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Home / NATIONAL FRAMEWORK / Additional information / News / VERTICAL LANDSCAPING OF BUILDINGS: what you need to know




In Kyiv, the project of vertical greening of the city #mistozhivykhstin has started. Vichy wild grape seedlings have already been planted near the building of the Department of Ecology and Natural Resources of the KMDA. There are 50 more houses and schools in the Solomyan district of Kyiv.


The goal of the project is to make Kyiv more comfortable for life. Plants should provide shade and improve air quality.

Why this is important for the city and what climate change means here, we will tell in our article.

Due to the fact that humanity still burns fossil fuels, greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, which trap the sun's heat. As a result, the climate is changing faster. One of the manifestations of this change is heat waves, that is, hot, almost windless weather that lasts 5 or more days. The more the climate will change, the longer the "summer" will last and the more heat waves will threaten people's health.

Since these manifestations of climate change are already felt and will continue to occur, it is necessary to adapt to them . Nature-based solutions are well-suited for this- means that help adapt to climate change through protection, sustainable management, and ecosystem restoration. There are many options for how to do this, and Ecodia with partners and volunteers collected some of them in a whole Catalog . They include vertical landscaping.


What is vertical gardening?

Vertical greening is one of the city's adaptation measures to climate change. It can be used in places where there is not always enough space for trees. In vertical landscaping, special structures are used that allow you to keep plants on the walls, or different types of creeping plants are used: virgin grapes, ivy, creeping honeysuckle or roses. This type of plant covers vertical surfaces: walls, fences, pillars, thereby protecting them from the harmful effects of ultraviolet rays and excessive heating.

Plants, unlike artificial surfaces, absorb solar heat and do not accumulate it. That is why a room with a green roof and walls will be cooler during the heat. And with the help of special hanging structures and climbing plants, you can make a comfortable shady public space with fresh air.


What can go wrong?

The wild Vichy grape (a special type of wild three-pointed grape), which is suggested for planting, attaches itself to surfaces by means of small tendrils with sticky discs. They do not harm walls and are safe to use. In contrast to the five-leaf wild grape, which belongs to the same genus and is attached by tendrils that penetrate even small cracks in the facade and can cause destruction. Ivy, for example, poses the same danger.

It is advisable to plant these plants on a special support structure or on a fence.

In addition, wild grapes and some types of decorative ivy are non-native plants, brought to us from other parts of the world. If they are planted near a park or forest, under favorable conditions they can spread to the trees there, displacing undergrowth and grasses and acting as invasive species.


What could be improved?

The first and obvious result is cooling. Due to the fact that plants use solar energy for photosynthesis, and also cast a shadow on the wall, the surface of the house does not overheat. And the evaporation of moisture from the surface of plants gives a cooling effect. Studies have shown that greening a wall reduces the surface temperature by 4.67°C compared to a bare wall.

The image below is a daytime thermal imager shot of a green wall. The blue color on it corresponds to a lower temperature, red to a higher one.

Secondly, plants retain volatile organic compounds, dust, other microparticles and emit oxygen, therefore improving air quality. Several times, Kyiv broke into the world leaders with the worst air quality . Therefore, increasing the area of ​​green spaces, in particular vertical greening, should have a positive effect on the situation, although it will not solve the problem, because it does not affect the source of pollution.

Also, vertical landscaping reduces the noise level, depending on the type of plant and the distance of the sound source. However, the higher the noise level, the higher the risk of ischemic heart disease , so even a slight reduction has a positive effect on health.

In addition, green spaces are centers of biodiversity in the city. They can create entire ecosystems by attracting insects and birds. Insects are needed in any ecosystem, because they are at least pollinators and food for birds.


Why else do people do vertical gardening

Vertical landscaping is used not only on walls, but also on fences. The team of Ecodia volunteers collects examples of their application in Ukraine and communicates with people who implement them. In addition to the already mentioned coolness and air purification, people also mentioned the following non-obvious advantages:

  • So that the pussies do not climb into the yard.They climbed through the holes in the fence, but they can't get out through the dense vegetation.
  • So that children do not climb into someone else's yard, because it is more difficult to climb over a hedge.
  • On Shchaslyva Street in one of the settlements, literally every house has a green fence!Its residents have an unspoken competition to see who will be more beautiful.
  • One of the fences was planted with currant bushes, which the volunteers were allowed to eat.
  • A local store decided to make a green facade because they were tired of fighting vandals who painted graffiti on it.
  • The grandmother planted grapes that swam over the fence so that the children would "eat something healthier than cat-cats" on the way to and from school.
  • The people's house is in a lowland, so they planted a green fence so that their garden is less flooded by streams of water from the road.
  • It is lazy and quite expensive to paint the fence every year.

So it is clear that green spaces and nature-oriented solutions not only help us adapt to climate change, but have a number of other advantages. In particular, their implementation is more sustainable and often even more cost-effective.


What else can be done to adapt?

Therefore, if possible for adaptation, priority should be given to nature-oriented solutions. There are many such solutions and, as we can see above, they are very multifunctional and allow us to improve our cities and villages.

Nature-oriented solutions in adaptation:

  • green roofs
  • city ​​and balcony gardens
  • lawns sown with local grasses
  • rain gardens
  • urban wetlands
  • green parking lots and bicycle parking lots, etc.

Greening is an important element of adaptation to climate change, but it must also be implemented thoughtfully. It is necessary to take care of any greenery. If you plant a tree or cover a certain surface with moss, you need to take care of regular moisture, otherwise all efforts may go to waste. In addition, according to Art. 16 of the Law of Ukraine "On the Improvement of Settlements", it is forbidden to plant and cut down trees in the city on your own, so it is necessary to synchronize plans and efforts with local green building.

The initiative of the KMDA to green the facades does not look systematic, but more like a point attempt to solve a big problem. Climate change is inevitable, adaptation to it must be comprehensive and systematic. Increasing the area of ​​green spaces in arbitrarily chosen places is not a systematic solution.

In order for the adaptation to be systematic and consistent, it must begin with an analysis of the vulnerability of a specific city to climate change, based on it, determine a number of necessary measures and include them in the plan for the reconstruction/development of the territorial community. If this analysis shows that vertical gardening is indeed the right solution for this area, then it can and should be implemented.

However, planting Vichy grapes is unlikely to harm anyone, so if you want to green your walls, feel free to join the initiative.




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