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Greening Walls (free-standing / non load-bearing)

Non load-bearing (free-standing) walls, wall panels, partitions, retaining walls, etc.. can also be transformed into facade gardens, but the approach will be slightly different than the usual facade greening. This begins with the question of whether or not you want to cover the entire wall up to the wall coping, and whether the greenery shall be overhanging, etc.. In this section, we give examples of wall greening, from historical garden walls to modern retaining walls and sound barriers. You can find supplementary information under supporting/retaining wallsdry masonry, and gabions.

Virginia creeper on a church in Wanen / Sachsen Anhalt
Virginia creeper on a church in Wanen / Sachsen Anhalt

Greening with Self-Climbing Plants

'Self climbers' -- like wild vine and ivy (Boston and English ivy)-- for which climbing aids are unnecessary, are often used on such walls. When using these plants, however, it is particularly important that the wall is intact. The cope of the wall must be able to repel and drain all precipitation so that no water can penetrate from above, and all joints should be watertight so that the shoots of the plants cannot climb their way in (and cause potential damage to the structure). Climbing hydrangea and climbing spindle (winter creeper) are also suitable and less aggressive.

 

Ivy
Wall partially greened with Ivy, baroque castle garden Delitzsch / Saxony
Evergreen plant, possibly boxwood
Greened natural-stone masonry, probably boxwood
Overhanging ivy
Wall greened with ivy

Green walls with espalier fruit

This is the classic way of wall greening! Espaliers are trees that are given a strict shape to optimise space. In cooler areas of Central Europe, many plants love the stored warmth of a protective wall. They were traditionally planted at the foot of a stone wall, as the heat stored by the stones allows the fruit to ripen better. In the Baroque period, wall gardens with "talut walls" (free-standing roofed walls) were specially created to produce trellis fruits. Wooden trellises and horizontally spanned wire arrangements were also used; the latter inspired our cable system 8010.

Greening of an old 'talut wall' with grapevines
Greening of an old 'talut wall' with grapevines, Radebeul / Saxony
Trellis vine on an old garden wall, proliferation in spring
Old espalier wall with grapevines in Markwerben / Saale / Saxony-Anhalt
Peach and other trellis fruit on three horizontal wire-ropes
Peach and other trellis fruit on three horizontal wire-ropes
Vines on horizontal wires, budding
Espalier wall with vines on horizontal wires
Old garden with trellis walls
Old orchard with trellis walls similar to an all-sided courtyard greening, Potsdam / Brandenburg
Potted tomatoes
Tomato espalier on a wall
A 'green wall' thanks to many vines on wooden trellises
A green wall thanks to many grapevines on wooden trellises, Dornburger Schlösser / Thuringia

Climbing Supports on Walls

Climbing support is required for almost all plants except for ivy and 'wild vines' like boston ivy or virginia creeper. Cable systems from FassadenGrün can also be used on non load-bearing walls; especially fitting are the elongated forms 8010 and 8020. When necessary, several cable systems (such as 40104020, or those from the 6000 category) can be grouped next to each other.

When mounting into natural stone masonry or brick, keep a 20cm distance from all edges to prevent cracking. For more information, refer to the manual on 'drilling work for climbing aids'. Even in the range of 25 – 40cm spacing on such walls, mounting should be done 'expansion-pressure free'--  so, no rawl plugs/dowels. Use composite mortar instead.

Thicket creeper budding, trellis made of wire netting/mesh.
Thicket creeper on a climbing grid of wire mesh
Clematis on cable system 5050
Wall greening with clematis on wire rope
Clematis on vertical wall protrusions, trellis cable system 4010
Climbing support cables for clematis
Espalier fruit on wire rope system 8010
Cable arrangement similar to our system 8020
Zigzag cable arrangement
Climbing hydrangea on cable analogous to our 1020
Border area with a crack through the masonry (too much pressure from the wall mount)
Crack due to too much pressure of wall mount in wall's edge area
Clematis on system 6060
Wall greening with clematis
Vines in fan form; horizontal steel bars in wall eyelets accentuate the horizontal lines (note: horizontal cables in urban areas are prone to vandalism because of the ladder effect-- people climbing up).
Green wall

Modern Walls and Materials

Modern walls - usually made of concrete or precast concrete elements - lend themselves well to greening. Installing cable systems is easier than with older walls. There is a lower risk of cracking the wall at the cope and edges, and less risk of climbing plant tendrils crawling into the masonry.

 

Sound barriers at the edge of motorways are prime candidates for greening. Climbing plants make the unsightly presence of these walls more bearable in the urban landscape. When all factors-- a rapid wall growth coverage, evergreen vegetation growth, minimal maintenance, low water requirement, inexpensive or no climbing aid-- cannot be reconciled, priorities must be set. The planting then complies with these factors. There are even scientific studies and long-term experiments on the greening of sound barriers. Please note the information under supporting walls, as well as dry stone walls and gabion.

Retaining wall made of pre-fab concrete, modified cable system 1060, heavy kit
Greened wall with horizontal cables
Evergreen honeysuckle, similar to our system 4030; object greening of a concrete wall
Object greening of a wall slab with evergreen honeysuckle
Ivy on cable system 8050
Climbing aid for ivy
Premium version: greening of a 6 m high sound barrier with ivy, cable system 8030
Greening of a noise barrier with ivy
Ivy, cable-system for inserting and interweaving, similar to our system 5030
Climbing aid for ivy
Greening with grapevines; retaining wall made of “L” elements, system 8010
Sound barrier wall with Veitchii (Japanese creeper/Boston ivy-- self-climbing)
Greened noise barrier
Noise barrier: galvanised grid systems are often more affordable than cable systems
Wire grid frame for noise barrier
Concrete retaining wall with a trellis system similar to 5030
Concrete retaining wall with climbing aid
A noise barrier greened with water-demanding hydrangea on its shady side
Noise barrier fence greened with climbing hydrangea
Greening of a noise barrier with vertical climbing cable and wisteria spindles
Retaining-wall greening