Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Missing Woven Fabric

I went to Paris a few months ago and visited some Blanc greenwalls in person. I noticed that Blanc sometimes uses plastic woven or perforated fabric in between and behind the layers of moisture retention fabric.

The black layer at the back and the white layer in the middle is the plastic. Image from the Lushe blog.

As you can see the felt is separated by two layers of woven plastic fabric. This fabric is commonly used in landscaping. I assume this fabric helps with evaporation and adds to moisture retention. It would also give the roots a structure to hold on to besides the felt.

Here's an example of the fabric on a landscaping site.

I did not use this fabric when I made my wall because I was unaware of it. I can't say that it has effected anything. I suspect it's more crucial in an outdoor wall where evaporation might be more of an issue.

I also saw Blanc use a perforated polyethylene sheet in between the layers of felt on the musée du quai Branly wall. It was thin clear plastic that looked like it had been punched with a needle over and over again. On that wall the woven was used as the back most layer. It would seem Blanc uses the woven as the back layer on all his walls. He also mentions it in his original description in Dwell I believe.

Here's a simple diagram for the use of the fabric. I have seen Blanc locate the water source behind all layers although in the above picture it's between the felt layers.


  1. Hi Matt,
    I've been waiting your next wall:)
    Is the felt above is geotextile which Patrick blanc says polyamide?
    What is the difference?

  2. Hey Matt, this is a reaction to an old post. I came across your blog while searching for do's and don'ts on green walls, as I am getting ready to build my own. The "woven fabric" you write about looks like it might be a root-barrier cloth (i'm not sure about the correct english term). It is used alot in green roofs and gardens, where it makes sure the roots of the plants aren't going where the shoudn't. I can't tell for sure though, by the picture you posted.
    When I get arround building my own, I'll let you know, its blogs like yours that make the world one small community.

  3. Hi Matt,

    Looking at your outdoor pic showing two layers of woven material. Do you think that the pockets are cut through the front felt AND the central layer of woven material or just the outermost felt. Keep up the good work.

  4. @Richard The pocket definitely cuts through the first layer of felt and the first layer of the woven.


  5. @Richard In retrospect I'd probably locate the irrigation between the woven and the felt layer.

  6. hi Matt
    I am Yuvika from India.I must say you have been doing great work..i read your blog for the first time today, got engrossed reading it and ended up reading it all in one motivated me to make my own green wall.I stay in mumbai. Its a crowded city with small apartments with or without balconies. I am blessed to have one and m now planning to construct my own green wall in my balcony.As i understood, 1st is mounting of the aluminum frame. second layer is of PVC. 3rd n 4th layers are of felts. plants are put in the cuts done in the fourth layer..all i wanted to ask is about the kind of irrigation required for the plants and fertilizer if any as there is no/hardly any soil.can i go with the typical and conventional manual watering through hose pipe?

    also the climate here is tropical with humidity prevailing almost for 4-5 months during monsoons. which kind of plants should i for?

    tks for the help..will update you with step by step pictures of my first wall..tks again

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  9. Matt,
    your blog has been really helpful, thank you so much. I'm actually about to make my first green wall for a hotel, but i'm having a little trouble finding the woven fabric, is it any alternative? Thanks!

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  12. i really love your work and such a detailed explanation :)

    i rarely write any comments on any blog, but this one I HAVE TO, u really did a very very good job

    thank you so much

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. It looks like what we call weed mat here in Australia.

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  16. Hey Matt, @Matt
    Looking at your indoor picture, are the pockets are being cut only through the 1st MRM layer or both MRM layers?

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