At Hanging Gardens we are frequently asked to design not just living walls, but improvements to small spaces. This is a labour of love. Yes, we can design and install a beautiful living wall, but so often, the surrounding space can do with a little improvement too.

A prominent landscape architect recently told me that he did not like our green walls as he did not like “adding green bling” to buildings. I had to laugh!

Greening up an urban space is so much more than adding a little bling, Bling is generally described as something that serves no other purpose, but to add a little sparkle. Adding greenery to buildings, whether it is on the horizontal plane or the vertical plane, is not just about the twinkling aesthetics, it is about integrating the site with the natural world. It is about improving the health of the inhabitants, it is about improving the form and functionality of spaces in a very broad sense, and one that goes beyond the old conventional thinking.

The world is facing new and rapidly changing challenges. Our design thinking has to change equally quickly, if we are to have a hope of solving the challenges. Designing urban spaces the way we used to, is no longer viable or acceptable.

If we wish to house another couple of billion people, we have to create new standards. For the first time in human history, there are more people living in urban areas compared to rural areas and this trend is increasing. Just imagine, every city in the world doubling in size. This is what is predicted by 2030-2050.

So as a designer, smaller space, is a given. The simple question then, is how to make the space great?

Every bit of recent research has confirmed that bringing greenery back into people’s lives is essential and landscaping is not about limiting the design to the horizontal plane. This is why we at Hanging Gardens always aim to design beautiful SPACES and we invite you to go up the wall with us!

Leigh Nicholson