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Moss Walls vs. Living Walls

With biophilic design and biophilia becoming increasingly popular and, finally, somewhat mainstream, you might be wondering what the difference is between moss walls vs. living walls… or vertical garden, as it is most commonly named. Even though there are a number of differences, we think that the decision to choose one or the other will come down to maintenance, cost and look.

A moss wall is one that has been largely covered with real, but preserved moss. This moss, because it is preserved, doesn’t require any soil, water or misting of any kind. Think of it as a piece of art made out of natural materials that are dormant and that, basically, require no maintenance at all. Moss comes in all kinds of colors, with an array of natural green shades depending on the kind of moss you use. 

A living wall, on the other hand, is comprised of real, living plants that do require soil, water, misting, the right level of sunlight and everything else a regular plant would require.

One thing these two have in common is that they give you sensorial stimuli that allow you to reap the benefits of biophilia and biophilic design. 

“A recent study by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, published in the journal Environment International, supported that claim, concluding that biophilic interiors helped inhabitants recover from stress and reduce anxiety more quickly than interiors without natural elements, and documented a notable reduction in blood pressure.”

-CookFox Architects

Moss and living walls also help with reduction of noise and air pollution, regardless of moss being dormant. In fact, moss is so porous that it absorbs VOCs (volatile organic compounds) better than other live plants. 

Having said all this, they are also very different in many ways.

Maintenance

Being preserved, moss walls require, basically, little to no maintenance at all. It requires no soil, no constant water or misting. However, if you want to keep your moss wall looking fresh, you can mist it with water when it starts looking a bit deflated, which can be once every two months, depending on how much direct sunlight it receives or how dry the environment is. 

On the other hand, a living wall is… well, alive. For this reason it will require the same amount of work and maintenance as a regular plant will. You will need to water them, mist them, fertilize it and control levels of moisture and light around it to keep it looking lush.

Placement

Because moss walls don’t need any soil, it will be significantly lighter than a living wall, which, clearly, needs the soil to survive. Depending on the placement and size you want your wall to be, you might have to choose between a moss wall of a living wall. 

Installation and maintenance cost

Another big difference between the two will be maintenance and installation costs. Typically, moss walls go for 40% less in installation costs than living walls. Another added cost to living walls is the maintenance, which can run up to $1,000 a month, depending on size. Moss walls, on the other hand, are a one-time development that requires merely no maintenance, except for some trimming and patching up you might need to do every 3-4 years.

Look and feel

Something that will vary a lot will be the look of both. While there is a lot you can do with moss, you have more plant variety with a living wall. The reason for that is simply because in a living wall you can use an array of plants, while a moss wall uses just moss. In fact, living walls tend to have more color just by mere variety of plants, while moss walls tend to be all one color, but use other materials, like wood, to give it different shapes and create more of a moss art piece.

Both, moss and living walls have incredible visual appeal and health benefits, which is why we love both. The main thing to consider here, we think, will be how much time, effort and money you want to put into it. 

Plant The Future wants to bring nature to your house so you can live a healthier, happier life, surrounded by plants and the wisdom they provide. Make an appointment with one of our team members who can give you advice and help you design your dream moss or living wall, so you can reap the many benefits of biophilic design.