Vertical Gardens

Vertical Garden

Around the world, ground-level gardens are extremely common.  In Europe, however, the exterior walls of some buildings are decorated with vegetation.  These types of gardens are referred to as green walls, living walls, or vertical gardens.  While beautiful and functional, they can even provide buildings with numerous benefits.  Vertical gardens are a stunning way of combining landscape with architecture.

Vertical Garden - Paris | B. Rocke Landscaping | Winnipeg, Manitoba

Vertical Garden – Paris

A vertical garden is a plant-covered wall that uses techniques similar to traditional gardening.  One method of installing a vertical garden is to create a stainless steel frame, cover it with polycarbonate sheeting, and then attach two layers of irrigation fabric.  This forms planting pockets and eliminates the need for soil.

Vertical gardening differs somewhat from cultivating climbing plants such as green ivy, as vertical gardens can accommodate a wide array of plant species suitable to the climate and installation method.  These types of projects not only bring a new dimension to your landscape, but they also add greater visual interest when paired with ground-level gardens.

Vertical Garden - Amsterdam | B. Rocke Landscaping | Winnipeg, Manitoba

Vertical Garden – Amsterdam

Green walls benefit the building as a whole.   These gardens protect exterior walls from the weathering effects of the elements.  The vertical vegetation acts as an additional layer of insulation, keeping the building interior cooler in the summer and warmer in the colder months.  The gardens create a microclimate; they lower overall energy consumption, reduce a building’s heat-island effect, and improve air quality.

Patrick Blanc is a landscape designer whose vertical gardens can be found all over the world.  He has over 300 beautiful installations in a wide range of climates.  I was fortunate enough to visit one of Patrick’s projects in Paris.  I was amazed with what I saw; it was unlike anything I’d witnessed before.  I’ve also seen some further examples of vertical gardens in London and Amsterdam.  This type of garden is rare in Winnipeg due to challenges with our climate.  It is common, however, to see walls filled with ivy and other climbing plants.

Contact us at B. Rocke landscaping for more information on green walls!


The Landscape Architect. “Green Walls, Living Walls, Vertical Gardens.” Unknown Date.
Marie-Laure Sequin. “Going Vertical: The History of Green Walls.” Landarchs. 2014.
Kristin Hohenadel. “Replanting the World’s Concrete Jungles, One Wall at a Time.” Slate. 2013.
All Photos taken by Omar De Mesa,2012.