As a green wall installer I’m always reading up on the latest developments in living wall technologies. I recently read a book called Wall Planters and Wall Plants, Practical guide to vertical gardening, by Nicholas Jenkins. The tag line is Wall planters indoor and outdoor, vertical planting systems, DIY, planting, pots and plants, decor and ideas, all included.

If the title and tag line seem a little all over the place, then they are a good indication of the book itself. It attempts to give beginner advice on installing green walls. But it is disorganized and unclear.

living walls
A good try at explaining living walls that falls short
My main criticism is that it gives many variations on building living wall installations – pots, soil, artificial growing medium, air plants, yet nowhere is there a diagram. I’m a professional green wall installer and I had a hard time following his instructions on how to build a green wall.

Installing a living wall is not rocket science but you need the visual. You can’t simply write a description of how to build the green wall. You need diagrams of how the watering is hooked up, how the growing media is applied etc.

Even what he does write is not always easy to understand. Take this comment:

Make sure that the components of the system are of the right size; otherwise, when there is a rapid change in the pressure and velocity of the fluid (water), the dissolved air can precipitate and cause damages similar to those caused by cavitations.

What?? Say again?? I don’t know about you but I hate cavitations. They hurt like hell.

On the other hand the book has over simplistic instructions. There is a section called, “Be vigilant around electricity,” and another titled, “Always Handle Toxic Chemicals with Care.” Really? I never knew!

Anyone who knows what caviations means probably knows how to be safe around electricity. Bottom line, your average DIY person is going to be confused on one hand and bored on the other by this book.

As a living wall installer I managed to get some use out of the book. He has some good suggestions for recirculating pumps. I just skimmed over the rest. Overall though, I can’t say I would recommend this book to anyone, laymen or professionals alike.