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Unique Two-Sided Green Wall Welcomes Patients and Staff at the Spectrum Health Medical Group Heart and Vascular Center

May 23, 2016
May 23, 2016

LiveWall® Installation Inspires Heart Health

Grand Rapids, Mich.  May 23, 2016 — When patients arrive at the Spectrum Health Medical Group Heart and Vascular Center on Bradford Street N.E. in Grand Rapids, Mich., they are welcomed by a living, thriving symbol of heart health. The Center’s green wall features a distinctive design of three heart shapes expressed in dark red foliage within a background of green plants.

For the Center’s clinical and support staff, as well as the patients, the green wall offers an unexpected extra. It was designed and installed as a freestanding, two-sided structure. The side facing the building is a vertical garden with a variety of vegetables and herbs.

“As a growing, changing emblem of healthy hearts, the heart planted wall invites patients, their families and our staff into the Center,” said Sarah Chartier, sustainability program manager, Spectrum Health. “The vertical herb and vegetable wall invites them to think about healthy eating and the sources of our food.”

Measuring 5’4” high by 20’ long, the green wall was constructed in June 2015 with the LiveWall® system from LiveWall, LLC, the green wall subsidiary of Hortech, Inc., Spring Lake, Mich. The planted heart side faces out towards the parking area and features perennials, with Heucheras (Coral Bell) forming the three red hearts. The vertical edibles side grows a variety of vegetables (including tomatoes, green peppers, Swiss chard, kale, and leeks) and herbs (such as oregano, basil, rosemary, and mint.)

The decision to install the green wall came out of broader conversations about sustainability, local sourcing of food, and promoting healthy eating habits. Spectrum Health has two community gardens, one at its South Pavilion facility and the other at the Spectrum Health Continuing Care Center. “In the area at the entrance to the Center, there was limited space for additional landscaping,” said Bruce De Vrou, project manager, ground services, Spectrum Health Hospitals. “As a vertical landscape feature, a green wall was more practical than a garden.”

Dave MacKenzie, president of Hortech and LiveWall, assisted Spectrum Health in planning the green wall installation for the Center. MacKenzie suggested a two-sided, freestanding wall. The idea for the heart design was the inspiration of Kathleen Nickerson, R.N., charge nurse, clinical team, cardiovascular medicine, Spectrum Health Medical Group.

“In 2013, I learned from the LiveWall ArtPrize installation, ‘Back to Eden,’ that a planted wall can be an art piece,” she said. “I wanted our green wall to have a heart — a design that would convey a living, healthy heart.”

“The three-heart design takes advantage of the length of the wall,” explained MacKenzie. “The hearts are visible all year from the parking lot and sidewalk leading up to the Center, even in winter when the plants are dormant.”





Clinical and administrative staff enjoy the green wall in summer. They sit outside during work breaks and at lunchtime at picnic tables and benches placed on the lawn near the wall. They also pick vegetables and herbs to take home.

“The response from everyone has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Chartier. “We have also experienced an unanticipated benefit. The area around the green wall provides a gathering place where staff from different departments meet, interact, and connect.”

“The LiveWall is bigger and better than what I thought we could achieve with an ordinary garden,” said Nickerson. “I love to go out to our garden wall. I get outside, feel the breeze, see the plants. It is a brief respite in my busy day,” said Nickerson. “And I can pick a tomato to put in my salad for lunch. There is nothing more beautiful than a sun-ripened tomato on the vine.” selected Spectrum Health Heart and Vascular Center’s living wall for their project of the week on May 23, 2016.

About Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, ambulatory and service sites; more than 3,100 physicians and advanced practice providers, including 1,200 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan with about 654,000 members. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 23,400 employees. The organization provided $283 million in community benefit during its 2015 fiscal year. Spectrum Health is the only health system in Michigan to be named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems® by Truven Health Analytics for 2015.

Learn more about LiveWall.

The B.O.B. Brewery and Restaurant’s Living Wall Garners Local Media Attention

May 11, 2016
May 11, 2016

With spring in the air, LiveWall owners are replanting their vertical gardens with new crops of annual edibles such as kale, chard, mint, and basil. And, the locals are noticing.

Yesterday, LiveWall delivered plants to the B.O.B. (Big Old Building) which will be used to enhance their dishes.

