Gardening 101: Living Wall Movement

Learn more about this cool trend, and get a sneak peak at the green wall coming soon to Bay Meadows!

Living walls, also called vertical gardens or green walls, are the next big thing in home and garden design. Before we get too far, let’s start with a quick definition. Living Wall: Noun; A wall, either free-standing or part of a building that is partially or completely covered with vegetation and, in some cases, soil or an inorganic growing medium.

Living walls are becoming increasingly more popular, especially for small space decorating and landscaping. And here’s why: no matter the size of your home or office, you most likely have an empty wall or rooftop. So why not take full advantage of your space? Add grasses, flowers, shrubs, succulents, herbs, and groundcover to a wall, and presto! You’ve created a whole new, visually-appealing gardening and design experience. Popular indoors and out, living walls are taking the gardening world by storm. Unconventional ways to bring color and excitement to your space, living walls are popping up in art galleries, construction sites, airports, and even the Port of Long Beach, CA, where a living wall will soon help buffer sound and reduce air pollution to nearby neighborhoods.

living wall

Bay Meadows is getting in on the action, too. Our Welcome Center, which opens to the public March 16, will be adorned by a spectacular living wall created by San Francisco’s own Habitat Horticulture, living wall and landscape design experts. The 86-foot long Bay Meadows living wall will consist of a monochromatic palette with white and purple flowers, which will bring a nice pop of color in the spring and summer. The vibrant stretch of greenery flows in rhythm with the surroundings, providing a sense of continuity within the larger gathering space. The living composition mixes lush foliage with purple, pink and white flowers, evoking a sense of spring or summer, while the grass-like Acorus gramineus ‘ogon’ gives movement to the wall, for a playful homage to the meadow.

Habitat Horticulture has created living walls for The California Academy of Sciences, Corte Madera Town Center, The Westfield Metreon in San Francisco (pictured), restaurants, private homes, and more. Just a quick glance at Habitat’s image gallery shows you the potential of living walls. To put it simply, living walls allow you to paint with plants, live closer to nature, and bring new life to your “living” room! Here’s a look at the rendering of our living wall. Be sure to check out the living wall during our grand opening celebration Saturday, March 16th from 12pm – 4pm! And for some living wall inspiration, check out our Pinterest board, “Vertical Gardening.” 

Image and rendering courtesy Habitat Horticulture

Welcome Center 1

Welcome Center construction progress. The living wall will be the first thing that greets you!


Bay Meadows is a transportation-centered pedestrian village mid-way between San Francisco and Silicon Valley, designed with state-of-the-art buildings redefining a new walkable urbanism. As a transit oriented development (TOD), Bay Meadows’ sustainable initiatives will allow residents to dramatically reduce their number of car trips. In addition, construction and design are as energy-efficient as possible by minimizing fossil-fuel consumption, recycling of concrete and asphalt, replanting trees, employing advanced storm-water systems and using sustainable materials.

Enhancing the overall green environment of Bay Meadows are three public parks, totaling 15 acres, a community garden, and various open spaces throughout the property. The completed TOD will include housing, employment opportunities, Main Street retail and recreation. The final development will include 1,116 residential units, up to 1.5 million rentable square feet of office space and approximately 90,000 square feet of retail space. With onsite amenities such as healthcare, childcare, financial services, and dry cleaning, Bay Meadows is designed for how people want to live now.