There’s a perennial question when it comes to commercial green facades – how to make sure they flourish all year round? Like any garden, the answer is to set them up correctly, and maintain them on an ongoing basis so they survive and thrive.
Compared to ground gardens, vertical gardens have some special needs. For a start, they tend to get more exposure to natural elements, such as rainstorms and wind. Each green facade or green wall is also a unique eco-system, which means it will require expert care from specialists in elevated horticulture.
Here are some tips for making sure a commercial green facade will flourish throughout the changing seasons.
1. Use a robust support system
Commercial green facades often extend over many levels and need a strong support structure.
At Tensile, we use Jakob’s marine-grade stainless steel wire rope or mesh to create precision-engineered support systems. These materials offer remarkable strength and longevity combined with flexibility of design.
For example, the cables can be installed vertically to support upward-growing twining plants. They can also be made into cross-hatch trellis structures of any size by adding horizontal bars.
Another option is Webnet, which is a pre-formed mesh available in a range of sizes and configurations, often used to make fall protection barriers, anti-throw screens, and green barriers that combine safety and greening in the one structure. As a green facade support system, Webnet allows for a denser level of greening.
While there are many options for customisation, Jakob also has a modular Green Solutions range in kit form, created especially for green facades.
2. Careful plant selection
Green facades are usually made up of climbing, twining and/or scrambling plants. Plants should be selected based on the local climate and weather patterns as well as the amount of sunlight, shading and water each of the species needs.
You should also consider how irrigation and maintenance will be managed.
3. Cooler seasons maintenance
Vertical gardens can fail in the winter if not properly managed. Wind chill for example can result in plant damage and dehydration.
Check the health of your plants before winter arrives, and do some garden maintenance – such as pruning, cutting back at the top of the structure (if necessary to prevent bunching for example), training of climbers, plant replacement and ensuring the supporting trellis is in good condition.
4. Warmer seasons maintenance
During summer, green facades can dry out and be more vulnerable to fire. As summer approaches, maintenance tasks should include removal of dry and dead matter, checking automatic irrigation systems, and ensuring anything that creates spark is kept away from the plants.
The type of plants you use makes a difference for summer survival, especially in a hot region prone to drought and/or fire. For example, plants with a low flammability rating are less susceptible to drying out and are more resistant to fire. These include plants that are low in volatile oils and higher in moisture, for example succulents or fleshy-leaf plants.
Jakob stainless steel materials are also highly fire-resistant, so using these products for the support structure helps reduce fire risk still further.
Call us about how to keep green facades flourishing
At Tensile, healthy commercial green facades are one of our specialty areas. We can install your green facade and take care of the ongoing maintenance for you. Get in touch to find out how we can help you create green facades that flourish in every season!