When it comes to greening our indoor and outdoor spaces, we’re increasingly looking upwards and installing hanging gardens. Whether it’s a small group of hanging baskets or a veritable overhead carpet of green, there’s nothing like being cocooned in lush greenery.
Why put in a hanging garden?
The concept of a hanging garden has been enthusiastically picked up by plenty of restaurants and commercial spaces, and you only have to see it done well to understand its appeal. Taking over the roof space for an abundance of trailing plants turns a room into a jungle – cool, hushed and mysterious. It’s a great way to soften an industrial space – we’ve used it in warehouse-style homes – or anywhere that’s heavy on hard edges and manmade materials.
Practically speaking, hanging gardens are also a great space-saving device, filling an area with the maximum amount of greenery, even though there may not be a lot of floor or wall area to play with.
What do you need to know?
Walking through a curtain of trailing greenery is incredibly evocative, but to embrace this trend en masse, there are practical considerations to be aware of. The first is simply keeping your beautiful plants alive. Hand-watering is a heck of a commitment – not to mention awkward, with plants so high overhead – so we strongly suggest putting in an irrigation system, which can weave in and out of supports to become almost invisible. It helps here to choose plants from the same family, with similar water needs.
Weight is also a major consideration. While a single hanging basket can swing happily from a ceiling, multiply that plant, soil, pot and water by an entire hanging garden and you’re looking at some serious weight. Even some climbers, like wisteria, can get incredibly chunky. The first thing we will do is assess the weight-bearing capabilities of existing structures, or install a rock-solid system of girders to take the load.
Hanging plant picks
No matter what look you’re going for, there’s a family of trailing plants to suit. Devil’s ivy (pothos) is a hanging garden favourite for good reason – it’s robust, trails beautifully and comes in loads of varieties with different coloured foliage. We also love plants from the cacti family, such as rhipsalis – low maintenance and with so many exotic and intriguing shapes to choose from, it’s a no-brainer for a hanging garden.
Climbers can also be integrated into a hanging garden, either on their own or used in conjunction with potted plants. There are loads of climbers that can be trained up and over a structure, then allowed to trail down freely. They’re great for introducing variety to a hanging garden scheme, or even adding colour.
Whatever look you’re after, there’s a trailing plant to help you create your own rooftop jungle.