo Trong Nghia, the Atlas Hotel in Hội An, Vietnam, has more that 100 cantilevered concrete planters. The trailing plants that overhang from the balconies create the effect of a green facade that shades the guest rooms from the strong sunshine. 

Designed by sustainable Vietnamese practice Vo Trong Nghia, the Atlas Hotel in Hội An, Vietnam, has more that 100 cantilevered concrete planters. The trailing plants that overhang from the balconies create the effect of a green facade that shades the guest rooms from the strong sunshine. 

10 Ways to Create an Uplifting Vertical Garden - Photo 5 of 10 - This well-considered botanical composition in a high-end apartment in New York looks as striking as its owners’ others art pieces that adorn the walls.

This well-considered botanical composition in a high-end apartment in New York looks as striking as its owners’ others art pieces that adorn the walls.

10 Ways to Create an Uplifting Vertical Garden - Photo 6 of 10 - If you live in an apartment but dream of having your own kitchen garden for herbs and baby greens, these Green Pocket tiles by Puerto Rico-based designer Maruja Fuentes will help you grow your own greens while boosting the life of your kitchen wall or backsplash.

If you live in an apartment but dream of having your own kitchen garden for herbs and baby greens, these Green Pocket tiles by Puerto Rico-based designer Maruja Fuentes will help you grow your own greens while boosting the life of your kitchen wall or backsplash.

10 Ways to Create an Uplifting Vertical Garden - Photo 7 of 10 - Espaço Espelho d' Água is a restaurant, cafeteria, and art gallery in Lisbon that was designed by Portuguese architecture and design studio DC.AD. The landscaping specialists at Vertical Garden Design created multiple green walls throughout the space. 

Espaço Espelho d' Água is a restaurant, cafeteria, and art gallery in Lisbon that was designed by Portuguese architecture and design studio DC.AD. The landscaping specialists at Vertical Garden Design created multiple green walls throughout the space. 

10 Ways to Create an Uplifting Vertical Garden - Photo 8 of 10 - Measuring 86 feet in length, the vertical garden at Bay Meadow's Welcome Center in San Mateo, California, was designed by CMG Landscape Architecture. They selected plants for their ability to promote the ecological health of the surrounding area.

Measuring 86 feet in length, the vertical garden at Bay Meadow's Welcome Center in San Mateo, California, was designed by CMG Landscape Architecture. They selected plants for their ability to promote the ecological health of the surrounding area.

10 Ways to Create an Uplifting Vertical Garden - Photo 9 of 10 - This house, aptly named "The Gardener" by Singapore practice Park+Associates Architects, has a green wall that's covered in plants next to a staircase that leads to the upper level of the house.

This house, aptly named "The Gardener" by Singapore practice Park+Associates Architects, has a green wall that's covered in plants next to a staircase that leads to the upper level of the house.

10 Ways to Create an Uplifting Vertical Garden - Photo 10 of 10 - To disrupt the viewer’s senses, a bicycle was added to this massive green wall inside the courtyard of an old colonial building in Mexico City.

To disrupt the viewer’s senses, a bicycle was added to this massive green wall inside the courtyard of an old colonial building in Mexico City.