Living Wall: Planting Up When You Can’t Plant Out

Living Wall: Planting Up When You Can’t Plant Out

We finished the living wall at my new favorite clients' house! This project was an absolute blast to create! We started with a 10' x 6' area of blank fence, which was a privacy issue with the neighbors. It's also a very narrow area, only about 4' between the fence and the pool decking, so we knew we had to create a vertical structure for planting. Our Welding Genius, Mark Gerow, constructed a custom steel trellis to get the project going, and then the fun began. I'd seen a product called "Woolly Pockets" in various places over the last year, but I had never had an opportunity to try them out. Woolly Pockets are just what they sound like--planting pockets manufactured for both inside and outside use. They're made from recycled plastic bottles, so they definitely get gold stars in the eco-friendly category. We decided we didn't want a solid wall that could look a bit imposing--and plus, we just had Mark's awesome trellis installed, why would we want to cover it all up? So we ordered 19 Woolly Pockets in all (1 5-pocket, 1 3-pocket and 11 individual pockets, all in black) and got to work creating a checkerboard wall. I have to say, I was unnecessarily nervous as we began to put the pockets on the trellis. I didn't want to mess it up, but the Woolly Pockets could not have been easier to install! They come with whatever fasteners you want, but since we were attaching them to a gridlike trellis, we opted for the black zip ties. They were up in about 30 minutes; we probably could have done it quicker, but we were in a very tight area and had to do a lot of overhead reaching. On to filling with soil and planting. Woolly Pockets come with detailed instructions that I found to be very clear and spot-on. They tell you how much soil to get for each pocket, so I had the perfect amount. We added a variety of colorful plants in a tropical feel--the rest of the landscape is a study in evergreen texture, so this was our opportunity to add some drama! I was careful to choose a palette of green, purple, yellow and orange--daylillies, variegated liriope, lantana, bulbine, creeping jenny, silver pony foot, agapanthus and coleus. The top pockets get more sun than the lower ones, so I needed to adjust for that as well. When we were done planting, The Hunky Foreman took over with drip irrigation. He was very impressed with the instructions provided by Woolly Pockets--this is the kind of work he would know how to do in his sleep, but like any good contractor, he's wary of included instructions. He didn't say it out loud, but I think he was expecting the instructions to be a bit "off." But, he said the directions and materials list was spot-on, and he and the crew had it irrigated within 1 1/2 hours--even I was surprised at that! I thought it would be a half day, but what do I know! I hope you've enjoyed following this project--I am so proud of how it turned out, and the clients are ecstatic! They call their backyard their "Shangri-La," and I can't ask for more than that.

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  1. Laura Szymarek says

    This is really neat Jenny! I think what you did in such a small area. You are a “Garden Genious”

  2. says

    Thanks, Laura! You can use this product inside as well, but I love the application for all the people who have small spaces (think condos and lofts downtown).

  3. Terri says

    Jenny! Love this project. Brett was telling me about the Wooley Pockets and I just couldn’t visualize them until now. Tell Mark I love… love… love the trellis! Metal stuff is my favorite!

  4. says

    Great job Jenny – nice to see you hard at it! Mmm I wonder if we have woolly pockets in the UK? Might have to get you to post me some, think they would be great for our small urban gardens.

  5. says

    This is awesome documentation and you make it look so easy! I’ve been wanting to try a few Wooley Pockets in my ‘garden’ room area we just added on to our home. I am taking a closer look at them and know who to ask now if I have any questions! 😉

  6. says

    Thanks, guys! Er, girls! Rachel, I bet they ship overseas. And Bren, it is SO easy–we used zip ties on the steel trellis, so I think it would be a little more involved of course if you were going to anchor them into a wall.

  7. says

    Thanks for the pics, they look really good. Just wondering if you just soak all teh pockets with the hose or do you water each one separately?


  1. […] Jenny Peterson’s Garden Design blog posted this sweet video detailing how she used Pockets in a checkerboard style in a clients’ garden. This is the first time I’ve seen our Wally used in this way, and I love the look! Click on over to her blog to read details about the installation process that she outlines very clearly. Thanks Jenny, for the plantastic video, and the innovative inspiration! […]

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