Earth & Water was invited to speak and showcase our vertical living wall installation in South Perth's Reva Apartments. This vertical living wall industry update was hosted by Irrigation Australia, the peak organisation that represents and trains the irrigation industry across the country.

The Event

This vertical living wall industry update was hosted by Irrigation Australia, the peak organisation that represents and trains the irrigation industry across the country.

It was an invite only event to members of Irrigation Australia as an opportunity to discuss the future of irrigation in a high density development future.

Earth & Water was invited to speak and showcase our vertical living wall installation in South Perth’s Reva Apartments.

Other speakers included Paul Officer from Netafim and Mike Trimble from HR Products, both are suppliers to Earth & Water and have been actively part of several vertical living wall installations and other projects for over 18 years.

This post is a summary of the key takeaways from the event:

  • Plant Palette
  • Irrigation type
  • Smart Water Management
Irrigation Australia Living Wall Event 2021 Perth 3

Plant Palette

Vertical living walls are particularly senstive to changes in their immediate environment which makes choosing the right plants challenging and best left to those with experience!

They are often in entirely constructed environments from the depth of their root base to soil and air moisture content and seasonal adjustments to watering schedules.

Exposure to the elements: light levels, wind and temperature have huge impacts on how a vertical living wall performs over a season and through the lifecycle of the plants.

Walls located in public spaces have to be durable and low maintenance whereas private walls are treated better and respectfully. Over time we have learnt that is is essential to marry the plant palette to the type of attention it will receive. 

Irrigation Australia Living Wall Event 2021 Perth 5

Climate and Irrigation Scheduling

Perth is a hot, dry climate compared to tropical cities such as Singapore, Miami and Brisbane.  Deep green foliage with depth and diversity is always the most visually appealing but lends itself  the tropics.

We have learnt to overcome the sensitivities of vertical living walls by matching the plant palette to the immediate environment and supplementing them with very specific irrigation schedules.

They are irrigated more frequently but for less time. 

This reduces the chance of fungus or mould building up in excess moisture, reduces the passive weight of the wall and also stops the soil media from being washed out. 

The soil media is porous and not easily replaced. Therefore it is very important to keep it in the geobag. Excess watering damages the module and makes a mess below.

Irrigation Australia Living Wall Event 2021 Perth 2

Smart Water Systems

All vertical living walls that Earth & Water installs are monitored and controlled through a wifi enabled irrigation controller. This is the future of irrigation – not just for living walls but all watering systems.

Mike Trimble, the speaker from HR products, discussed how controllers have progressed and what they are capable of.  As the national sales manager he was able to technically breakdown how smart controllers are being taken up by the industry quickly in many forms. 

He has advised Earth & Water with many of our installations and was familar with this vertical living wall in South Perth.

Smart Controller
The basis of a successful vertical living wall is having a sophisticated smart controller that is intuitive, flexible and reliable.

Earth & Waters’ preference is Hunter Industries’ Hydrawise software and controllers.

Key features:

  • Remote control/access
  • Live reporting & alerts
  • Predictive irrigation scheduling

We are able to customise irrigation scheduling with greater accuracy and flexibility – some installations run for as little as a minute per program. This helps homeowners manage their gardens better themselves and introduces transparency and accountability into larger, commercial systems.

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Irrigation Design

Paul Officer, the speaker from Netafim, spoke about the specialist drippers that deliver water directly to the root systems in each module.

There are 16 pressure compensating (pc) drippers splitting off a manifold that is out of sight behind each module. The come from a greenhouse and vineyard background and are highly technical. 

Paul explained how each dripper can hold 1.8 metres elevation of water pressure within a vertical living wall set up – meaning any water within a zone that sits above 1.8 metres will drain out. 

This is an essential feature because vertical living walls thrive with consistency – the bottom plants must receive the same volume of water as those above them. 

Thank you to Ellen Slobe at Irrigation Australia who organised this event.
Speakers; Mike Trimble(HR Products), Paul Officer(Netafim) and Nigel for presenting at this industry event.

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