Tag Archives: VGM Modular

Second Look – New Orleans Botanical Garden Living Walls

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Photos courtesy of Luis Andrade, Ewing

If you read our blog occasionally, you know that we like to go back and look at projects some time after they are installed. We believe that a project is more than just the pretty picture taken immediately after install, but also how the products withstand the weather, planting and maintenance. Back in October, Tournesol Siteworks exhibited at the ASLA ’16 in New Orleans, LA, and while there, we stopped to visit a project we participated in to view the final installation of our products.

New Orleans Botanical Garden, Arrival Entrance and Event Court; photo courtesy of Luis Andrade, Ewing

Eight months later, our partners at Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply went back this week to view the project at the New Orleans Botanical Garden in City Park. Jeffrey Carbo Landscape Architects, from Baton Rouge, specified our VGM Modular Living Wall as the arrival to the garden entrance. City Park has been undergoing renovations this past year and the green wall is proudly placed at the new Arrival Garden and Event Court.

Photo courtesy of Luis Andrade, Ewing

Our partners at Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply collaborated with Rotolo Consultants Inc. who installed the beautiful living wall. The full VGM green wall is 1,000 square feet and is a vertical, lush garden presentation which introduces the park entrance to garden visitors.

Photo courtesy of Luis Andrade, Ewing

The Botanical Garden living wall utilizes over 300 VGM3 planting modules. Each module is made from 100% recycled plastic, attached to stainless steel rails mounted to a wall or structure. After the modules are grown in (as shown above), they provide instant, complete coverage on any vertical surface. With the VGM System, root growth isn’t limited by restricting cells or baffles so, in turn, plants grow healthier and stronger.

Photo courtesy of Luis Andrade, Ewing

We are thrilled that the Botanical Garden living walls are thriving and growing abundantly. The visitors and guests can enjoy this lush garden and beautiful fountain with each visit.

Green Walls & Green Roofs Tweet Chat!

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Earlier this week, Tournesol Siteworks was invited by Warren Gorowitz, Vice President of Sustainability at Ewing Irrigation and Landscape Supply, to participate in a “TweetChat” that was, more specifically, a “#landscapechat.” Anyone in the Twitter world may participate in TweetChats, by adding a hashtag (#) and the specific topic – this was a landscape chat focused on green walls and green roofs. The #landscapechat is hosted each week by Corona Tools (who was unavailable, so Warren hosted our chat) and happens weekly on Wednesdays, featuring different topics during the year.

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New Orleans Botanical Gardens Green Wall – VGM Living Wall

Prior to the event, we collaborated with Warren on a list of questions and answers. During the hour, Warren tweeted (asked us) specific questions, which we answered and attached a few photos to illustrate. He asked about our company, and about us being a premier solution provider of landscape elements for rooftops, terraces, streetscapes, etc…nationwide. The chat moved to ask some of the trends we see in green walls, which are a boom in amenity space development and large urban public space projects.

Slabtown Marketplace, Portland, OR, VGM
Slabtown Marketplace, Portland, OR, VGM Green Wall

Warren asked a bit about the importance of green walls and some of the challenges. Challenges include the maintenance, access, and understanding the effects of weather (wind, light, heat, etc…) on the plants. There are also different types of green walls, including tray-based and modular systems, trellis-based and interior systems, all at different price points. For green roofs, there are shallow extensive systems, deeper intensive roofs, tray-based or built-in-place systems.

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Starbucks at Downtown Disney, CA

The chat/discussion turned to how green walls/roofs promote sustainability in urban spaces, such as how they promote a healthy environment – plants provide oxygen and pleasant surroundings, and renew and restore the ecosystem. Green roofs filter and moderate stormwater flows, reducing stress on existing drain water systems. Hospitals use green walls to promote healing and peaceful environments for patients. Both green roofs and walls mitigate urban heat island effect, as well.

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Swedish Hospital, Seattle, WA, TerraScreen Interior Green Wall

Meanwhile, others in the #landscapechat community were also tweeting questions about plants, moisture of soil, whether or not coffee would grow in a green wall (yes, it can) and even the use of media block.

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Amazon Headquarters, Seattle, WA

The #landscapechat ended with questions about the future of green roofs and walls; we see a wave toward proliferation and integration into everyday commercial construction. We’re also seeing a move with green roofs towards integrating amenity spaces – making them more usable. It was the first TweetChat that Tournesol Siteworks has been part of, and it was a great experience. We look forward to participating in another one in the future.

