Smartscape's Pioneering Urban Greening Projects

14 December 2020

Pioneering urban greening projects from the Smartscape Team.

This is a snapshot of some of our key projects which have developed over the last 18 months. Why do we use the word Pioneering? Quite simply put and as described in the English Dictionary the term means 'using ideas and methods that have not been used before'.

The Smartscape's design and development team are constantly seeking new and innovative methods to improve the introduction of plants into exterior and interior projects. Our goal is simple, to make planting schemes and living walls not only beautiful but smart and functional too. Smart irrigation, horticultural content for improved biodiversity and air quality improvements and smart design to enable quick and straightforward integrations of living green into harsh urban environments.

Here are some of our personal favourites and the reasons why!

The Orchard Lisle Living Wall for Team London Bridge

This 76m2 living wall was installed as part of a series of interventions that are part of the Borough High Street Low Emission Neighbourhood initiative led by Team London Bridge and Better Bankside, supported by the Mayor of London.

Interventions are located to highlight calm and healthy walking routes in the busy London Bridge and Bankside area and are complemented by initiatives to promote green business practices like reduced deliveries and clean vehicles.

The wall is owned by the Guy's and St Thomas' charity who own the Orchard Lilse Building, who facilitated the project and support its upkeep.

The living wall was designed to enhance biodiversity and improve air quality.

Over 73 species are included in this green wall of which 30 are RHS approved and 18 are RHS approved for supporting pollinators. The wall has been carefully curated to provide year-round coverage for pollinating insects birds and butterflies.

To improve air quality the heterogeneous plant topography (high/low planting) allows for higher rates of particulate matter (PM) impaction through the living wall, increasing deposition rates and filtering the air more effectively of damaging PM10, PM5, PM2.5 and PM1. Plants included in the design such as stachys, pinus mugo and convolvulus are particularly effective at trapping particulate matter.

The topography of the wall has been facilitated by bespoke panels of the Scotscape Fytotextile system which have larger planting pockets, allowing bigger species and even trees to grow on the vertical surface. The design composition uses irregular organic patterns to emulate nature.

Zero water waste irrigation system

To irrigate the Orchard Lisle living wall Scotscape installed rainwater harvesting which is on a recirculation system, meaning that not a drop of water is wasted. A first for exterior living wall specification in London.

Why is the Orchard Lisle Living Wall a pioneering project?

This occupies our first place because of the collaborative venture between BID districts Team London Bridge and Better Bankside, the Mayor of London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity to make this living wall happen, a united front in meeting a community target – we like it.

This wall enabled us to incorporate the larger planting pocket system which had been researched at Scotscape HQ to incorporate larger tree and shrub species and therefore enabled our designer Ian Herriot to introduce the varied topography in the planting to genuinely impact positively on particulate matter deposition improving the air quality.

To further earn its position as a pioneering living wall project a zero water waste irrigation system is incorporated. We installed rainwater harvesting which is on a recirculation system, meaning that not a drop of water is wasted. A first for exterior living wall specification in London.

living walls orchard lisle bottom up
Living Wall Green Wall for London Bridge

Royal Lancaster Hotel

This 200m2 Living Wall was designed by Landscape Architect: Scape Design and wraps around the site of this landmark building.

As part of the hotel’s goals to create a more sustainable hospitality environment both inside and out – the landscaping brings the positive benefits of plants to customers.

The living wall wraps around the curved ramp which leads to the car park. Fytotextile is flexible thus lends itself perfectly to unusual surfaces.

Why is The Royal Lancaster Hotel Living Wall a pioneering project?

Its all about the curve – the flexibility of the fytotextile system we use and its very strong but very lightweight characteristics made it perfect for this project, to effortlessly wrap around a curved surface - opening up the options for the retro-greening of many urban surfaces.

Green wall Royal Lancaster Hotel

Living Pillar Ebury Street

Inspired by the knowledge the industry has gained about the benefits of urban greening in increasingly busy cityscapes, we wanted to take the concept of vertical retrofitting of plants one step further by using the existing resource of street furniture (including lamp posts) as a framework on which to grow plants, thus the LivingPillar™ was designed.

In conjunction with Greenwich University and Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, a pilot scheme of LivingPillar™ was trialled in Ebury Street, close to Victoria in the centre of London’s Belgravia. Pollution levels in Ebury Street were monitored by Greenwich University to assess the benefits that the pilot scheme brings.

Vegetation in the urban landscape brings many benefits to the built environment, not only to mitigate air pollution, but by expanding urban biodiversity, evapotranspiration cooling effect and noise reduction. There is also a strong argument to be made for a greater inclusion of nature and planting in the urban environment in terms of psychological well-being and placemaking.

The use of columnar living wall systems has been designed as a viable alternative to tree planting in congested city centres where service pipe volume beneath our pavements often prevents tree planting. The potential negative effects of particulate matter build up under extensive tree canopies can also be mitigated.

Why is Living Pillar a pioneering project?

The capability of LivingPillar™ to be retrofitted onto existing structures is an attractive proposition, with an estimated 494,000 lamp posts in Central London alone, the positive impact to wayfinding and placemaking that such structures bring to the urban environment is extensive. Inclusion of a water tank enables irrigation of the pillars throughout the week, minimising water top ups and eliminating waste water. Powered by solar energy the irrigation pumps require no mains electricity.

Our goal with the Living Pillar™ is to introduce green biodiverse highways from the countryside into city centres in the interests of biodiversity, well-being and pollution relief.

 living wall pillar ebury street
Living Wall Pillar Ebury Street

Jaguar Land Rover Sunbury on Thames

This 60m2 interior living wall installed by the Smartscape team contains a massive 2940 plants. The wall brings nature right into the heart of this contemporary building, and brings with it all of the biophilic benefits of plants, reducing acoustics, improving interior air quality and delivering that all important human connection to nature.

The ‘wave’ design includes species known to reduced particulate matter in the air and reduce harmful VOC’s, including Spathiphyllum korto, Asplenium nidus and Aglaonema modestum.

Why is this wall a project hero?

This is the second living wall we have installed for Jaguar Land Rover, their vision started in Munich and it is encouraging to witness a brand following through with their commitment to the health and wellbeing of their staff and customers.

living wall green wall jaguar land rover
Living Wall Green Wall Jaguar Land Rover

Interior Landscaping Project Pioneer – Salesforce

With interior landscaping installations across Salesforce in Paris, London, Amsterdam, and Munich our Pioneering Projects would not be complete without a mention of this exceptional client!

Interior living columns, Hanging garden staircases, clusters of pot plant combinations, and table-top planting across multiple floors of this international company is a triumph of both cutting edge design and horticultural knowledge. All planting throughout has sustainability at the heart of its ethos with peat-free composts and substrates used as standard and all plant species are specifically selected to ensure they thrive where they are placed, eliminating the need for plant replacement and unnecessary wastage.

Salesforce London holds over 130 species of plants and boasts over 5000 plants

We continue to maintain our installations in the UK to excellent standards ensuring that these iconic offices look magnificent at all times.

Why is Salesforce a pioneering project?

Another brilliant brand with a determination to create healthy workspaces that are so encouraging for the industry. Having design concepts embraced by such a forward-thinking client is so inspiring and then bringing that vision to life is even better!

salesforce whole floor skyline view
Interior Living Wall Salesforce
Interior green wall salesforce
Interior green wall salesforce
You may also like to read our blogs, events or book a webinar/cpd.

Contact Us

To design your biodiversity project


Head Office
Ditton Nurseries
Summerfield Lane
London, KT6 5DZ

© Copyright 2024 Scotscape Group Limited. All rights reserverd. Cookie Settings