Monday, November 9, 2009

How I Built My Wall


My greenwall is based on Patrick Blanc's design. Here's a quote from him describing his system published in Dwell Nov 2006:

"10mm thick waterproof PVC slabs covered with polyamid felt, into which holes (pockets actually) are cut for plants; a small hose, punctured every 10cm by a 2mm hole, to run the length of the top of the wall; a timing device to ensure regular, light watering- like a trickle slowly wending its way down a mossy rock. The ensemble is then attached to a metal structure that stands out from a supporting wall, trapping a cushion of air, which acts as insulation."

That's basically exactly what we built. The frame is a lattice work of 1" aluminum ("aluminum square stock" is what you google)tubes. Sheets of expanded PVC (Sintra is the brand name I used) have been screwed on with rust proof screws. Then 2 layers of the moisture retention mat (synthetic felt sourced from Green Roof Solutions product number MRM14) is stapled on with rust proof (Arrow Brand "Monel") staples. There is a submersible pump on a timer that pumps water up to a tube running under the felt across the top of the wall. There is a basin at the bottom of the wall also built from expanded 3/4" PVC.

We planted 3.5 inch plants in slits 5" wide separated horizontally by 2" gaps. The rows were 4" apart vertically and the plants are staggered every other row.

12 comments:

  1. Hi there!
    Your wall is absolutely amazing!
    I found you via youtube, I loved how you captured the whole process (was it sketchup at the first frames? :P)

    I'm writing an DIY article on green walls for my blog, and I'd like to use your wall as an example.
    Do you mind?

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  2. Hi,

    I don't mind at all. That was SketchUp. Send me a link to your article when you finish.

    Matt

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  3. Hi Matt!
    What kind of soil do you use?
    How can you avoid the plages... insects and bugs in general?
    Is a special dirt??

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  4. Hi Raquel,

    No special dirt. Just the dirt the plants came in. For awhile we had tiny flying bugs called fungus gnats. Not a lot of them just a few. But eventually they just went away.

    No other bugs.

    Matt

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  5. And what about the light?
    because where I'm plannig to build my wall doesn't have direct sunlight, there's just artificial light... what kind of lights do I need?
    Thanks for answer!
    =)Raquel

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  6. Are there different instructions for building an exterior wall. I am in the Pacific Northwest and we have rain from October through May. Any suggestions?

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  7. Hi @preciouswater. You should consult with a local nursery regarding plants that will work in your climate. Most walls need some changing of the irrigation seasonally. In the summer I water more. During your wet season you may not need to water at all. And you need to choose plants that don't mind that much water.

    Good Luck,

    Matt

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  8. You kinda glossed over the pvc basin...how did you get a basin out of pvc?

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  9. Business Links developed a special Rust Proof Solution: Advantage. This product is eco-friendly and safe to the environment. Also, the product is enriched with anticorrosive ingredients. The benefit of this product forms a defensive gel and a barrier against humidity which is the main cause of rust.
    Rust proof Solutions

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  10. hi, your GW is amazing, i wonder how you set the aluminum square in the wall, thanks for share this material

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  11. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for the info! I'm building mine today, and noticed you used a kind of wire grid to fix the felt, is that correct? Could you explain what is that, and if you use some kind of glue so the dirt does not fall inside through the layers of felt (pardon the english, I'm brazilian). Thanks! Mateus

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  12. Hi Matias,

    I didn't use a wire grid I used a sheet of thick plastic. To attach the felt you use a staple gun with non-rusting staples (monel).

    Good Luck,

    Matt

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