From dreamy residential gardens to enriching green spaces within commercial developments, Australian business Vertikal are taking landscaping to a new level.
Vertical gardens are beautiful and produce better planting results while also preventing pest and disease problems. They can provide privacy and beautification within urban environments, and facilitate the growth of more plants in less space, improving air quality and airflow in the process. Better yet, vertical gardens utilise space that would otherwise go unused and can soften harsh lighting conditions. However, Vertikal, an Australian business that specialises in crafting bespoke vertical garden solutions, takes vertical gardens to the next level.
Get to know Vertikal
Working across both luxury residential and commercial developments, Vertikal brings a deep understanding of garden design, sustainability, engineering, management and plant life to every project they work on. With more than a decade in business, Vertikal supply, install, manage and provide maintenance to vertical gardens across Australia, and work with the country’s leading architects, builders, designers, developers, contractors and nurseries.
Prioritising sustainable practices and outcomes, Vertikal’s biophilic designs are believed to enhance cognitive function, reduce stress, and improve happiness and well-being. Furthermore, internal vertical gardens are proven to increase wall sound absorption co-efficiency, enhance speech privacy, and improve ambient noise levels in office environments.
Naturally, the horticultural experts at Vertikal are innovators, and the proud owners of the Skale system which solves the problems posed by existing vertical garden products and presents new design opportunities. The Skale system can be installed quickly and on short notice, better complements the needs of builders and developers, and facilitates better creative responses.
The Skale system is a series of offset pots that slip into a 12mm extruded plastic substructure. This design allows struggling or tired plants to be swapped in and out like pot plants, and facilitates a water-efficient system whereby the excess water from the topmost pots runs into those below. Furthermore, Skale pots are designed and manufactured in Australia from recycled materials, and are recyclable themselves. “As far as we’re aware, we are the only company with a lifecycle replacement strategy on our green walls,” says Sam Collins, general manager of Vertikal. “Within four years of installation we swap out every original plant for a brand new plant – providing the client with a brand new green wall every four years.”
An example of the level of excellence achieved by Vertikal is the 18-metre by 5.4-metre living green wall installed directly above the entrance to the first Dorsett Hotel in Australia at The Star Gold Coast. Vertikal were engaged by DBI and Hutchinson Builders to craft the green wall, which is located above a 24-hour driveway with an infinity pool directly above it.
Given the location of the green wall, this project was a challenge to complete. “To my knowledge, this is the only vertical garden in Australia that cannot be reached from above or below,” says Sam. Oftentimes, green walls are accessed from below via elevated work platforms, such as scissor lifts or knuckle booms, or above by ropes access. “The only way to access our wall is from the car park on levels four and five. We’ve employed rope specialists to maintain the wall by using a Raptor rail system,” adds Sam.
This advanced system operates like a steel curtain rod above the garden, whereby rope specialists hook themselves into the rail system then drop down from above to access the green wall. However, given the green wall is positioned above a 24-hour driveway, there was a safety element to consider.
“Ïn order to catch any falling debris during maintenance, we had to include a safety catch net into the design of the green wall,” says Sam of the all-encompassing solution.
Vertikal then used 3000 individual plants across more than 15 species in the green wall. Each plant was specifically chosen to deal with the direct sun, occasional high wind conditions and harsh salt air associated with the prominent north-facing oceanside location. “This installation was all about creating a beautiful, soft aesthetic that welcomes guests into the Dorsett Hotel,” says Sam of the creative approach.
While one may assume it’s safe to say the design in itself is what the Vertikal team are most proud of, it’s actually the collaborative teamwork that was most rewarding. “This was very much a collaborative design process that led to a great, sustainable outcome for the client,” says Sam. “All parties came together to drive the right result, and it was so important that we had early engagement with the architect, who understood the challenges this installation would pose.”