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Design Trend: Living Walls

By: Robert DiGiacomo

Living walls add drama and color to indoor and outdoor spaces. Browse our favorite installations, big and small.

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Lush Is More

For the ultimate in drama, an over-the-top design statement can speak volumes. GSky created this three-walled panel for the courtyard of an estate on Miami's exclusive Indian Creek Island. The installation is stocked with more than 19,000 ferns, philodendron, begonia, pothos and other plants that together comprise a lush "organized jungle," designer Debbie Kotalic says. Design by GSky Plant Systems

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Ray of Light

How do you shine new light on a century-old red-brick row house? Architect Patrick Farley carved a central light well into the middle of this Richmond, Va., home, and anchored it with a 20-foot-high living wall. The wall brings together in one soaring space a variety of common tropical house plants that normally might be scattered around the house. Watering is made easy by a special drip-irrigation system. Design by Watershed Architects with SG Designs; Photo by Jeff Saxman

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Hotel Chic

Bringing the outdoors in is especially important in urban settings, where a little green goes a long way to soften a city's hard surfaces. The Distrikt Hotel in New York is meant to evoke the lush landscapes of Central Park and Gotham's other iconic outdoor spaces, and provide a natural counterpart to the building's sleek lines, according to designer Debbie Kotalic. To replicate at home, keep the plants simple, use a random design and add lighting to make the greenery pop. Design by GSky Plant Systems

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Photo: Design by Jason Lempieri of ReThinkTANK with City Planter

Living, Breathing Masterpiece

A living wall can look fabulous and still be functional. This design for a Philadelphia row home uses a modular product called Woolly Pockets that acts as a natural air freshener and sound dampener. The asparagus fern, English ivy and calathea in reddish and purple tones further soften the edges of the contemporary interior. Design by Jason Lempieri of ReThinkTANK with City Planter

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