Immense 50 Foot Living Wall in Irvine

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A few months ago, our partners at Instant Jungle International received a visit from the new owner of the building at 2082 Michelson Drive in Irvine, CA. The owner was looking at the plant selection at Instant Jungle, and noticed their display of our VGM Modular Living Wall. He became interested in creating a living wall on his new property. Landscape Contractor, Greg Wallace, from Instant Jungle invited our salesperson to meet with the owner to discuss the dimensions, location and installation of a “spectacular” living wall, as well as the plant pallet for the plant growth and maintenance. After the discussion, we collaborated with Greg to create an enormous exterior green wall for the customer.

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VGM Living Wall After Installation

The wall measures approximately 50′ H by 10’W, incorporating 120 of our VGM system modules; they attach to stainless steel hanging rails and when mounted to a structurally sound wall (shown in the photo below), require minimal penetrations .

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Instant Jungle was responsible for pre-growing the succulents and plants in the VGM trays (about 2-3 months in advance), and installing the living wall modules. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 4″ or 8” soil profile. Because root growth isn’t limited to small cells or baffles like in other systems, plants grow healthier and stronger, which means lower maintenance yet more spectacular results.

Our partners at Ewing Irrigation have produced a video displaying the ease of mounting and installing our VGM Modular Living Wall System – click here to watch the video.
20160420_172311Instant Jungle also installed our stabilized Media Block, an organic base material stabilized into a sponge-like block that fits perfectly in the VGM module. The media block absorbs up to five times its weight in water, but only weighs 40 lbs./pcf, facilitating even irrigation, faster grow in and optimal plant health. Instant Jungle is also maintaining this living wall, as maintenance is key to ensure the plants continue to grow and thrive.

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Before and After

This immense, gorgeous living wall can be seen at a distance or up close, allowing many onlookers to enjoy the plant colors, layout and design. We are thankful to Instant Jungle for being a wonderful partner and for inviting us into this project. Can’t wait to check back in a few months for a second look!

 

 

 

It’s a Jungle out There!

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A few weeks ago, Tournesol Siteworks was invited to an open house hosted by our partners Instant Jungle International out of Santa Ana, California. Instant Jungle invited many architects and landscape architects to gather, and to present our green wall and living wall products. A couple of our sales people attended and had a great time!

Instant Jungle Open House
Photos courtesy of Instant Jungle

After enjoying an amazing BBQ lunch from TK Burgers, Greg Wallace (IJ) showed the attendees the displays their team created featuring our VGM Modular Living Wall, with plant growth in process. IJ also showed examples of our VGP Tray-based Living Wall System and TerraScreen Interior GreenWall.

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Our VGM system modules attach to stainless steel hanging rails and when mounted to a structurally sound wall, require minimal penetrations. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 4″ or 8” soil profile. Because root growth isn’t limited to small cells or baffles like in other systems, plants grow healthier and stronger, which means lower maintenance yet more spectacular results.

Our partners at Ewing Irrigation have produced a video displaying the ease of mounting and installing our VGM Modular Living Wall System – click here to watch the video.

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Photo courtesy of Instant Jungle

They explained how the VGP system offers versatility and easy installation desired by light commercial applications. The trays may be hung on a VGP mounting panel, standard 2″ x 3″ welded mesh or wire, or along rods or stainless steel rope. Each tray incorporates an anti-lift arm to prevent unwanted removal, but requires no other bolts or clips. Trays are hung at either 6″ or 9″ intervals, depending on the plant size and the project budget.

Our partners at Ewing Irrigation also produced a video displaying the mounting and installation of our VGP Living Wall System – click here to watch the video.

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Instant Jungle also presented the attendees with our TerraScreen Green wall, describing how it offers more flexibility than any other green wall system; designed so that the planting may be easily updated so the installation is appropriate to the style, season and environment. TerraScreen panels are made of powder-coated galvanized steel wire, with removable brackets to fasten the panel to the wall. Plants are placed in their 6” grow pot directly into the black no-hole cachepot. It is the solution to the challenge of installing a living wall that is instantly lush, and easy to refresh and maintain.

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Thank you, Instant Jungle International, for the open house and for inviting key players in the industry to show how magically to use our products to beautify their applications and projects. We are thrilled to be working with such a fabulous company and great partners.

 

 

 

Just Like in the Amazon – a Green Wall!

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The South Lake Union district of Seattle, WA, is a popping neighborhood being the “7th most walk-able” in Seattle and housing the headquarters of Amazon. All around the neighborhood there are beautiful spaces, restaurants and areas to build community and just hang out.  About four years ago the Amazon block building at 207 Boren Avenue in Seattle was completed with one of our very early VGM Modular living walls. We revisited the site recently, and thought we’d share what a green wall looks like after a few years.

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Revisit this year

 

Tournesol SiteworksVGM3 Modular Living Wall was specified by Callison RTKL Architects in collaboration with landscape architects from Walter Macy to be installed on an Amazon building wall that faces an open plaza. They created an immense green wall design that was expertly installed by landscape contractors from Teufel Landscape. Teufel was also responsible for pre-growing the plants, and installing the living wall modules once the plants had taken root.

