Green vertical garden panels with lady drinking coffee

Vertical Gardens as a Future Invention: Is Artificial Better than Living?

Vertical gardens feel like a very twenty-first century invention. And the reason why you are increasingly likely to come across them in the media, down the high street and in your landscaper’s plans is that they’re a very good solution to twenty-first century problems. As cities, towns and suburbia become increasingly crowded and multiple homes and apartments are shoehorned into plots where previously, perhaps, there was only one residence, the possibility of incorporating anything more than the minimum of grass, trees and planting into such schemes becomes vanishingly small.

It is not unusual nowadays to find back gardens of new-builds that are dominated by six-foot-high boundary fencing that has been erected very close to the house; the front garden might have one small bed under the front window and the rest paved for parking. How often do you see apartments that don’t even have a balcony for pots, let alone more than the most rudimentary green space at the entrance?

Vertical Gardens – making us healthier

These issues have broader ramifications than the apparent lack of horticultural opportunities. It’s a problem that goes to the heart of what we are and need as human beings. Every research project directed at examining the benefits of incorporating Nature into our surroundings tells us that we both want and need to be surrounded by greenery. It makes us feel better and that means it is having health benefits at so many different levels. So, for example, research undertaken in a Swedish hospital found that it didn’t even have to be the real thing. Looking at a photograph of trees and water had the positive effect of reducing the amount of medication that patients required.

We clearly need the appearance of more plants around us, so how can technology and innovative thinking achieve this under challenging circumstances? What about areas where this hunger for a green outlook cannot be satisfied because conditions are too harsh to allow plants to flourish? Perhaps the area is in deep shade or situated in a rain shadow caused by a tall building in the path of the prevailing wind. Perhaps the situation is too exposed—baked arid in summer and lashed by the weather in winter.

Vistafolia vertical garden system creates a natural effect

This is where Vistafolia’s vertical garden system is a real advantage. Filled with exceptionally realistic-looking plants, with multiple leaf shapes and the opportunity to introduce spots of colour with artificial flowers, it brings the soothing sight of Nature to places where the problems of growing real plants would be too much to overcome.

Everything you like about the appearance of living vertical gardens can be duplicated in artificial green walls. The sense of being surrounded by Nature, the restful quality of the colour green, the soft texture and shadows created by leaves, the interest in the different shapes of the plants. They can hide ugly walls, creating an inviting space where it might otherwise be no more than a dark, walled back yard, by adding a variety of shades and shapes that add up to a really creative garden design.

What an artificial green wall won’t do

There are a couple of things an artificial green wall won’t do, of course. In some of the world’s most traffic-ridden cities living walls are being introduced to try to combat pollution. Patna, for example, according to a World Health Organisation report, is the fifth most polluted city in the world, with residents suffering lung diseases and infections because of it. Last August, The Times of India reported that vertical gardens were being installed on the pillars supporting the 2.9 kilometre-long Jagdeopath-Shiekhpura More flyover. With nearly a thousand plants on one pillar, mostly those known to purify the air when used indoors, such as Dracaena Mahatma and Snake Plants, it is hoped to make a noticeable reduction to pollution in the area, as well as helping to reduce ambient temperatures.

One resident was a little sceptical of the commitment of the local authorities, saying, “Planting trees is one thing and taking daily care of these plants is another.”

The easy-care Vertical Wall Garden

So true. And Vistafolia comes to the rescue. Ongoing care and maintenance are things that you don’t, of course, have to worry about with our vertical garden system. Once installed, there’s no worry about feeding, watering and keeping an eye open for pests and diseases. All the care that’s needed, if your artificial green wall is outdoors, is a hose-down every so often to keep it fresh-looking, and, if indoors, a light spray with water or a wipe-down with a damp duster.

When it comes to planting living vertical garden designs there are a number of issues that need addressing. Vertical garden designers use a rich mix of plants to fill any given space. The number of suitable plants is constantly being expanded as experiments extend our knowledge of what can survive in a particular situation.

However, a great deal of skill and knowledge is necessary to ensure the mix works and even professionals find there is often more of an art to this process than science. Generally, plants that prefer damper conditions should be placed at the bottom of a vertical garden because water percolates down the green wall system. Some prefer a bit of shade and need to be in the lee of a larger plant to protect them from full exposure to the sun. It can take a fair bit of time to get the mix right and, on top of it all, nature has a habit of steering projects in unexpected directions.

Vistafolia’s artificial vertical garden system incorporates a carefully researched mix of leaf shapes and textures that won’t do their own thing. Fifteen varieties of faithfully rendered plants are woven through our Signature Panels for a truly realistic impression of planting and organic growth and we’ll have news later in the year of additions to the range.

