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The art and virtues of vertical gardens

There is a small consensus of opinion, in some cynical parts of the property industry, that vertical gardens represent eco-fantasy architecture designed to provide credentials for corporations and city councils seeking eco kudos. The trend has been flourishing for well over a decade and this type of real estate beautification can now been seen in many cities and towns around the world, including Shanghai, Beirut, Amsterdam and Paris. 

The debate around creating a vertical garden (where seeds and plants are embedded into the structure of a building) can often centre on whether these botanical constructions are truly better for the environment or just an aesthetically pleasing way of pretending to be.

However, it seems nonsensical to challenge the intentions of any architect, or their client, whose vision and wish is to see their property decorated with vertical planting and tree terraces. As any development under construction today will be following regulations designed to ensure a building’s enhanced sustainability, the use of beautiful shrubbery instead of plastic cladding can surely only be a positive thing.

There are indeed many environmental positives to creating a development that includes a vertical garden, particularly in urban areas with air pollution. There is firm evidence that plants also reduce physical stress and in addition to this these walls of growing greenery provide privacy and insulation against sound pollution and cold weather.

Of great interest locally are the plans of Marbella’s town council to install vertical gardens at three well-used public thoroughfares in the town. Although industrial and not residential in nature, these grey structures (two bridges and a tunnel) will be transformed into pleasing landmarks with the use of green shrubbery and flowers to replace advertising hoarding and concrete.

After considering the practical, environmental and emotional backgrounds to cultivating vegetation along the structure of a new building, it would appear that there are no real negatives to this horticultural architecture. Whether it’s for ecological reasons, facilitating calmness and privacy, or a desire to create real living art, it would seem vertical gardens have a great deal to feel virtuous about.

The use of vertical gardens within architecture can:

help to reduce heat created by urban activity
 clean the air of pollutants and dust
 offset the carbon footprint of fuel emissions
 protect against noise pollution
 improve indoor air quality by removing harmful toxins
 act as a natural sound proofing barrier
 provide thermal insulation
 increase biodiversity by creating habitats for birds and insects
 offer protection from the elements
 reduce energy consumption
 maximise limited space in metropolitan areas

Move Project
Move Project is a specialist consulting business that manages professional and experienced teams working on exclusive property developments in Marbella and other sought after locations on the Costa del Sol.