Brooklyn Brownstone Living Wall

In our pursuit to turn Brooklyn green we are very excited about growing living walls on the facades of brownstones. A living wall differs from a climbing/hanging wall. The first has the plants ON the wall. The wall becomes the medium from which they grow. A climbing or hanging wall simply has plants that climb up the wall from the ground below.

Living walls are exciting because they increase the land that has plants growing from it. If your front yard is 20’x10′ you all of a sudden have another 20’x30′ on the wall to plant on. Amazing stuff.

Of course the challenge is to create the growing medium on the wall. How we do this is still an evolving art. Of course you can buy planters from existing companies but they are expensive boutique green building and don’t do much for the common folk who need affordable practical solutions, which is where we will really have an impact on greening the world anyway.

We have our Brooklyn Green Show House as our experiment.

Soon enough we will apply green walls directly to the bricks. How we do that is still undecided. One idea is to use salvaged plastic crates. We would fill them with earth and apply them to the wall. Then we would break holes into the back of the crates to put the plants into.

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But until we find the best way we are planting the easy things in the already built planter and ledges on the building. Here you can see us building the planter. The ledge the ladder is standing on and the top ledge is also a planter area.

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About the author: Gennaro Brooks-Church

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