As a business owner, you’re probably interested in finding ways to incorporate natural touches of beauty around the office. While your building might not have a large plot of land for a traditional garden, chances are good that you have an interior or exterior wall that could use a little greening up. How about a vertical garden?
Vertical gardens 101
Mother Nature Network explains why the popularity of vertical gardens is on the rise; instead of needing a wide and flat space to grow, a vertical plot uses an existing wall to create a place of beauty. As a bonus, and depending on what plants you choose, a vertical garden can be grown either indoors, outdoors or both. In addition to looking really cool, My Plant Connection outlines how vertical gardens provide a nice variety of tangible benefits: insulation for the outside of a building, and reduction of the urban heat island effect.
A vertical garden can also protect the building’s exterior by shielding it against the harsh rays of the sun and the driving rain. A vertical garden is also inherently insulating, which means it can make an office more energy-efficient and use less power to heat and cool the building. Vertical gardens outside can also block unattractive but necessary objects like dumpsters and recycling stations, HVAC units and electric meters; a screen can be placed in front of these objects and the vertical plants grow on the screen to hide anything you don’t want passers-by to see.
Health benefits of vertical gardens
An indoor vertical garden provides all of the health benefits that traditional plants offer. The garden detoxifies the air, reducing inside pollution and removing VOCs and other nasty toxic substances like formaldehyde and benzene from the office air. For offices with high ceilings and open spaces, a well-placed vertical garden will absorb some noise for a more calm and stress-free environment.
Green Plants for Green Buildings cites a variety of studies proving how plants make office workers more productive while also reducing their stress levels. In general, people who work in businesses that include plants are an average of 12 percent more productive than those who are in “green-less” offices.
How to create a vertical garden
Ready to take the proverbial plunge and add a vertical garden to your office? There are plenty of places to gather inspiration. A good example is the four-story “biowall” at the University of Guelph-Humber Building. This biofilter is the mother ship of vertical gardens: installed more than 10 years ago, it acts as a natural indoor air purifier and helps to keep the building cool in the summer.
Spend some time researching and refer to the FTD website, which features an entire section on green plants that would look right at home in a vertical garden. In addition, the Self Sufficient Living website features 15 vertical garden ideas, including a collection of two-litre pop bottles made into planters that are attached to a wall. Last, visit 500eco for beautiful and inspiring photos of the famous vertical garden in Milan, billed as the largest vertical garden in the world.