Living Walls – Landscape Design

Athenaeum Hotel Living Wall

Landscape Design comes in all forms, while wWalking down Piccadilly in London,  my breath was taken away at the sight of the Living Wall at the athenaeum hotel;  my son and I snapped photos as we ogled it.  I spied a sign that said, ask the doorman for more information and was rewarded with a postcard from a very proper top hatted gentleman who told us  that although he loved the wall and the reactions it drew, had to claim ignorance when it came to details.   This was not my first Living Wall rodeo, so I was happy to grab the info and move on with our afternoon.  Of course this sparked my interest in writing a blog post.

Living Walls are an amazing addition to tool box of Landscape Design, and although they seem to be popping up all over recently they are really not a new phenomenon.  The past few years Living Walls have come into vogue in both Garden and Landscape Design and although the construction and maintenance of them has come a long way their roots (pun intended) go deep.

Athenaeum Wall Close Up

The living walls that we are enjoying now come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and plant materials.  They can be as large as the the side of a building, and as small as a 6″ x 6″ succulent or herb picture frame.

Dwell Living Art

I have had enjoyed the look of living art in the past, and those living pieces seen at Dwell on Design, and in Garden Design Magazines have inspired me to try some of my own too.

Now back to the roots, as I continued my trip in England and Italy I found great connections, where the first living walls were merely well maintained vines .  Though the plants may have not been put into frames or watered by means ingenious methods, we humans have been creating living walls for years.  A well trimmed vine on an old castle, pub, or coffee shop probably inspired these new creative structures.   Here is some of what we saw in the “old world”.

Vines Bingley

If these wondrous works of art interest you and you there are a few places you can visit.

San Gimignano living wall        San Gimignano vines

Descanso Gardens should be added to your list of day trips.  Descanso Gardens is a tribute to Landscape Design in general, and their living wall is amazing in particular.  The living wall is attached to the side of the Sturt Haag Gallery and will only be there for another few months.  The wall will be replaced with a new art installation, so going to the Garden before October or November is a must for those of you who want to see this beautiful piece of living art.   Here are some details of the Descanso walls that I photographed last June.

Descanso Wall         Descanso wall detail

If you will be in London, I’d suggest a visit to London with a walk on Piccadilly to the Living wall at the athenaeum hotel, as you can see by these photos it is well worth the visit.  Should you prefer a shorter journey, you can visit the store Potted in Atwater Village.  They have a great selection of pottery, plants, garden art, accessories, books and more as well as a display of the Wooly Pockets living wall system.  Take a look at the post I wrote after one of my visits to Potted.

Living walls and living art can help add depth, and beauty to your garden and they can work in both a small or large space (scale is the key), so do a little investigating and find the tools that work best for you.  The key for Southern California is in the watering system  and selecting the proper plants – remember it gets pretty darn hot and those babies need to drink.

Let me help you create the garden paradise of your dreams, large or small, edible or ornamental – if you can dream it, we can create it. I love collaborating with my clients and I’d love to collaborate with you. You can call me at 661-917-3521 or visit my website and contact me there.





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