At the core of our design system are our Signature Panels, which come in sets of three co-ordinating panels measuring 800 x 800 mm each and have a patent-pending design that seamlessly mixes the foliage together to eliminate vertical lines. Panels can be placed in any configuration to create an individual design.

Vertical Garden Systems

Vertical garden systems vary hugely in the way they are put together. Some offer pockets into which plants are set upright, allowing them to bush out and up. Others are designed so that plants emerge on the horizontal before taking on an upward direction. Some have the soil held back by mesh. Some have a plastic construction keeping everything in place. Whatever the design, the basic requirement of such systems is water and nutrition. All but the smallest installations need some kind of irrigation system built in or attached.

Vistafolia on the other hand spares you the need to make any decisions on the best method to keep plants alive. But construction-wise, it has similarities with quite a few living vertical garden systems—and, interestingly, with the designs that originally arose in the first half of the twentieth century—in its modular approach.

Botanical Bricks – the Modernist Vertical Garden

The 1930s was a time when great interest stirred in the possibilities of growing up walls. We know this partly because, in America, there were a number of different patent applications.

In 1942, Elmer Gates was granted a patent for his “Vegetation-Bearing Display Surface” He’d submitted it in 1938 and it was, in essence, blocks of steel grating creating a screen on which to grow plants. The blocks would be filled with mineral wool or peat and attached to a self-supporting wall as a type of veneer.

Previously, though, and probably the best-known system from this period is that dreamt up by Professor Stanley Hart White, who started as Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois in 1922, and went on to create what he described as Botanical Bricks, described in a patent in 1937 for “Vegetation-Bearing Architectonic Structure and System” as ‘architectonic structure of any buildable size, shape or height, whose visible or exposed surfaces may present a permanently growing covering of vegetation”. His idea was completely new, and consisted of standardised, interchangeable units, which meant that you could “block out” a design. Sadly his design was only realised after his death in 1979.

Quite why he’s been widely forgotten is a bit of a mystery but examples of science overlooking past observations is not uncommon. After all, oxygen was discovered and described in 1670 long before Lavoisier got the credit a hundred years later.

White’s invention went hand-in-hand with the contemporaneous interest in Modernism and the home as a machine for living, along with other Bauhaus thinking. He regarded his vertical garden system as a backdrop for modern living as it allowed for the preservation of a free plan of the space involved, with the garden on the wall. It was radical thinking for the time, but the development of such ideas was not helped by the outbreak of the Second World War.

Vertical Garden Design with Vistafolia

With Vistafolia’s vertical wall system you can see a very similar simple idea in action, with a return to the original spirit of White’s design.

Our Signature Panels can be placed in any order (that’s something we’re very proud of) and they will still offer a natural flow of planting from unit to unit. This feature is replicated however many panels you use. On very large areas, such as the complete side of buildings, you will begin to see some repetition because of the way the eye perceives pattern. However, with the addition of plants from our Colour Boxes, that visual pattern can be broken up and will be dispelled.

Our Colour Boxes give you the scope to create a truly personal vertical garden design. Currently available in Soft Lavender, Delicate White and Lush Green (for more texture and an exotic addition), the plants can be inserted into the Signature Panels wherever you want them. They could, indeed, be swapped around to create a different effect at a later date, or added and removed at certain times of year to change the mood according to the season.

When you need a lightweight Vertical Garden

White’s vision was of Botanical Bricks that could be stacked, incorporating mesh that would enclose the material in which the plants would root. As anyone knows who’s filled a bucket from a flower bed in the garden, soil can be pretty heavy, especially when wet, and, where weight might be an issue, Stanley suggested that substrate in his bricks might include a light and fluffy material such as vermiculite.

Weight can be a considerable problem when it comes to vertical gardens and, again, Vistafolia offers a solution. It can be ideal for places where it would be too dangerous to attach a living wall. To fix a living green wall onto an existing building, you need to be confident that the foundations and integrity of the structure are up to the weight attached. A Vistafolia panel weighs approximately 7 kg, a fraction of the equivalent area of a typical living green wall. This means you can enjoy the view of lush vegetation even on a more delicate structure.

Vistafolia panels can cover any size area from 800 x 800 mm in places where a living green wall might present construction or maintenance difficulties. And we’re not standing still. More colours and plants will be released this year, so keep an eye on our social media and website for more news, or sign up for our occasional newsletter to keep abreast of developments.

In the meantime, if you’d like more information on how Vistafolia’s Artificial Vertical Garden Solutions can bring a leafy oasis to a wall or structure near you, without the hassle encountered with living walls, then give us a ring on 0207 385 1020 or email info@vistafolia.com.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Fantastic service and quality thrilled with my green wall

The Vistafolia panels and colour boxes have created a beautiful garden feature from what was previously a brick wall 'eye-sore' (see before photo). Excellent delivery times and brilliant customer service, so pleased we have just ordered some more!

