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Oct 12, 2015 6:55 PM ET

Archived: Green Unity: the beautification and protection of a sustainable installation we did in the spring

iCrowdNewswire - Oct 12, 2015

Green Unity

Living wall to add protection for our cob bench

Cob Bench we built at our school

Mixing the cob with our feet

Building the base for our cob bench

the project

Our project is the beautification and protection of a sustainable installation we did in the spring. We had a workshop from Sigi Koko, a builder of sustainable architecture at our school to guide our students to create a cob gazebo. We spent three days building with the Earth. Because cob is susceptible to damage in our climate zone we had a shelter built above it to protect it however we have found the need to protect the cob further. Sustainability thrives on creativity. It is through our ability to think outside the box and invent solutions that provide sustainability. When thinking of how to add protection to the cob we decided to be creative and see if we can add to the natural landscape we started.

Our school would like to build a living wall around the cob gazebo that would enhance the gazebo aspect of the design while serving as a lesson in green architecture as a necessity for a  sustainable future. In order to create balance for our landscape we would like to take this opportunity to develop other features in our outdoor space. We have a bog and a native species garden that we would like expand. We would also like to have signs for each native species in order to educate the kids further on the native flora surrounding them in New Jersey.  Our school has created a sustainable beatification committee as part of our Green Team. Our Green Team is integral to our New Jersey Sustainable Schools Certification. We found a living wall option that would be low cost, low maintenance and student accessible.

We are following the directions found on this blog for our living wall-http://thefeltedfox.blogspot.com/2013/04/living-wall-diy.html


the steps

Here are the steps our committee of students, parents and teachers will take:

Step 1: Remove the inner lattice. The inner dimensions of our frame measured 8×8 ft.

Step 2: Insert two upright 1×2’s approximately 31” apart into the frame.  Use a nail gun to secure them to the frame. 

Step 3: Insert horizontal 1×2 beams that will hold the plants.  The beams were set 2 ¾” apart and nailed into the frame and the uprights.

Step 4: Paint the frame and beams.

Step 5: Create pockets for plants using Jamie Spooner’s method. Alter pockets to fit smaller plants.  Edge folds approximately 2¼” on either side and pockets were approximately 10” deep.   

Step 6: Mix compost and potting soil and fill the pockets.

Step 7: Decide on a design (probably the hardest part) and plant succulents.

Step 8: Use a hose to water your newly planted garden.


-We will be adding a nature trail through our native species garden. We will make signs explaining each plant in the garden. We will add a higher border to our bog in order to keep it safe from playground traffic. 

why we’re doing it

Why build with cob and attempt to construct a living wall? Green Architecture is an important route towards saving ourselves and our planet. Buildings make up 38% of greenhouse gas emissions, contribute to energy use, potable water and and add to solid waste streams. If we can give our children an example of sustainable building we are teaching them not only a model that can be reproduced but an attitude of innovation that promotes harmony with their environment. When children are exposed to nature, they care about saving it. It is vitally important that our kids learn to be creative and acquire an innate understanding of sustainability in order to survive. Until we show the youth that it can be done they will never know their own potential in affecting this planet. 

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