A question we are frequently asked is why we include a maintenance agreement as part of our living wall packages. Understandably, maintaining a vertical garden may seem simple enough as it is caring for plants on a wall that need sunlight and water, right? Simply put, yes, the plants in living walls do require water and sunlight yes, however there is a lot more that goes into caring for these plants now suspended above ground.
Many of the plants used in our living walls would be found in gardens and natural environments. The range of plants we enjoy using thrive in our living walls, however these plants are elevated on the side of a building and growing higher than they would in a natural setting. Being positioned vertically does mean that some special skill and oversight it required. Just as caring for our own bodies and health requires attention and care, the nutrients and care required for each individual plant in a living wall is specific to that plant. In addition, it is important that the care is consistent as it ensures the plants will continue to thrive instead of receiving sporadic attention. This takes time. A living wall of approximately 40sqm, for example, will require several hours’ worth of maintenance and oversight per visit as every plant is checked and monitored.
What is it our maintenance teams look at when they care for the plants? Our skilled teams look at the living wall system as a whole to ensure that the hardware of the system is in fact and working; that the pump is reticulating water to all of the plants and that the grow-lights for indoor applications are providing sufficient light to those plants that need it most. When it comes to plant care, they are examining the levels of water, light and nutrients each plant is receiving, ensuring that thirstier plants get the correct levels they are needing. Plant shaping and deadheading (removing of dead flowers) in a vertical garden is an essential part of maintenance as it encourages growth and gives our living walls that full, lush look. Pest control is a critical part of each maintenance visit – catching and treating a pest on every plant ensures its continued health.
Maintenance of a living wall is not considered as an additional building cost, rather it is part of the building’s green architecture. The cost-saving element of having a living wall in or on the building adds up over time, evident in the protection the living wall gives to the exterior of a wall against the elements, for example. Buildings often require upkeep and repairs such as fresh painting and UV ray damage, which are mitigated with the establishment of a living wall on the building.
Our maintenance mission is to be aware of what the plants need before problems hit. Rather than dealing with the fall-out after the fact, we believe it is important to maintain each plant’s health right from the outset. As passionate as our teams are about providing water and light to each plant, their expertise enables them to do so much more and as a result, our living walls absolutely thrive!