I am absolutely obsessed with my purchases from vistafolia. I ordered 2 boxes of flowers to fill my window boxes. The quality is incredible. They look so real and even smell like a garden centre. The customer service is fantastic and I will definitely be ordering some more soon.

Thrilled! Looks absolutely fantastic and has surpassed my expectations. Makes such a difference looking out from my study onto a balcony with greenery rather than metal panels! Ric’s suggestion for the white colour box was spot on – really lifts the greenery. Installation process was seamless and the guys were great. Highly, highly recommend.

Very helpful and very professional! Thank you for my wonderful panels!

I got curious with the adds on fb about vertical garden wall by vista folia.. i researched with other competetor but vista folia captured my attention with its realistic foliage and it would be a great addition to my garden...it really lookes beautiful in contrast with the real plants i have.. it made it complete...i will have another part of the garden to be installed ... thanks to tim who i always communicate with if i have queries he's always accomodating... thank you vista folia... my wife love it too...

Amazing company! We have just installed 2 plant walls in our new office. Fantastic quality and mega responsive/organised team when it comes to each step of the process. Highly recommend.

Great product, excellent customer service, and professional skilful installation. Very happy to recommend.

Check out the website. So realistic

Brilliant service. Flexible, friendly and creative. And fabulous product. Transformed our terrace completely. The hedge looks stunning, the colour boxes being a beautiful feature.

To say I’m happy is an understatement! I found the perfect look I needed for my outside shower. I can’t recommend Vistafolia enough. The service I received was impeccable. A special shout out to Tim who explained the product so well, Ric who came out to the property to show me the product and measure up the area, and last but not least the installation team Dan and Nick who were excellent . They explained each step and also made sure I was happy with the end result. A smooth, stress free installation and any questions asked along the way was happily answered and explained. No hassle! What more can one ask for! I almost bought elsewhere until I came across this company who thankfully advised me that they could install this type of artificial living wall with a metal back frame to the size I required unlike the advice I got elsewhere. I’m so thankful that I didn’t buy a cheaper option out there as I really wouldn’t have achieved this look! Thank you!

Amazing product, pre-sales and installation services. Very courteous team who were respectful of our home throughout. Meticulous and careful installation. Could not be happier with outcome, service and product.

Vista Folia have been extremely helpful throughout and provided us with an excellent product. We throughly enjoyed bringing the wall to life with these amazingly convincing boxes full of foliage and the final outcome was stunning! Very happy client!

My Vistafolia green wall looks fantastic. I have to remind myself it's not real! It has transformed a boring brick wall which I look out onto while I'm washing up into something lovely. Very good customer service too - well-informed and helpful.

thanks for the great job

The team was fantastic. They arrived on time. It was raining, but they worked through the rain and did a fabulous job. Had some trouble with my neighbour and they went above and beyond to sort that out and make her side look pretty too. Would recommend them any day.

Extremely happy with the final product and service provided by Vistafolia in particular a big thank you to Ric and Tim. The project was delayed but throughout the whole process the team were great and supportive- answering my many questions will very sensible options. The final result is impressive and we have added our personal touch with a Ganesh statue that looks sublime.

Great company, very professional and efficient. I am very happy with the final result. I recommend.

We found Vistafolia's Lush Green green wall product to be of the highest quality. It was naturalistic and easy to install. Customer service was excellent and the end result is very impacting. It was key that the product had a good fire rating and clear supporting documentation. We would use Vistafolia and their products again.

Vistafolia did an awesome job of turning my small yard into a place of beauty. Amazing!

We love our Vistafolia wall! I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them, very helpful and speedy service, and the guys working on the wall were incredibly clean and polite!

Very efficient and professional from survey to installation and finished walk looks amazing

I am so thrilled that I picked Vistafolia. Our roof terrace looks amazing with the combination of the foliage panels and cedar panelling. The whole process could not have been simpler and the team worked hard and paid such attention to detail during the installation. I would thoroughly recommend them.

My experience with Vistafolia has been positive as they provided me with great service and the people we dealt with were very friendly and professional. I am happy with the outcome from Vistafolia as the packaging and the delivery was efficient and quick. I would definitely recommend this company for all your green wall needs.

The quality of the product exceeded my expectations and the customer service was outstanding. Would highly recommend.

A fantastic product and delightful service. Would highly recommend. I am now busy looking for more walls to cover!

Incredibly simple, efficient and professional team from start to finish. And what a beautiful result - no video or brochure does these green walls any justice.

