Go green at home

PHOTO: GARRY BELINSKY; INSTALLATION: HABITAT HORTICULTURE; DESIGN DAVID BRENNER

Incorporating green walls into a home is not difficult. Here's how you can fit plots of greenery into living spaces

You will have seen green walls adorning external spaces, but what about green walls in the home, such as in the living room or foyer?

The idea is catching on here and not simply because green walls are a pleasant visual feature.

Mr Veera Sekaran, founder and managing director of urban greenery company Greenology, says: "Green wall systems can help home owners maximise their vertical space, while freeing up horizontal space for other uses.

"A small green wall of 1m by 2m can hold up to 60 plants - a number nigh impossible to have on the floor of a regular-sized balcony."

Here are some ways you can incorporate green walls into different spaces at home.

1 ON A COLUMN

Have an eyesore of a column in your home? Beautify the obstruction by turning it into a habitat for plants.

2 THE FOYER AND BALCONY


PHOTO: VERTICAL GREEN

The entrance is a nice spot to have a green wall so you are greeted by luscious greenery every time you come home.

For this home in Ghim Moh Link, landscape consultant firm Vertical Green installed a preserved moss wall onto the metal door of the bomb shelter.

If your balcony receives long hours of strong sunlight, installing a green wall can help bring down ambient temperatures and cool the home.

3 BY THE POOL


PHOTO: VERTICAL GREEN

Green walls can be used to form a privacy screen around your swimming pool.

4 THE INNER PERIMETER


PHOTO: GREENOLOGY

Run a green wall along the inner perimeter of the house to bring nature closer to your living space.

5 THE LIVING SPACES


PHOTO: GARRY BELINSKY; INSTALLATION: HABITAT HORTICULTURE; DESIGN: DAVID BRENNER

A green wall can help improve the quality of indoor air. Mr Veera, who is trained in botany, says: "Plants attract dust particles through their stomata and particular species break down toxins such as ammonia and formaldehyde - chemicals found in many household cleaning products."

Green walls do not just have to look all green. This installation by San Francisco-based company Habitat Horticulture shows how you can inject vibrant pops of yellow, orange and red into your green wall with autumn ferns, begonias and gesneriads.

If you love the idea of outdoor dining, but do not have a patio or balcony, you can create an alfresco atmosphere by adding a green wall next to the dining area.

6 THE AIR WELL


PHOTO: LEGACY ESTATES LA; INSTALLATION: HABITAT HORTICULTURE; DESIGN: DAVID BRENNER

A green wall converts a plain air well into the focal point of the home.

• This article first appeared in the November issue of Home & Decor, which is published by SPH Magazines.

• Get the December and latest issue of Home & Decor now at all newsstands or download the digital edition of Home & Decor from the App Store, Magzter or Google Play. Also, see more inspiring homes at www.homeanddecor.com.sg


Get green inspiration and supplies

GREENOLOGY

289 Farnborough Road, tel: 6214-1140; e-mail: green@greenology.sg; go to https://greenology.sg

VERTICAL GREEN

06-14/15 Pioneer Centre, 1 Soon Lee Street, tel: 6100-6680; e-mail: info@verticalgreen.com.sg; go to www.verticalgreen.com.sg

CHIN LING NURSERY

10 Bedok South Road, tel: 6448-8602; e-mail: enquiry@chinling.com.sg; go to www.chinling.com.sg

NATURE LANDSCAPES

15 Joan Road, tel: 6252-6802; e-mail: contact@naturelandscapes.com; go to www.naturelandscapes.com


Expert tips on cultivating the dream wall

Who: Mr David Brenner, founding principal and managing director of San Francisco-based Habitat Horticulture. He has designed green walls for residences and commercial spaces in California, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and fashion designer Anya Hindmarch's flagship store in Los Angeles.

Where is an ideal place to have a green wall?

A living or green wall has the most impact on spaces that you can sit in and enjoy, especially when it covers an existing concrete or blank wall. Some of the most dramatic transformations are in light wells or basements.

How does one design an aesthetically pleasing green wall?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and the client is the beholder in this case, so his preference is the first thing I take into account.

For any garden, matching various textures, colours, leaf forms and growth patterns helps to create interest. I strive for something that will look good not just on day one, but also remains so as it reaches a mature stage.

Who: Mr Veera Sekaran, founder of home-grown green design firm Greenology. He installed green walls in Changi Airport Terminals 1 and 2 and created the greenscape in Apple Store Orchard.

How does the irrigation system work behind your green walls?

Most green walls are integrated with automated irrigation and dosing systems to deliver nutrient solution. The auto-irrigation system usually requires a water inlet or garden tap, which is fitted with a timer and a fertigation unit so water and nutrients can be fed to the green wall at specific timings in the day.

Greenology's system uses approximately 0.8 to 1 litres of water per sq m of green wall, considered one of the most water-efficient in the world.

How does one choose the different species of plants for a green wall?

To reduce plant mortality, one should choose the right species that can thrive in the site conditions.

The home owner's preference will also play a part in the composition. For example, I am a big fan of ferns because they add volume and a jungle vibe, but others may prefer a neater look.

For those who want a green wall with a high ecological value that will attract pollinating creatures, I suggest flowering species such as the lantanas and tabernaemontanas.

Those with young children can consider adding the pitcher plant into their green walls to spark curiosity and learning opportunities.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2018, with the headline 'Go green at home'. Print Edition | Subscribe