Volume 4 ~ Issue 2 February 9 , 2011


Here it is just before Valentines Day and love is in the air. I have recently recorded a short video on three things to avoid in the bedroom for harmony at youtube. When you watch it, know that there are many solutions for each of the issues described.

  • NEWS


About 25 years ago, my former bosses Ray Hansen, Don Kingsbury and I were looking for a solution to a problem. We were designing the patio for Herbert Ross and Nora Kaye and they wanted as much hardscape as possible and yet something artistic and novel add to the beauty of their environment. I proposed a living wall filled with succulents set in patterns to provide them with a living art sculpture. They bought the idea and then we had to create it.

What I didn't know then was that the idea was not as novel as I thought. Green walls date back to 600 BC with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Today there are many ways to add a green wall to your planting area whether it is a side yard, or a balcony patio and many easy systems to construct it. A green wall can be anything from planting a vine and training it to climb a wall or a building to one of the many elaborate systems that exist now.

The very simplist systems are ones you build yourself. There is a great article about building trellises and for indoor plantings using plastic bottles for a low tech option. I must say that the bottles option doesn't do it for my aesthetic taste but it is a cheap and "green" way to get into vertical gardening.

When we created our vertical wall, we used chicken wire to hold the dirt and plants in place. Today there are many more choices. There are woolly pockets which look just the way their name suggests. They have soil and are planted and have drip irrigation directed to the planters. I just recorded a video which shows this system which was designed by Terry Raphael for Raphael Restaraunt in Studio City, CA.

Another restaurant, another system. Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles installed a living wall that they planted with herbs that are then used by the restaurant. The system they used was from Tournesol Siteworks the system that was also used in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens living edible wall. They have several different methods vertical walls.

One of the earliest systems to develop vertical planting support system is the Green Screen. Their website has a number of different beautiful screens including some interesting, artistic shapes that can be used as sculpture pieces as well. Their website is a great resource because it also has plant recommendations to populate the screen.

Once you have decided on a system, you really need to evaluate what you plan to do and how you plan to maintain the system. I have noticed that there are several of the systems that I have mentioned that needed to be replanted over time and some of them have deciduous grasses that look pretty lousy this time of year.

If think you will plant edibles, you need to think about the same things that you would if you had them in a planter box or the ground- sun, soil, food, and water. Most edibles require a lot of sun to flower and then "fruit." While considering that, you have to also evaluate how much water must be applied to sustain your plant.

When plants are in planter pockets, they are more subject to drying out than in the ground and yet you don't want to overwater and drown them. If you watering your plants more, you are also depleting the nourishment they need so you will need to moniter and control what you add to feed them. Part of that will be helped by starting with rich soil but over time, you may need to redo the soil because it will become depleted.

If you select other types of plants such as the many succulents shown in the video, you will need less water, less fertilization, often less sun and less soil change because the plants themselves are much more sustainable. See how the selection of plants is so important?

When I am advising a client to add a vertical wall, unless it is a commercial project, I always advise them to start small. Begin with lattice so that in the event that after a season they realize that this type of planting isn't for them they can call it an easy learning experience and move on. That being said, I love vertical walls. I think they are here to stay because they are the answer for an important need in our lives and as we learn how to work with them, they will become even more highly used and enjoyed by us all.

Work your garden. Nurture your body, mind and spirit.


If you look at the video the other side of this wall seems incredibly lush however this side shows some of the problems when plants don't fill in and you are looking at the pockets.


Here is the wall at Pizzera Mozza, a well known restaurant in Los Angeles. It has herbs and succulents with some other perennials for color. Most of the herbs have to be replanted. This sure beats a blank wall!

I included this image from Tournesol because this wall is such a beautiful statement for a contemporary space that wants to insert green beauty to an art wall.


SECRETS OF THE LAND, Designing Harmonious Gardens with Feng Shui

Secrets of the Land describes ancient practices that help you express your personality in the garden, while supporting a better life. Secrets of the Land is packed with accessible information to blend the unfamiliar with down to earth recommendations for designing your garden beautifully. Using the principles of feng shui, you can create a garden that supports your health, better relationships, and prosperity. Secrets of the Land will awaken a fresh experience of your surroundings and novel understandings on how to reshape your future to bright new possibilities.

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Keep Plants Healthy, Monthly Actions for Beautiful Gardens., $8.99

Have you ever wanted someone just to tell you what to do each month to keep your plants thriving? This monthly action guide will help you know what to plant, when to fertilize and how to maintain your garden.


Blogging is more fun than I thought it would be and it gives me a chance to make quick but important observations on both Feng Shui topics and Garden and Landscape topics. Check it out at http://harmonygardens.net/?page_id=338 and tell your friends about it.

Garden Secrets - Your Garden Personality Guide.

Learn how you can adjust your garden to balance and express your personality. Check out my web site and tell your friends about it.


Shelley Sparks is a Feng Shui Expert, Licensed Landscape Architect and Passionate Gardener. Through the practices of Feng Shui and Landscape Design she creates Harmony, Healing, Prosperity and Beneficial Qualities to her client's home, business, and garden environments. She believes that as we bring our environments into balance we live happier healthier more abundant lives, benefit all that we relate to and help heal the earth.

She has been licensed as a Landscape Architect for more than 25 years and has designed award winning residential landscapes. She is a disciple of His Holiness Master Lin Yun Rinpoche, Grand Master of Black Sect Tantric Buddhist Sect of Feng Shui and has been studying Feng Shui for more than eighteen years. She teaches Garden as a Healing Space and Feng Shui and Feng Shui in the Garden for U.C.L.A. and other venues throughout the United States. She analyzes Feng Shui for people's homes, businesses and gardens.

Shelley is author of the book Secrets of the Land, Designing Harmonious Gardens with Feng Shui available through Amazon.

Shelley Sparks, Principal
12224 Addison Street, Valley Village, Ca 91607
Phone (818) 505-9783
Fax – (818) 760-7558
E-mail [email protected]

See us at: www.HARMONYGARDENS.net
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