The Cost of a Living Plant Wall [Article]
Wondering what it would cost to add a Living Plant Wall in your space? We break it down and show you the numbers.
In the sections to follow we have broken out the cost components to help you understand
- What is involved in the initial costs and…
- What are the ongoing costs to help get you on your way to specifying a Living Wall into your project!
- Living Wall System Components – Live wall system, plant material, supplemental lighting, mounting components, and irrigation system
- Installation – Labor, shipping
- Ongoing Costs – Horticulture maintenance
The Live Wall System is the component that merges the Plants, Irrigation, and Support Structure into one Plant Wall. This is a big portion of the costs because it plays a crucial role in a successful live wall. Generally, all of the varied systems on the market fall into 4 different types:
- Hydroponic systems with a Rockwool or felt growing medium,
- Pre-grown Soil modules
- a “pouch” type System
- Tray Systems – the most popular system and the cost for this component typically falls in the $60-$90/ square foot range.
Plant material – the component that takes all the glory, and rightly so! Of course plants vary and interior plants are slightly more expensive than exterior varieties but the cost for this component would typically range from $25 – $50/ square foot. Check out our interesting article on common issues with live walls where we discuss the importance of using a correct plant palette on the success click here to get to that article.
While Live Walls can be installed directly on to many walls, in many cases a framework is required to house/mount the system. This can be a plywood backing, a metal structure, or hat channel.
A water barrier is also installed at this point. Typical pricing for this component would range from $5-$15/ square foot.
The irrigation system can be as simple or as complex as you want to go. With hydroponic systems, this is very critical because the method that the plants are grown in requires consistent irrigation often multiple times per day and cannot fail.
Because complex systems often fail over time from mineral build-up. etc we typically try to keep things simple using the Hunter Hydrowise System when there is plumbing available. This allows you to establish an automatic watering schedule, remotely monitor water usage, and fertilize seasonally.
If there is no plumbing available we have developed a simple but effective system to irrigate manually with a mobile water tank which can reduce maintenance costs from the hand watering method. The overall cost of an automatic irrigation system is typically around $5- $10/ square foot.
Likely the #1 reason plant walls fail is insufficient lighting. With efficient LED lighting now readily available and very inexpensive to run, supplemental lighting on interior Live Plant Walls should, more often than not, be installed. Generally, this adds $5-$15/ square foot but can vary substantially depending on the determined lighting supplement requirements. Our team can help source the appropriate lighting. An electrician will need to consult on the project if one is not already involved.
Shipping costs will vary depending on the size of wall, supporting materials and the location of the project. This can be a large factor and often this cost runs about 20% of the material costs.
This cost can vary widely. For some Plant Walls, their final location is in a hard-to-reach area which requires lifts, special materials, and handling needs all add to the final number.
A typical cost for installation would be $5-$10/ square foot.
All living walls need care to some degree no matter how advanced the automations are. Plants grow and need pruning, pests can show up and some plants will just plain fail. There will also need to be feeding and cleaning.
Plant replacements are generally included in the monthly maintenance cost of interior plant walls and not generally on exterior walls as there is so many elements outside of our control.
ANNUAL COSTS ESTIMATE
As a general rule, the annual cost for a live wall maintenance will run from $1.50-$3.00 sq. ft. Exterior walls or lowlight walls can increase the cost.
So there you have it, we put on paper the typical costs of a living plant wall and outlined the components that make up this cost, we trust you’ve found this helpful. The benefits of live walls are many and we would love to help you include one on your next project, please get in touch to discuss.
If, after reading this you don’t think you have the budget, we do have ways to make most budgets work, including some zero-maintenance options. Our team has worked on projects large and small and would enjoy discussing yours!
Typical lead times are 4-6 weeks from shop drawing sign off. On larger projects, there typically is longer lead times to allow the growers to produce the volume of plants needed. Longer lead times will often give us a larger plant palette.
Q: How long will the Living Wall last?
A: A properly maintained live wall will last a lifetime. Plants may need replacing through the process but overall the systems that Green Oasis sells will last forever if they are maintained. Walls using felt substrate on the other hand will break down relatively quickly.
Q: How do we connect the irrigation system directly to a water source?
A: It is a very simple connection that we recommend a licensed plumber complete. Green Oasis would provide shop drawings and all the components for the irrigation system which are specifically designed for each wall.
Q: Is there water runoff?
A: Yes, we recommend that there is some water runoff which helps flush out any fertilizer salts and mineral build-up. This does not need to be an excessive amount or happen at every irrigation run but does help eliminate problems.
Q: Where does the runoff water go?
A: Walls with an automatic irrigation system must be connected to a drain, gutter system or drip directly onto the ground below. On walls with a manual water system, a small bucket or catch basin works just fine.
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