Can Outdoor Living Walls Survive in Colder Climates?

This is a great question, and one we hear quite a lot. The short answer is yes. Design clients who live in warmer climates are not the only ones who can enjoy an outdoor living wall; our walls can survive and even thrive in northern climates that experience cold winter weather.

In the early days of Sagegreenlife, our engineers, horticulturists and plant designers took the time to address many of the problems and inefficiencies we recognized in other green walls on the market. We looked at every aspect of the vertical garden system — from irrigation methods and different growth media to the individual plants and how they respond to various elements within the overall system.

As a result, we created a living wall solution that really works.

Sagegreenlife living walls are uniquely designed to endure challenging exterior environments, including heat, cold, wind and snow. Our patented Biotile™ system is unique in its ability to insulate dormant plants in winter, maintaining life-protecting moisture for the longevity of plants.

Each Biotile is made of recyclable rockwool (layered basalt rock fiber), an inert material that will not decay over time and is antimicrobial, so no mold or bacteria will grow within it. The rockwool base offers up to 95 percent plant survival rates, giving our living walls a strong advantage over the maintenance requirements of soil-based systems.

Rockwool’s density insulates plant roots, providing extra protection through the winter months. This allows outdoor plants to survive, even in colder weather. The insulative properties of rockwool also extend to sound, giving Sagegreenlife walls the added benefit of noise abatement.

Combined with our highly efficient irrigation system, which uses 75 percent less water than any other living wall system available, this technology gives Sagegreenlife living walls flexibility above and beyond any other green wall system.

What about the plants we use?

Choosing the right plants is critical to creating a healthy and robust living wall, which is why our plant experts take the time to learn about and experiment with different vegetation and climate types to save you and your clients the stress of wondering whether or not their living wall will survive.

Plants naturally go dormant in winter, but clients still want to enjoy the beauty of a living wall. This is something Sagegreenlife plant designers consider carefully during the design stage — making sure the visual appeal of the wall extends throughout the year.

We make it a point to match the plants to the environment to which they are accustomed, which ensures growth and long-term survival. Evergreen plants, for example, keep their leaves all year long and are a great choice for colder climates.

Ongoing care and attention is the final piece of the puzzle.

At Sagegreenlife we understand that preserving the vibrancy and long life of an outdoor living wall requires ongoing care and attention. After each wall is installed, our expert horticulture team continues to check in periodically and monitor the entire system to ensure the plants are thriving and everything is working properly.

To learn more about Sagegreenlife custom-built living walls for outdoor spaces, reach out to us at 312.234.9655 or email us at to set up a consultation with a vertical garden professional.

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730 West Randolph Chicago, IL