Less water: The aesthetic of living walls
Design that celebrates water as a resource can use the beauty of living walls and roofs to capture rainwater, reducing urban stormwater runoff while creating cool green oases. Often these living systems are teamed with a rainwater storage system, which can allow further use of the water for a variety of uses. As an emerging concept, there are a lot of interesting designs for living walls.
A living green house in Paris has integrated a system of glass pods to water ferns that enclose the structure, providing an encompassing green oasis for the homeowner. More photos and description at Living Green House Lost in Paris.
A lower cost option uses recycled plastic bottles to provide a vertical garden for a low income family in Sao Paolo. Not only a beautiful addition to the home, the living wall allows the family to grow lettuce and other food. More photos and description at Awesome Vertical Garden with Recycled PET Bottles.
And finally, what appears to be a very low maintenance way to get a living wall — tiles of moss and lichen that can be attached to your wall, needing no irrigation or natural light. Although not necessarily a way to save water, it does illustrate how designers are beginning to use live plants in their projects. More photos and description at Beautiful Living MOSStiles Brighten Up Your Room.
Living walls and roofs can be quite beautiful, in addition to being opportunities for saving water. These examples show some of the range of possibilities for the aesthetics of green walls.