How to Make a Living Wall

Follow this step-by-step guide on how to make a living wall from scratch.

November 2014

In The Urban Gardener (Mitchell Beazley, 2014), garden designer and lecturer Matt James provides an approachable, practical guide to making the most of an urban garden, including 15 step-by-step projects. The following excerpt from the section, “Planting the Urban Garden,” instructs on how to make a living wall. 

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: The Urban Gardener.

Living wall how-to

With a little ingenuity you can fashion a vertical garden or living-wall system from scratch — I've seen one made from old wooden pallets and plastic coffee cups! However, it's easier (and cleaner!) to use a prefabricated unit specially designed for the job.

Specially designed modules, filled with compost, are ideal at home: they're cheaper to install than hydroponic mats; have few (if any) working parts that need replacing; and looking after them is no more difficult than tending a group of small pots on the patio. The two basic types have breathable felt 'pockets' or rigid plastic ones. Always choose a spot with the plants in mind before constructing any vertical garden.