Green walls

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How green walls work: irrigation

Green walls are popping up everywhere inside and outside. People want plants and when horizontal space is limited but vertical space is abundant, green walls make a statement.

Many different green wall technologies exist and new ones are being developed every year. Regardless of what type of green wall system, most green walls have one of two types of irrigation systems: recirculating and direct irrigation.

Recirculating irrigation systems do just as the name implies: recirculates water. In a recirculating system, the source of water is an irrigation tank which is either remote-controlled or directly underneath the green wall. The irrigation tank is filled manually on a regular basis to provide an adequate supply of irrigation water. Water is pumped from the tank to the green wall. Water is distributed to the plants in the wall. Gravity pulls excess water downward. Excess drainage water collects at the bottom of the wall and is fed back to the tank. This water is then used over and over (recirculates).

A direct irrigation system does not have a water tank or pump. Instead, irrigation water comes directly from an external water source (i.e. city water). This water is sometimes injected with fertilizer through an injector. A pump is not needed for direct irrigation because of the existing water pressure of the water lines. Water is channeled to the green wall and distributed to the plants of the wall. As water is pulled downward by gravity, any excess irrigation water is collected and sent to a sewer drain (not recirculated).

An example of a direct irrigation green wall system

Generally speaking, larger green walls have a direct irrigation system and smaller walls have a recirculating system, although this can vary. Each system has its advantages and disadvantages.

Regardless of the type of irrigation system used (direct or recirculating), the majority of green walls are operated by a timer or controller. A timer (or controller) tells the irrigation system when to turn on/off, how long to run, and in some cases, where to run. Some green walls (especially larger green walls) are divided into multiple irrigation zones. This allows different parts of the wall to be watered at different rates. For example, some portions of the green wall may need more water than others.

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There is a third type of irrigation - manual watering - where the person caring for the green wall gives water to the green wall system using a water machine, which involves a tank on wheels, or a watering can.

Manual watering is usually done with smaller green walls - such as ones that are as small as a big-screen TV or a painting. The benefit of manual irrigation is that electricity and plumbing are not needed.

Call us at 800-581-9946 or contact us online to learn more about our green wall services.