A living wall is either a hedge that is entirely composed of plants, such as trimmed shrubs, or a wall that is partially or completely covered by plants. The latter is commonly referred to as a “green wall”, particularly with the development of recent technological innovations that allow for walls to be entirely covered by irrigated living plants.
Living walls help to reduce local wind speeds, traffic noise, and localized temperature extremes (urban heat islands) by shading and converting liquid water to water vapour (evapotranspiration) which cools the air. They help to improve air quality by reducing dust and particulates and help to reduce the amount of heat lost from a home. Another significant benefit is the increase in biodiversity, along with aid for food and shelter for wildlife.
Living walls may have a positive impact on both physical and mental health and wellbeing. Green views and access to green spaces in cities help and relieve the everyday pressures of crowding and noise. They may have a positive impact on crime reduction since residents living in ‘greener’ surroundings actually report lower levels of fear, fewer incivilities, and less violent behavior. Living walls can benefit communities socially by instilling higher public esteem and pride for an area.
Living walls are unlikely to be graffitied, improve the quality and perception of the urban environment, and can provide security as a dense and natural barrier for unwanted guests.
Living walls can have seasonal variations in colour, growth, flowers, and perfume which provide all year round interest.
Living walls can provide local fruit and vegetation for the community.