Breathe life into your space with living walls

Apart from a lick of paint to give a room a fresh look, greenery and plants can be both refreshing to a space as well as beneficial to your health.

Most people have become environmentally conscious and it is for this reason that living walls have become a popular form of décor – both indoors and out.

The benefits are also worth considering, such as the fact that it has been scientifically proven that vegetation improves air quality. The leaves and foliage act as a natural air filter – in goes the polluted air and out comes clean oxygen. (

In order to create a living wall, all one needs is a space and a great idea for that space.

Some of the easiest ways to introduce a living wall can include shelving, hanging baskets and recycled plastic bottles.

Taking it one step at a time

For the shelving option one would need:

  • Shelves cut to the same size and width.
  • Holes would need to be drilled in each corner of the shelves.
  • Measure 4 long pieces of rope about 1 meter long and pull through each hole (from top to bottom – one above the other).
  • Leave about 30cm of rope free at the top. With the one piece of rope, thread it through each hole (on the same side) in sequence and tie a knot under each shelf to allow it to hang in place.
  • Continue this for every shelf to create a ladder effect.
  • After this, there should be 4 strands of 30cm rope free. Take the 2 strand from the same side and tie together to create a triangle. Repeat on the other side.
  • These triangles can be hung on a rod or bracket with hook.
  • Place pots on the shelves.

Hang in there

Firstly, a place will need to be allocated for this.

Then take your basket and add a liner inside the basket, such as coir mat, then add a plastic lining with a few holes poked through it. This will help with draining water.

Fill about 80% of the basket with potting soil and then arrange your chosen plants. Fill the soil around the plants and press down in a firm motion.

Water thoroughly.

When selecting plants for this, you can select flowers such as annuals. i.e: petunias, marigolds, lobelias, verbenas, and the likes, or when selecting plants according to geographic area etc, in hotter and drier regions or full sun areas, succulents will be the better option as they are easy to care for and do not need much water. However, one may also want to plant herbs. The best herbs to plant include: dill, parsley, thyme, sage, lavender, mint, rosemary, oregano and even chives as well as veggies such as spring onions, lettuce and even peppers.

When the basket is complete, secure a bracket to your wall and hang the baskets at eye level so that you are able to reach the plant and for visual aesthetic.

Pruning should also be done every so often to remove any dead foliage.

To recycle or up cycle

When sending your plastic cool drink bottles to the recycling heap, spare 3 or more of them to create an attractive hanging vegetable garden. You can grow spinach, lettuce and herbs in these; amongst other vegetation.

Clean each bottle and remove each label. There are many ways to create this vertical garden. For this option, the bottles will feed water into one another in a down flowing effect.

After removing the label, cut a circular hole in the middle of the bottle on one side.

Then at the bottom of one of the other bottles, cut a hole in the centre like the first one, but this time, cut off the bottom as well to accommodate the tip/spout of the first bottle. Repeat this process, but keep the caps on. Before placing the bottles into one another, you will need to poke holes in the spout near the cap for water drainage.

Then, mix two parts of potting soil and one part of sand in a container and then transfer using a scoop. Then plant your seedling into the soil. Repeat the process with the other bottles. Once these are finished, it is time to build your living wall.

You can either use an old plastic pot as a base to hold up the garden of you can hang it from a bracket.

  1. Using the plastic pot: Paint it your desired colour and cut a hole just bigger than the spout of the bottle. Once dry, place the tip of the bottle with the open bottom and with the plant already planted, inside. Then, superglue the rim of the open bottom and add in the tip of another bottle. Repeat the process until you have the bottle with the closed bottom, at the top. And you are done.
  1. Using a hanging bracket: Secure the bracket to the wall. Put your garden together as per the above process. When your garden is secure and all the pieces are stuck together, poke out a hole on each end of the bottom of the bottle and thread rope through it and tie. Then hang in place.

Finally, water the top bottle and allow it to drain through to the others.

Tips supplied by Granny Mouse Horticulturist, William Brown.

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