Although our project was quite small in scope, the team at Vistafolia were very friendly and professional to deal with. Any questions we had were quickly dealt with and we are really pleased with the results of our green wall and garden boxes. The plants and colours look great!

We are so pleased with our Vistafolia Green Wall. It looks absolutely fantastic and has completely changed our garden. The team provided an excellent service and would highly recommend the product.

How nice it is to do business with a company that values your business; that responds promptly; whose workers turn up on time and are very polite, hard-working and courteous and whose product looks amazing. Vistafolia is one such company. The staff are amazing and we are delighted with the gorgeous transformation that the Green Wall has made to our garden.

Extremely happy with the service. We had two panels fitted and the guys couldn't be more helpful. They turned up on time and did a fantastic job with the installation. The product itself is fantastic, very realistic and no more watering. Would highly recommend Vista Folia

I have recently worked with the Vistafolia team on a couple of projects, including a contemporary domestic garden and a large central London commercial site. In both cases, the team were extremely professional, knowledgeable and reliable and I was confident that the projects were in safe hands from start to finish. With the latter commercial project, the team had to work under extremely difficult circumstances on a busy site with numerous other contractors, but remained patient, polite and focussed, even as the deadline loomed. Vistafolia is a great product, which lends itself to numerous applications and clients are always excited by the results. Big thanks to Ric and the team!

Great place

We had panels fitted onto walls at a commercial property. Vistafolia gave great customer service from the day we walked in to the showroom to after we had the foliage installed. Friendly, helpful and informed. I would recommend them to anyone in a heartbeat. The final finish looks excellent. We are very happy.

Vistafolia transformed our garden and we have been so pleased with the results. The team are very professional, accommodating and happy to assist with maintenance where needed. A pesky fox had caused some damage so Vistafolia despatched Ric to resolve the issue and he was incredibly obliging and got the job done efficiently and effectively! We would highly recommend them to anyone.

The team at Vistafolia were fantastic from start to finish. They came and did a site visit and explained all of my options, the sales team were friendly and didn’t try to give me the hard sell, and the installation team left me with an amazing green wall. I can’t recommend them highly enough.

The team at Vistagreen were brilliantly responsive and so quick to sort out what we needed. The process went smoothly from start to finish and the completed product looks fantastic. Can't recommend them highly enough.

Great communication and customer service throughout the sales process, and the product is excellent quality and looks fantastic. Really pleased with the result.

Just wow! The green wall has transformed a dismal space. Great service, I totally recommend this product & company

From start to finish the customer care was outstanding with immediate responses to my questions via email and the telephone. The quality of the product and the effect when finally put in place was superb, a visual delight. A five star company one I will certainly be using again.

These look so real! We have put some panels up in our home gym and they look great.

It has been a delight dealing with VistaGreen from beginning to end of the project. Fast and accommodating team who delivered a great finished result. Extremely happy with our new office decoration.

Quick turnaround, very accommodating, fantastic high quality product, friendly customer service

Great product and service :)

I spent a lot of time researching for a Vertical Garden, and finally decided on using Vista Green. Before I proceeded, I went to their Offices/Store Warehouse to double check the quality etc. I dealt with Tim, who was so helpful, knowledgeable and patient, and offered an on-site Survey, which I accepted. The Surveyor, Rik, was professional and he was able to sort out a quote very quickly. The Vertical Garden was installed last week, and it looks amazing. The guys fitting were an absolute pleasure to have working at your home, and we are so happy to have had chosen Vista Green. I have absolutely no problem in recommending this Company to anyone - Thank you to all the Team!

Great product. Great result. Looks fab.

Quite honestly, it took me FOREVER to track down a company who could build a feature plant wall in my home. Once I emailed and spoke to VistaGreen, I knew that regardless of my budget, whatever they quoted for my feature wall, I would do whatever I could to make it work. This was down to not only the quality and variety of foliage offered, but because both Tim and Ric from the sales team took their time with me, worked with me budget wise, and using the image of the space I had previously sent to them, gave me digital images of what the wall would look like!! Additionally, VistaGreen accommodated an early installation, meaning that within days, my vision had come to life! I really appreciated their willingness and flexibility. From inception to completion I enjoyed my journey with VistaGreen and I’m almost sad that there is nothing left to do (for now! Lol) I can whole heartedly recommend them to anyone thinking of having such a special luxury feature in (or out) of their home!

Really happy with our new green wall, it has transformed our basement completely. The work took place over 3 days, the workmen were polite, professional and we would highly recommend the company

I've recently installed VistaGeen green wall panels in a garden design scheme set within a timber frame and they look great - very realistic and none of the hassles of irrigation and plant failure associated with real living wall. Most importantly, the client loves it too! Great product

Great and professional service once again. Very accommodating given the changing weather and site conditions.