From the zany to the inventive, vertical wall gardens have been the subject of some attention over the past month at HomeTimes, since two YouTube clips of DIY systems caught our eye.
Then we found a patented South African vertical wall garden system perfectly suited to apartments. Launched just two months ago, it is called Modiwall Vertical Gardens. Its co-inventor, landscape artist and urban gardener Charl Baker, says the system has been under development for two and half years.
Based in Centurion, Baker says the standard size of a vertical wall system, inclusive of pump, pipes, 120 pots and all parts, is 1m x 1.5m and sells for R6,395. Modiwall does not do the installations itself but does use preferred installers. If you are handy with tools, you can even build it yourself.
The more economical option is a 1m² unit with 80 pots for R1,449, and can also be installed by a professional or DIY enthusiast. It has most of the essential components needed, except for the pump and reservoir.
The concept for Modiwall started three years ago when Baker and friend, Paul Rudolph, discussed vertical gardens. “We loved the idea of having a beautiful living artwork inside or outside of our house,” says Baker. “But all the available systems at the time were costly and difficult to install and maintain. We started talking about the idea of making a simple and modular vertical garden system and figured ‘it can’t be that difficult.’
“Well, we were wrong. It took a lot of hard work and time to get to the final product. It started with us buying a 3D printer, and it took almost a year to print, make negative silicone moulds, and then to cast a fully working prototype. Only then we could start fine-tuning the design, and approaching investors. With a proper business plan and a working prototype, we started targeting players in the green industry. We eventually found investors, and the plastic injection moulds were ordered. They took another six months to manufacture, during which time we spent getting the corporate image and business structures in place. And here we are today.”
To date, Modiwall has sold over 100m², with its biggest order being a three-storey-high vertical wall system for a new Netcare hospital in Muldersdrift.
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