The Pros and Cons of Indoor Vertical Gardens for your home or workplace

Indoor Greenwalls, Living walls & Vertical Gardens are a great way of adding a feeling of authenticity and natural touch-points to your home or your workplace branding. There is no doubt that the introduction of plants (either real or artificial) are of benefit to any interior space & provide a calming effect and embrace the human need to connect with nature, and biophilic design is being embraced by workplaces, wellness centres (such as the Aurora Wellness Centre I’ve recently designed) and hospitality (ie the Amex/American Express lounge at Melbourne Airport).

The cost of difference between a real or artificial vertical garden is big, and should be one of your considerations, however regardless of what you select, the end result is a custom handmade unique design solution to suit your style, introducing colour, texture and depth into your space..

A Living wall


  • Real plants – benefit fresh air
  • Great choice of plants, including herbs (depending upon the location of the wall & the amount of light received)
  • Sound absorbing


  • High cost per square metre – cost of the supply of the wall system with soil or substrate & a watering system, specialised lighting, structural engineering & construction of the supporting wall, plumbing, pump and electrical works
  • Time required for plants to mature on a new wall
  • Plants must be ordered early to allow for growth prior to installation
  • Ongoing daily or weekly high maintenance by a professional – dust, fertilising, pruning, water, maintenance repair of the system, risk of leaking & plants dying, cleaning (potential risk of legionnaires disease)
American Express Lounge, Melbourne
Cubby House Challenge, Royal Melbourne Garden Show – I used herbs and edible flowers for this project

Preserved Moss Greenwall


  • Natural & authentic real preserved plants using a paraffin or glycerine process1
  • Environmentally friendly, it is neither alive or dead it has been made of dormant preserved moss, and absorb VOC’s1 (volatile organic compounds)
  • Can be used creatively by incorporating into shapes or signage, or mixed with preserved or artificial plants
  • Lightweight alternative to a living wall as the moss does not require any dirt, soil or substrate, or watering
  • Available dyed in a range of colours to suit branding
  • Great for creating a graphic style of design
  • Low maintenance – dust only using compressed air1
  • Different types of moss such as pole moss, reindeer moss, pillow moss
  • Sound absorbing
  • Instantly green
  • Long lasting, at least 10 years1
  • Easily repaired & patched


  • The actual biophilic benefits & ‘environmentally friendly’ claims of preserved moss walls is disputed depending upon who you speak to
  • Possible potential to fade over time
  • Care must be take when dusting as the moss is very delicate, risk of damage if brushing up against the moss
  • Ask your supplier to ensure that the moss has been sustainably grown & harvested

Preserved plant Greenwall


  • Natural & authentic real preserved plants
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Lightweight alternative to a living wall as the moss does not require any dirt, soil or substrate, or watering
  • A wide range of different plant types to suit your style
  • Sound absorbing
  • Air purifying
  • Instantly green & long lasting


  • Care must be take when dusting the plants, and there is potential risk of damage if brushing up against them
  • The actual biophilic benefits & ‘environmentally friendly’ claims of preserved moss walls is disputed depending upon who you speak to

Artificial Greenwall


  • A wide range of different plant types to suit your style
  • Low maintenance – dust only
  • lightweight – backed on
  • Lower setup cost – no plumbing, lighting or electrical services are required
  • Can be located anywhere – special lighting is not required
  • looks good if use good quality plants
  • sound absorbing
  • Instantly green & long lasting


  • Perceived relatively high cost for goods quality artificial plants compared to real plants
  • Lack of environmental benefits
  • Cannot provide oxygen and process carbon dioxide emissions in the air
  • No pests or bugs
  • Cheap artificial plants can look fake
  • Care must be taken in selecting a location for your wall, as fronds can be knocked loose. The garden wall below was recessed into the wall & placed in a low-traffic position to reduce the amount it projected & reduce potential damage.
Office reception area

Note: this article is a brief overview from an Interior Designer’s perspective, and is not intended to be comprehensive technical information on garden walls.

So, why Hire an Interior Designer?

Unfortunately many people get confused or intimidated by the idea of hiring a professional Interior Designer for their project, and might be concerned about the process of working with a designer & the costs of doing so.

A lot of people I meet feel that they can hire a builder and do the design themselves, selecting materials and fixtures in dribs and drabs, often at the last minute (leading to less choice) with poor planning & lack of an overall vision. This will lead increased costs due to changes, additions and variations that the builder will not have allowed for.

(please pin the below graphic to your pinterest board for reference)

Photo: Uby Yanes @Unsplash

You will save money & time. Your designer will plan functional and appealing spaces, provide drawings, visualisations & material / furnishing selections in a strategic manner so you can get competitive quotes, and you know what the design will look like & cost right from the start.

You require a Qualified Interior Designer & Registered Building Practitioner for any commercial project or residential project that requires a building permit; a proper interior designer is a highly trained & experienced registered professional, not just someone with ‘a good eye for colour’ and a knack for picking furniture.

“Thank you so much for all your hard work on our brand new space…Our clients adore the new space just as much as we had visualised in our very first meeting. We spoke about how a salon should feel the moment you step through the door and how to make this happen. After purchasing this space (an empty concrete shell) I didn’t have any idea of where to start. You started creating this amazing space and brought to life what I thought was never possible”

Kara MacIsaac – Absolu Hair Salon



Let’s make something beautiful together, book an appointment to explore your dream project.

Image: Omar Rodriguez @ormphotography