Fox 17 WXMI featured the Grand Rapids, Michigan building replanting in today’s morning news.

The plants also help to make diner experience more enjoyable by naturally cooling the Skydeck on hot days and providing a peaceful and relaxing escape from the busy streets below.

The Gilmore Collection made their Skydeck at the B.O.B. so much more inviting with a living wall system.

Does your restaurant have an outdoor space needing an upgrade?  Consider transforming patios, decks or beer gardens with living plants for better diner experience, increased revenues, and even reduced food costs.  Learn more about growing edibles in green walls: Vertical Gardens.

Vertical Gardens featured at 2016 Tulip Time in Holland, Michigan

May 6, 2016
May 6, 2016

The annual Tulip Time festival takes place each spring in Holland, Michigan, timed just as the spring-blooming bulbs open their flowers.  In its 87th year, the area boasts over 5 million tulips.  And, this year, they have even started adding the flowers to vertical surfaces!  Using the LiveScreen system, they have added hundreds more to this total in a completely new application for the festival – a living wall.

Located at the Tulip Time office on 74 West 8th Street, the vertical tulip gardens will be on the front patio through the festival.  Learn more about the festival at and join the festivities from May 7-14.


The LiveWall seriously smells as good as it looks here at the #tuliptime patio!

A photo posted by Tulip Time (@tulip_time) on


LiveWall® Green Wall Enlivens a Peet’s Coffee & Tea Store at an Upscale Mall in San Diego

May 5, 2016
May 5, 2016

Planted green walls offer a variety of benefits. They create appealing year-round beauty with seasonal colors, flowers and scents. In indoor applications, living walls purify the air and improve air quality by reducing airborne dust and particulates. They also absorb sound to reduce indoor noise. Through the natural process of evapotranspiration, green wall plants release water vapor that cools indoor air in summer and brings healthful moisture to dry, heated spaces in winter. They also provide social benefits — experiences of tranquility, respite and inspiration.

“Retailers also have bottom-line reasons for installing green walls. The unique effect of natural vegetation has been shown to draw shoppers into stores,” said Dave MacKenzie, the horticulturalist who invented LiveWall. “According to Terrapin Bright Green, LLC, an environmental consulting and planning firm, there is research evidence that consumers buy more in stores with carefully situated vegetation.”

The installation of a green wall in a Peet’s Coffee & Tea in San Diego illustrates how retailers are paying attention to the benefits of green architecture. The LiveWall® Green Wall System was used to construct a living wall, completed in February 2016, at a new Peet’s outlet at the Westfield Plaza Bonita Mall, located in San Diego’s South Bay area 15 minutes south of downtown. 

“Most customers enter the store through the patio from the parking lot. As they come into the store, the green wall is an unexpected, pleasant surprise,” said Russell E. Myers, AIA, REM Architects, Inc., the architecture firm that designed the store. “Inside, it establishes a buffer between the busy service area and the seating areas.”

LiveWall greens up two sections of the interior walls in the 1,700-square-foot store. The large section is 12 feet wide by 5.5 feet high. The smaller section is 6.5 feet wide by 5.5 feet high. After getting their coffee or tea, customers can relax with a natural view of tropical plants selected for variety in variegation, shades of green, colors (including yellow and red tones), texture, and shape. 

“A Peet’s in San Francisco added a green wall as an interior décor element. We thought a green wall would be a beautiful feature in our new store at Plaza Bonita,” said Steve Mora, president, MCS Consolidated Group, Inc., a Peet’s licensed partner with four stores. “It’s just like living art on the wall.”

Project Summary Outline

  • Name of Project: Peet’s Coffee & Tea (Westfield Plaza Bonita)
  • Project Address: 3060 Plaza Bonita Rd, National City, CA 91950
  • Installation Date: Completed February 2016
  • Type of Building/Facility: Retail (store in a mall)
  • Type of Installation: Indoor
  • Green Wall System: LiveWall® Indoor Living Wall
  • LiveWall Wall Planter Color: Black
  • LiveWall Planters: 52 planters (each 16 inches long)
  • Number of Plants: 150
  • Plant Palette: Indoor/Tropical
  • Size in Sq Ft: 100 sq ft (two sections, 6.5-ft wide x 5.5-ft high and 12-ft wide x 5.5 ft high)
  • Slope in Degrees: 90
  • Wall Orientation (outdoor): N/A
  • Access/Visibility: Publicly accessible and visible

Project Team

  • Architect: REM Architects, Inc.
  • General Contractor: Sierra Pacific General Contracting
  • Plant Selection, Installation and Maintenance: Greenleaf Interior Plant Solutions
  • System Manufacturer: LiveWall, LLC
  • System Distributor and Consultant: Florasource, Ltd.

