The dedication to find a sustainable alternative to a vertical garden system, has resulted in a uniquely innovative “living” wall product called WildWall Tiles. It is the brainchild of artist, Hannelie Coetzee, member of a two-women team, who used her many years of studying and working with patterns, designs, plants, water flow and succulents.
Hannelie’s creation of a brick-sized concrete tile with a specially designed pocket for succulents became a reality after she realised there is a gap in the market.
Following many hours of experimentation with different materials, Hannelie developed the WildWall Tile using a specially prepared and bespoke mix of cement to form a concrete plant holder that likes water and has anti-bacterial qualities preventing mould. This culminated into a patented handmade tile being created, resulting in a perfect little eco-system for a hardy succulent.
Creating a living vertical wall
The tiles can be screwed onto most surfaces, either on its own or in an endless configuration of diagonal lines, which allows it to work with the direction flows when watering, as water from one pocket drips into another.
The tile is ideal for water-wise succulent plants and is based on how plants would grow on a rock face in nature. The small pocket holds the plant, constrained like a bonsai, so that the plant is prevented to outgrow its pocket. The tiles can either be watered by hand or fitted with an irrigation system if necessary.
The drainage hole ensures that the roots are not overwatered. Like in all gardens, the presence of plants and wet soil has a cooling effect. Planting the right plants on hot walls and watering it enough will create a cooling effect on, for instance, patios.
Make sure to follow the instructions for installation and use the best soil mixes that work well with water-wise plants. It is important not to block the drainage hole, so a couple of small stones in the bottom of the pot should ensure this. If it gets blocked, it can be easily opened with a toothpick/matchstick.
Hannelie says: “Designs options can be created in an endless variation using different colours and textures of small rooted plants. If you are tired of your design, you can upcycle the old design and plant a new formation.”
Maintenance and care
Small walls can be maintained like any other succulent garden. Large walls can be maintained by the WildWall Tiles team at a monthly rate.
The tiles are available in singles, packs with six tiles or per square metre. The singles and packs with six tiles are easy to install, but the WildWall team will assist with the per square metre installation. Interestingly, WildWall offers the services of an artist who can be commissioned to design bespoke artwork.
The costs are R100 per tile or R5 000 per 50 tiles, which makes up about 1m². Large orders can be done via WildWall’s website, with smaller quantities currently available from their premises. Please note that as the tiles have a curing phase, following the restrictions of lockdown, they are currently building up stock again.
WildWall Tile benefits
o Reduces plastic pollution and attracts bees – Green Rating.
o The cement mix has an anti-bacterial quality that prevents it going mouldy or deforming with moisture.
o Easily installed on its own or in a range of configuration of diagonal lines.
o The tile is ideal for water-wise succulent plants and the pocket keeps the plant constrained like a bonsai, so that the plant is prevented to outgrow its pocket.
o Easily irrigated and does not require specialised care or maintenance.
o Like in all gardens, the presence of plants and wet soil has a cooling effect. Planting the right plants on hot walls and watering it enough will create a cooling effect on, for instance, patios.
The 120m² wall installed at the Sandton Gate Terrace Wall, Muse ll, which was installed in January 2020, is slowly taking shape.
Visit WildWall Tiles online at www.wildwalltiles.com for more information.
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