Green walls and facades can contribute to building warmth in the cooler months. According to the Growing Green Guide, green facades create an insulating layer that can increase the temperature close to the wall during winter by up to 3.8 degrees.
But green infrastructure can fail during winter for various reasons – such as inappropriate plant selections, failure to protect plant root systems or a wind-chill effect.
Here’s how to nurture green walls and facades during the cooler months, so you reap the benefits.
Set a good foundation
While caring for a green wall during winter involves many of the same activities as for ground-based gardens, vertical gardens tend to be less protected as they are more exposed to the elements.
This means they require a robust foundation from the start, which involves:
- Selecting the right plants for the local climate – getting this right may require expert input from a specialist in horticulture with good knowledge of local weather patterns and climate.
- Good drainage systems – insufficient drainage during rainy seasons may affect not only the plants but also the structural integrity of the building.
- Strong root systems – the plants should have a strong rooting substate to allow them to develop resilient roots.
- Protection from strong winds – dry chill winds can affect plants during the winter, potentially causing dehydration and damage.
Perform ongoing maintenance
Winter maintenance tasks are important for the longevity of the green wall. This includes:
- Regular pruning – dead autumn foliage should be pruned before winter arrives. This allows for more lush growth in the next season and less interference from dead organic matter. On a green facade, climbing plants may need to be cut back at the top of the structure to prevent bunching, as this can cast a shadow lower down and result in uneven coverage.
- Watering – it’s crucial to ensure your plants have adequate moisture at all times.
- Plant health maintenance – this may include regular plant inspections, training of climbers, fertilising and plant replacement where required.
- Support structure maintenance – as well as caring for the greenery, you need to ensure your trellis or other type of support system is in good condition and do any necessary repairs.
For the green facades we install, we use long-lasting Jakob stainless steel support structures, which require very little ongoing maintenance.
We also undertake maintenance of the facade for the first year to allow the plants to establish and thrive.
Examples of our recent projects
Our recent green wall/facade projects include:
- SkyPark in Melbourne – a raised lush city garden space surrounded by a stainless steel mesh barrier. The barrier acts as a supporting structure for climbing plants such as wisteria and bower vine.
- Taronga Zoo accommodation centre – where green barriers comprising native climbing plants supported on stainless steel cables have been installed along the guest balconies.
To find out more about green wall installation and maintenance year-round, get in touch with our team.