Living Walls Have Been Shown to Improve Employee Productivity

January 5, 2016
January 5, 2016


A new study has shown that there is a link between a greener office environment and higher cognitive function.  Employees in these work environments showed better scores in crisis response and strategy development.  To learn more about the impact a greener work environment can have read the full article here.

Why are Healthcare Providers Buying Living Walls?

January 5, 2016
January 5, 2016


The aesthetic, environmental and financial benefits that green walls provide appeal to most building owners, and the social and physical health benefits of green walls make them especially attractive for healthcare patients.  New studies reinforce existing research indicating that patients exposed to views of nature heal faster.  Shorter recovery times means happier patients and potentially reduced costs as beds are freed faster for new patients.  See the article []

Study Shows Link Between Improved Student Performance and Increased Exposure to Green Space

January 5, 2016
January 5, 2016

A recent study conducted by a group of researchers has revealed a link between student’s exposure to green space and performance in standardized testing for both English and Math. The study covered a six year time period from 2006-2012 and showed that the more exposure students had to green space the better they performed on tests.

The study also revealed that during the peak of the spring growing season this affect was at its greatest. Read the study here.


Melbourne Australia Takes Proactive Approach to Green Roofs and Vertical Gardens.

July 29, 2015
July 29, 2015

The cities of Melbourne and Victoria Australia have released their Growing Green Guide, a comprehensive guide to green roofs and living walls. City officials released this guide in an effort to combat the Urban Heat Island Effect and dwindling green space within the city of Melbourne. A recent study showed that between 1988 and 2009 the amount of green space in Melbourne dropped from 20% to 13.6%. Temperatures are rising within the city as a result of this diminished green space.

The Growing Green Guide gives building owners and architects the resources they need to ensure successful applications of green roofs and vegetated walls. The guide is comprehensive, covering evidence for the benefits of green roofs and vegetated walls, technical guides for proper installation and maintenance, and case studies of applications within the city. You can download the full Growing Green Guide.

NBCU Brings LiveWall Vertical Garden to Stamford, Connecticut

July 7, 2015
July 7, 2015

The NBCU campus in Stamford, Connecticut is now home to a 980 square foot LiveWall vertical garden.  This wall crowns the top of a parking structure near the NBC Sports headquarters.  The vertical garden transforms a nondescript parking structure into an eye catching attraction.  A rear-feed irrigation configuration achieves full corner-to-corner coverage of the living wall system.

NBCU expects the LiveWall system to provide years of low maintenance vertical garden enjoyment.  LiveWall systems give plants what they need to be a healthy sustainable living wall. This means lower ongoing maintenance costs for the owner. To see other examples of vertical gardens and living wall systems visit our project showcase.

The B.O.B. and LiveWall Bring Vertical Gardening Back to Grand Rapids Urban Center

June 5, 2015
June 5, 2015

For a second consecutive year The B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan will be serving their patrons the freshest possible produce by growing vegetables on-site in a LiveWall vertical garden.  Last summer, The B.O.B. transformed the living art installation ‘Back to Eden‘ into an urban vertical garden.  This garden featured a variety of vegetables, herbs, and peppers that were used to create unique dining options for visitors.

After the wall was used again for the ArtPrize entry, ‘Breathe,’ the site needed to be cleared for new construction, but the B.O.B.’s chefs were so impressed with the success of the vertical garden that they decided to keep a portion of the wall permanently.  The living wall’s new location on the sky deck next to Bobarino’s features a new mix of produce including leafy greens used in various dishes.

Keep up on the latest produce in season and living wall entrees by following The Gilmore Collection and Bobarino’s on Instagram. We have shared some of our favorite posts below: