June is the time of year in Vancouver when we are relieved to be able to start spending more time outdoors…without the rain. This year, as always, our fingers are crossed. There are so many wonderful ways to enjoy the beautiful west coast summer. Whether that’s a landscaped garden, a deck for entertaining or a trip up to one of the many local lookouts to see the view, there is something for everyone.
This season, we want to share a relatively new trend that is quickly becoming a Well Balanced Designs team favorite, and an easy, simple way to bring summer into your home.
Vancouver has a large number of small homes whether that’s the unique lane home or a condo. The city’s popularity the last few years means we have seen an increased demand for space. Maybe that’s where our favorite green space trick came from! Over the last 5 years or so it’s become common to decorate buildings and shopping malls with what is referred to as a ‘living wall’ or ‘vertical garden’. They are becoming common fixtures in other spaces too, such as restaurants, cafes and hotel lobbies.
They are a really unique way to add to your home’s décor while creating a natural air filter system and humidifier. We’ve put together a few design steps to help you plan this type of vibrant, live space no matter how big or small your home is.
The first thing to consider is where in your home you are able to create your living wall. Different plants have different needs so if your options are limited, you may need to be a bit flexible when deciding what to plant. If you’ve got a few space options, you can be a bit more specific when deciding what to grow. By deciding the where first, you can pick plants that will grow according to what kind of light is available.
Just as important when planning is to consider how you will keep your plants hydrated. A self-watering system will keep it low maintenance by ensuring your garden gets the proper amount of water at the proper intervals. If the plan is to do the watering yourself, consider placing your vertical garden on a wall that can handle a little bit of moisture in case of any leaks. Take special care not to overwater partly to keep the plants thriving and partly to avoid any damage to the supporting wall. Either way, it’s a good idea to periodically take the pots out of the vertical system to dry them and to keep an eye on your wall.
Once you make a decision about where you can start to consider the what. Ask yourself what is best suited to your space, your lifestyle and your taste. What kind of greenery would you most like to see sprouting on your walls? Are you hoping to grow flowers? Succulents? Herbs or vines? Make sure what you want and what will grow in your available space are a match. There are some great local resources like West Coast Seeds and Lee Valley if you want to consult with a professional gardener. Better Homes & Gardens has a super handy ‘Plant Encyclopedia’. Take a few minutes to research specifics plants and their ideal growing environments.
If you’ve got lots of available light in your chosen space, try growing veggies and herbs. There is nothing like being able to eat straight from your own garden. Vegetables need a considerable amount of light to grow. If you can’t make this work indoors, do some container gardening on your deck or patio. Use a design layout for your outdoor planters that complement whatever you grow indoors. A complimentary color scheme with your planters and pots, or a repeatable, recognizable layout will create consistency. If you are into DIY, create identical vertical gardens and place one inside and one out changing up the plants accordingly. Situating them near a window or sliding door -making both gardens visible – to create a unique aesthetic that adds a lush, vibrant summer-time feel.
Greenery and vegetation always function as an extension of a home’s interior design. When we create a space for our clients, we work with a landscaper to ensure the exterior is as well designed and planned as the interior is. Next time you are considering renovations or are looking at building a new home, we can help you plan and design the home you want, both indoors and outdoors. But in the interim, give this modern twist on house plants a try. Share a photo with us on Instagram – we’d love to see your design creativity and how it adds to creating a home that is truly you.