It used to be that vertical gardening was just having a few hanging baskets on your porch and of course they still look stunning, but other options are many and varied! Vertical gardening is becoming popular and while many of the most stunning examples would be hard to recreate at home, the principle is easy enough to include in your garden, especially if you’re limited on space.
Many of the world’s most stylish buildings are going green with entire buildings being clad in foliage, such as the Athenaeum Hotel in London. A living wall is created by fixing slats to the walls and securing a special kind of felt on to which plants root which is then watered by an automatic irrigation system that can also supply liquid feed. Like any other garden selections, the plants are chosen that will thrive in the local climate and condition and the green wall cladding creates a habitat for birds and insects.
We used a living wall in our Upstairs, Downstairs garden to add life to an access alley that was originally just paving and a brick wall.
Planting on a roof can also be an idea but the eventual weight of the plants needs to be taken into account.
In one of our designs we created a contemporary Garden Room but the view from upstairs was spoilt by the roof of the room below. To soften the outlook we created a sedum roof.
The plants are grown on a ‘blanket’ that is harvested like turf and installed by rolling out on top of waterproofing. The blankets are very lightweight, easy to maintain, provide instant greening to the roof and are used for ecological benefits or its aesthetic appearance.
If you have limited space you can grow climbers on trellis structures, climbing roses can be trained to spiral round posts in the back of a border, or any climbing plants can create a living roof over your pergola.
Plant your walls, too by using fan-trained, espalier or cordon fruit trees to cover them, or grow against your walls, semi-tender shrubs that may not survive the winter out in the open since the walls will store warmth.
You can also create a trellis structure and grow climbers over it as a quick way to screen off unsightly views.
Plant climbers up through trees by digging a large planting hole some distance from the trunk, at the “drip line” round the edge of the leaf-canopy. Put the climber in the hole and encourage it up into the tree with ropes or a sloping pole, so that the tree roots won’t compete with the new plant for food and water.
You can also plant climbers or wall-trained trees and shrubs against walls.
In more confined spaces you can use half baskets attached to bare walls in narrow alleyways or on outbuildings, to create planting pockets in wasted spaces.
So there are many options to try that may not have been immediately obvious. Start planning how you are going to make some of the bare spaces more attractive!