A New Take on Green Walls


Moss is Finally Having its Moment!

With the future of landscaping moving increasingly towards a focus on integrity in design and intention, practices like green walls and vertical planting provide a space for evolution, and taking an innovative approach has never been simpler.

As we continue to develop new designs, we are kept on the edge of our seats, on the lookout for emerging materials that can improve installation time, reduce construction costs, and contribute positively to the environment. One of the latest materials we are investigating is moss mixed with or grown on concrete.

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We often associate moss on walls with fairy tales or decaying buildings, but why is this such an important topic in landscaping?

Benches that incorporated moss were installed in London recently, and it was noticed that moss was doing the work of 275 trees. Building on this, researchers have developed a porous and acidic concrete that recreates the properties of soil for moss, lichen, fungi, and other drought-tolerant vegetation to grow on. This, in turn, can transform a harsh city into a massive, visually pleasing air purifier.

A ‘moss slurry mixture’, applied to a suitable wall or structure, is an achievable way of making this vertical venture a reality. The type of moss used (there are approximately 212 species in the world; the possibilities are endless) can be chosen by the designer to create interesting visuals. At the same time, the wall covered in moss captures solar radiation, creating a comfortable internal building temperature.

Moss, lichen, and fungi are considered rhizoid plants, which are non-destructive in comparison to plants’ roots. The rhizoids function as glue for the façade, so it is best to apply the following mixture to a concrete façade that is very porous or rough in texture. This allows water flow to be slowed down or trapped inside, which can aid in the growth of the new green wall.

Here’s how:

1. Add two cups of fresh moss to three cups of a wet dairy product (the best is buttermilk or unsweetened yoghurt).

2. Add a teaspoon of sugar to the mixture before blending.

3. Blend the ingredients; if the mixture is too thick, add water. The mixture should be spreadable but not too thin or watery.

4. Leave the mixture to sit for two days; it is best to keep it at room temperature.

5. Apply to the surface as per design and tend to the slurry by regularly misting it.

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So… where can we use this?

The optimal area to be considered for the application of this moss mixture is an area that receives moderate to no sun exposure. Specifically, shady spots are the best for this green wall typology. The humidity level is also quite important when it comes to the success of the green wall– the higher the humidity, the less effort it takes to water and maintain over a longer period of time. Once applied, the moss will keep growing in the areas where you have painted them and might spread out into an undesired microclimatic space. Under perfect climatic conditions, the wall will be covered in the desired artwork in just 2 months, while conventional green walls can take up to a year to fully mature, making this a more time-efficient option.

This is only one of the many upcoming materials that create similar environmental and aesthetic outcomes at a more affordable price. With the moss green wall, everybody can get their hands dirty while working towards cleaner air, and contribute to the design evolution of an eco-conscious future, rather than only observing it.

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