The brief was to find a living wall system that was able to sustain long term planting with easy access to irrigation whilst being lightweight and waterproof.
Our R&D programme commenced with Terapia Urbana & Seville University in 2010.
Whilst there were a number of cassette based hydroponic and compost systems already on the market, they restricted root spread, were heavy and access to the irrigation pipes for maintenance was awkward and time consuming.
The development of a multi-layer fabric system was proposed as a solution. This would allow for unlimited root spread, easy access to the irrigation and would be lightweight.
Trials of the multi-layer system commenced in 2008 in Seville, Spain with the planting of a 40m2 Living Wall
In 2010, the results were impressive and were often delivered in over 40°c
We found that, by enabling the roots to spread throughout the entire system, looking for water and have access to air, encouraged healthy, sustainable, long-term planting. The healthy root system made for healthy plants which made them more resistant to pests and diseases. A big advantage in the typically densely planted Living Walls.
All living walls require irrigation. It is important to have unrestricted maintenance access to all pipes and emitters to ensure consistent and reliable delivery of water and nutrients. By delivering the irrigation to the front of the system rather than the rear, the multi-layer fabric gives us quick and easy access for maintenance servicing. Important for the long-term sustainability of the planting.
Weighing 40 KG per m2 fully saturated and planted, it is the lightest commercially produced Living Wall system on the market. It is also very strong. Our shear test concluded that the fabric is able to withstand a loading of 520kg per linear mtr – over 10 times the weight of the planting. It was, in fact, the aluminium hanging rail that was the first to show signs of stress.
This was solved by adding a fully waterproof layer which retains irrigation within the system and protects the building/ structureon which the Living Wall is fitted
The results of this research enabled us to enter the LivingWall market in 2010, confident that our system could support long term sustainable planting.
We describe our multi-layer fytotextile as ‘semi-hydroponic’. Planting is carried out on site with plants straight from their pots, still in their growing media, into the fytotextile pockets. We apply irrigation to the middle layer which encourages the roots to go looking for moisture. As the fytotextile is an engineered fabric it is very strong and flexible which enables any surface to be covered.
You can read more here.
Commercial production commenced in 2010. Patent was granted in 2018