12 years ago, ‘vertical gardens’ was a lost little keyword in a huge Google forest. “A passing fad, just a trend” many people said, as a crazy French botanist started cladding high rise buildings in Europe with living plants. A risky investment to attract buyers indeed, especially in this ‘sun burnt’ country’! Many designers and developers thought so, no one really knew much about looking after these Greenwalls either. Fast forward to today and with the focus on a cleaner environment, healthier living and a demand for home grown produce on the doorstep, vertical gardens are definitely IN and if you are selling a property, this WOW feature brings great return on investment. PRD nationwide Newcastle director Mark Kentwell believes gardens can have “a massive impact on the appeal to a buyer”.
Studies have shown that vegetation is essential for our well being. Productivity rises and patients heal faster in environments where vegetation is present. Vertical gardens also have a special place in the care of patients with dementia, sensory stimuli associated with gardens is being used to provoke memories in reminiscence therapy. With over 60% of the world’s population expected to be living in cities by 2030 we need to mitigate the urban heat island effect and provide food. Melbourne’s goal is to have a green canopy of 40% by 2040. Greenwalls combat pollution, reduce heating/cooling bills and have an important role to play in future urban farming. Strong arguments to support developers’ planning submissions.
How many designers are offering their clients this asset as ‘the norm’ though? Real estate agents are finding that apartments with a vertical garden or units retrofitted with a ‘green’ wall for food production are more attractive to potential purchasers than properties without this asset.
Including this popular yet practical design feature in property packages, whether for commercial or residential clients, will keep developers at the frontline of their industry. Designers can save clients exhaustive hours of research and uncertainty by installing a reliable, ‘ready to go’ vertical garden system that is easy to maintain. Vertical garden kits are available for builders to install themselves which enables them to instantly add a stunning point of difference to their properties without further outsourcing.
What a huge difference designers could make to the lifestyles of those who have ‘lost’ their gardens through downsizing or moving into Aged Care facilities. Biophilic design cannot be ignored for much longer so I would encourage designers to embrace the role that vertical gardens and living walls can play here. Vertical kitchen gardens help schools to wage war on childhood obesity. Hotels, colleges and office blocks are ripe for makeover lushness via a ‘green’ wow feature. A smart designer surely is gaining ground if they include this ‘feel good’ asset as an essential part of the biophilic beautification of our surroundings and the future health of us all?