The living wall is the first of its kind to successfully overwinter in Calgary’s plant hardiness zone 3. While some plant loss occurs, the planted surface evolves, most of the plant coverage remains consistent.
This small living wall is a soil-based system held within rigid modules and hung on a racking system on a waterproof outdoor wall. It provided an opportunity to trial and expands upon the palette of plant species hardy enough for a cold climate living wall. It has successfully overwintered four years and provides an enjoyable microclimate to the adjacent deck and courtyard.
The plant palette consists of shallow rooted native prairie species as well as many ornamental and annual plants to change up the planting. It is a visual delight and can be viewed from interior spaces in the home as well as from the back garden.
In addition to the aesthetic enhancement of an otherwise blank stucco wall, the wall provides fresh air and added humidity in the summer when the drip irrigation system waters the plants.
When fully complete, the living wall will serve as a vertical rain garden using runoff from the roof, collecting the surplus water in a cistern below. Overflow from the cistern will spill into a rain garden at grade.