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A living wall made of recycled metal

Associate Professor Bruce Dvorak, left, and Associate Professor Ahmed K. Ali of Texas A&M University, along with a group of students designed a living wall using recycled materials, which was designed to accommodate enough soil space and other needs plants have.

The structure is over 3 metres tall (10 feet) and consists of about 300 metal, diamond shaped planters that can be removed and replace for easy maintenance. Each of the planters houses drought-tolerant plants. The wall has its own irrigation system. It aims to solve problems encountered with other living wall systems.

The wall was designed by Ali, associate professor of architecture, and Dvorak, associate professor of landscape architecture. They studied other living walls, in which plants often died. The two main reasons for this is that the plants are forced to grow at an unnatural angle and that the living walls do not offer enough soil space for the plants to spread out their roots.

Together with a group of graduate students, they used leftover sheet metal of the automotive industry and folded into diamond-shaped structures that can each hold their own plant, giving them enough soil space and allows it to assume its natural, upright position.

The diverse assortment of plants receives water automatically through a drip irrigation system running behind the wall, and because of the modular design, each plant can be given as much or as little water as it needs.

Photos: Laura McKenzie/Texas A&M Division of Marketing & Communications

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