A Florish of Vertical Garden Green

Ever more new creative systems


Rooftop gardens are growing in numbers and size in many cities. But walls, too (both in- and outside) can be converted into gardens, using new technologies!




The rapidly evolving practical sciences of hydroponics (or aquaponics) have spurred exciting urban phenomena like rooftop gardens, rooftop agriculture and, most recently, the art of ‘wall gardening’. Hydroculture is the growing of plants on artificial substrates or directly in fertile liquids.
So far, three vertical garden systems dominate the market. The oldest and by far most famous one is Patrick Blanc’s Mur Végétal (Vegetation Wall). Younger are the Dutch WonderWall and the Japanese-Singaporese Parabienta Green Wall.


Blanc’s free paterns
Since 1988, the French botanist and landscape architect Partick Blanc, originally a specialist in tropical forest vegetation, has created imposing wall gardens, both on official and commercial buildings and in private homes, all over the world.
Blanc’s system consists of a steel frame, screwed into the wall, on which are mounted layers of PVC and non-corrosive and water absorbing felt. Irrigation is fully automated. Freely choosing his artistic patterns, Blanc stuffs his plants in small pockets, cut out into the felt tapestry.


Nice, but imperfect, judged the Copijn Landscaping Architects in Utrecht (the Netherlands). Blancs system requires intensive maintenance, yet relatively many plants die. The Dutch designed the WonderWall.
It is “more robust”, Copijn claims, but it appears a less flexible, as the planting pockets are placed at precisely regular intervals. Both outdoor and intoor applications are possible. In Amsterdam Mercator Plaza Sports Center outer walls have been decked with WonderWall green, as has the interior of Antwerp’s Fragile fashion store.


Asian Green Wall
The Japanese Shimizu Building Corp’s Parabienta Green Wall is a clicking system, a mosaic of square modules, anchored to the wall. Each module consists of a spongy irrigating tissue, for which earth and polyester that have been heated and ‘molten’ into a new type of fabric.
With the National University of Singapore, Shimizu developed a ‘tropics version’, as well. In the tropics, vertical gardens, like rooftop gardens serve to cool buildings. In the sun, the temperature on bare outer walls can rise to 58 ° centigrade. Singapore’s Changi International Airport arrival hall boasts todays world’s most spectacular Parabienta Wall.