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How to create a living wall

Discover how to create a 'living wall' of herbs, vegetables, annuals or perennial plants, with our easy practical guide.

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Do not To do in January

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Living walls are ideal features for small gardens, as they bring life to an otherwise unused space. They can be planted with annuals, perennials, herbs or vegetables, providing a welcome splash of colour. Simple kits are now readily available, enabling you to create a stylish living wall in a number of locations.

Living wall systems are sold in kit form, and can be scaled up or down to suit your space and budget – even one panel makes an impact. They’re easy to put together and can be planted up in a weekend, then attached to a sturdy fence or wall. You can usually buy built-in watering systems for your living wall; some can be supplied with a top box for filling with a watering can if you can’t use the mains.

Group them in vertical or angled drifts, not horizontally, as this will prevent the higher plants shading out those below. If you interlink these drifts you can create a lovely tapestry-like effect.

The best living wall plants should be relatively compact – less than 50cm, or be able to withstand regular pruning. Group them in vertical or angled drifts, not horizontally, as this will prevent the higher plants shading out those below. If you interlink these drifts you can create a lovely tapestry-like effect. Alternatively, try grouping the plants in bold squares or rectangles for a modern look. Introduce the plants at a small size (ideally as plug plants), as this will make it easier for them to get established.

Learn how to assemble a living wall kit, with our guide.

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You Will Need

  • Living wall panels or modules, to fit your space
  • Wood screws, self-tapping
  • Drip irrigation system, installed according to manufacturer's instructions. Connect to mains water supply using a 13mm pipe (the same width as the hosepipe) fitted with a 13mm-4mm reducer
  • Water tank, (optional)
  • Cable ties
  • Watering can, with a fine rose
  • Multipurpose, peat-free compost
  • Plug plants
  • Teaspoon

Total time:

Step 1

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Assemble the tray and place it in the metal frame, then fix the 4mm irrigation tube in place, clicking it into position so the drippers are in the correct location.

Step 2

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Fill the tray with peat-free, multipurpose compost, ideally which contains slow-release fertiliser. Firm down, then attach the top panel using cable ties. Water using a can with a rose to settle the compost.

Step 3

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Plant a plug into each module, using a teaspoon to make a hole in the compost. Plant a single variety in each tray or plant drifts of varieties in angled ‘ribbons’ across panels, for a more natural effect.

Step 4

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Thoroughly water in the plants using your watering can. This is the last chance you’ll have to water the plants before they’re fitted in the vertical position and you switch to the irrigation system.

Step 5

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Using wood screws, attach the living wall brackets supplied with the kit, to your fence or wall. Then hang your tray from the brackets. Add more trays to fill the vertical space.

Step 6

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Connect the in-built irrigation system from one tray to the next, then attach to the mains water supply.

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