Why ‘Green Walls?
A new appreciation for the ‘not naturally ocurring’ is recognising the many benefits of artificial green walls
Environmental pressures are giving artificial planting solutions increasing influence in homes and businesses across the globe. From water conservation in drought-stricken areas to infestation prevention and practical responsiveness to busy lifestyles, man-made greening is steadily gaining ground.
While nature continues to be romanticised — and for good reason — the benefits of artificial greening are nowbeing recognised.
Artificial is water-smart
Prolonged spells of drought in many parts of the world, for one, have changed people’s attitudes to artificial lawn grass. In California, synthetic turf has been widely adopted to cut down on water consumption and avoid excessive-use penalties. Many residents who initially laid artificial lawns to avail of water-savings rebatesfrom the state government likewise have discovered additional benefits, such as dog-proofing (urine leaves yellowed spots on grass), safe play areas for children and just plain feeling good about doing one’s bit to save the planet.
Especially for homes with young children, artificial planting helps create disease-resistant environments for parents’ continued peace of mind. Real plants attract insects that can compromise health, such as mosquitoes, which thrive in lawn puddles left by rain or watering. Artificial greening reduces young children’s exposure to these disease-carrying insects. Adult family members with sensitive medical conditions are better protected as well.
Artificial greening also limits the damage to gardens caused by unwelcome visitors, such as aphids, maggots and beetles,that destroy plants, causing unsightliness and increasing upkeep.
The value of hassle-free
And then there are the maintenance plus points, which highly appeal to time-poor and budget-conscious households and enterprises. Artificial greening provides year-round lushness with zero effort, there is no summer dryness or winter bareness needing constant attention, to take away from quality family or business time or add to costs.
These positives all have chipped away at the skepticism often associated with ‘artificial’. While ‘artificial’ will not lack for critics in the foreseeable future, there is new and emerging appreciation for the ‘not naturally occuring’, at least when it comes to greening.
The benefits of artificial greening are best highlighted by artificial green walls. Living green walls are high-maintenance projects, full stop.Expanses of green on a vertical surface are by no means an easy endeavour, whether during construction or throughout the life of the wall. There are simply too many concerns to give one pause.
Green walls, when artificial becomes a premium
First, there are structural, load-bearing issues to consider. A living vertical garden, with soil, planting and frame, has to be ably supported by the host surface, to avoid damage to the building structure. Structural overloading is a real danger. When putting up a living wall system, there should be a careful review of load elements such as the weights of plants, soil, fabric mats and modular panels.
The living wall has to be designed keeping in mind plant root behaviour and plant growth. The inability to control these factors can lead to maintenance problems and a messy installation.
A living wall likewise needs proper watering and sunlight. Living walls are highly susceptible to plant failure without due oversight. Kinks in the irrigation system or lighting issues can turn the most breathtaking vertical gardens into a sorry backdrop.
Apart from the initial cost of real plants and construction of the wall, living green wall systems need a maintenance budget, often with costly professional hires, to keep the installation looking vibrant and fresh year-round. Without the proper maintenance commitment, especially for areas difficult to reach, plant failure can leave bare or dried patches that may be tricky to remedy without affecting the integrity of the scheme.
Artificial walls: the practical solution
Needless to say, artificial green walls eliminate all these problems. Vistagreen’s signature panels, for one, are lightweight and can be easily manipulated into place at great heights. There are practically no load-bearing concerns at all.
With artificial green walls, maintenance is kept to a minimum, with the occasional dusting and cleaning with water. There is no worry over faulty irrigation systems or design issues arising from inaccessibility to sunlight. It follows that costs are also mainly limited to the initial outlay.
Aesthetic considerations weigh in. A perpetually lush wall that looks as good as the real thing is a truly inviting prospect. With Vistagreen, signature panels can be customised according to preference with the Colour Box system of tonal plant mixes that can change and refresh the look of the installation instantly.
Why not artificial?
Artificial vertical gardens create wonderful green vistas, at a fraction of the cost and effort of living walls, to perk up any home, office or commercial environment. They are the perfect examples of how ‘artificial’ can be an incredibly good proposition, and not antithetical to nature at all.
In the case of artificial green walls, ‘not occurring in nature’ becomes a huge benefit, celebrating how human interventions can improve on what does occur naturally, simplifying the complex and creating better environments. Far from skepticism, ‘artificial’ should be lauded, especially in the case of practical greening.
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