Living Wall Construction Begins

by Jorge Bustamante, 04/24/13

plywood wall
We finally started putting up the wall! Recap until now: We ordered the green wall materials from ELT Easy Green after comparing it to other systems and deciding it was the best for our application/budget. The materials arrived a few weeks ago and we have been filling the modules, first with drainage media, then soil, then plants. It was a great experience because I learned about the soil physics and how its composition affects its water holding capacity. This in turn is very important for the plants because too much water can be just as bad as not enough water. So finding the right mix of soil and hardy plants for the local environment are the key to a successful green roof or wall.

Now that most of them are planted we are going to install them, however it’s not as easy as it seems. First, we installed install a plywood cover on the wall so that we can attach the modules to it, thus saving us time and effort by drilling into wood instead of concrete. Here is a picture of how it looks.

We had to carry it piece by piece up to the roof because the elevator was too small. Needless to say it was really heavy. Once it was up there we drilled holes at the corners and some in the center of each piece, we leveled it against the wall and drilled in the same holes through the concrete. Then we used self-tapping screws to attach it. We soon realized that the Philips head on the screws was not sturdy enough and that they were stripping before going all the way in. We fixed it by replacing the Philips head screws with hex heads. Even though it was a pretty hot day we got to move forward on the project and we had a lot of fun working.

—Jorge Bustamante, Graduate Student, Biological and Agricultural Engineering

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