Interestingly, the green wall has been through a few plant replacements, due to the placement of the wall to the sun, and a few plant types that were unhappy with their environment. Due to an irrigation issue, the entire wall needed to be replaced once- the maintenance crew discovered a leak in the irrigation and the building manager turned off the water to the entire green wall. The issue was with one of the modules and not the entire wall. Unfortunately, the wall failed without water to irrigate the plants, and the plants had to be replaced.  The replacements are fairly easy, but maintenance is key to the life of the green wall – after all it is a “living” wall.

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The green wall contains VGM3 modules, 6 rows high by 23 rows wide, with each module requiring two left and two right mounting brackets. The brackets attach the VGM3 system modules to stainless steel hanging rails which require minimal penetrations and mount to the structurally sound wall. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 8” (in this project) soil profile. Because root growth isn’t limited to small cells or baffles like in other systems, plants grow healthier and stronger, which means lower maintenance yet more spectacular results.

Our partners at Ewing Irrigation have produced a video displaying the ease of mounting and installing our VGM Modular Living Wall System  – click here to watch the video.

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Photo Courtesy of Google Maps

The green wall on the Amazon block hopefully will continue to be enjoyed by those walking, riding their bikes, resting in this plaza, working near this building, or just strolling by for years to come!

Fresh, Cool Style at Hotel Zephyr

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San Francisco is a city that is alive, constantly morphing and changing. The breeze from the bay brings the sounds of the waterfront to the courtyard of the Hotel Zephyr, close to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, CA. The hotel has recently refurbished the exterior decor and has created a uniquely different environment for hotel guests, including a fire pit and a large, 40 foot periscope with views of the water and Alcatraz.

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Being close to the bay, Jett Landscape Architecture + Design wanted to bring port and shipping elements of the wharf into the Hotel Zephyr project design. Using large segments of metal shipping containers, they created walls surrounding the courtyard of the hotel. Jett Landscape specified Tournesol Siteworks‘ VGM Modular Living Wall System on one wall of the courtyard, which was installed by Eggli Landscape Contractors, out of Redwood City, CA.

Zephyr VGM

The VGM Living Wall system consists of 100% recycled plastic planting modules attached to stainless steel hanging rails. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 4” or 8” soil profile. Because root growth isn’t limited to small cells or baffles like in other systems, plants grow healthier and stronger, which means lower maintenance yet more amazing results. Eggli also installed our stabilized Media Block, an organic base material stabilized into a sponge-like block that fits perfectly in the VGM module. The media block absorbs up to five times its weight in water, but only weighs 40 lbs./pcf, facilitating even irrigation, faster grow in and optimal plant health.

Zephyr 5For a rustic effect, they used steel sheet pilings (also used on the waterfront) for decoration in the northeast corner of the courtyard. Inside the pilings, we created custom trapezoid-shaped Welded Planter Liners that are 34″ wide in back, 15″ wide in front, 48″ tall, and 18″ deep. The welded planter liners were inserted into the steel pilings and used as planters.

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At the front of the stylish Hotel Zephyr, Patrick Lamar from RHI Construction out of Santa Rosa, installed our Boulevard Wood Decking, which compliments the entrance (as shown in the photo below). Our Boulevard thermally-modified wood goes through a process which changes the chemical make-up and cell structure of the wood. The process creates lumber with exceptional resistance to rot, pest, and decay. Technically, it shares a 25-year preserved-wood-like durability level similar to South American hardwoods, but is ecologically-friendly.

The thermal-modification process also prevents moisture absorption (which is great for San Francisco’s wind, rain and bay weather) and makes Boulevard wood resistant to warp, twist and other movement.

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We are thrilled to have been part of the redesign of Hotel Zephyr and to be part of this cool stylish, trendy installation – right in our own backyard (well, across the bay at least).

Starbucks’ Greenwall, Disney and Us!

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A few years ago, Tournesol Siteworks had the opportunity to work on a unique, one-of-a-kind project in the land “where dreams come true” – Disneyland! We recently revisited the living wall installation at the Starbucks location in the Downtown Disney District at  Disneyland Resort. After two years, with loving care and maintenance, the green wall has fully grown in and continues to look amazing.
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Architects Orange and LandStudio 360 with David Ling, designer, brought unique elements to this specific Starbucks store. Greg Wallace, the grower from Instant Jungle, initially installed and has now maintained the greenwall over the last two years.  We spoke with Greg this week regarding the maintenance. He shared a few of his challenges with this project.

The wall is north facing, so there is some morning sunlight and the temperature gets really hot in this location, despite what they expected. Greg’s initial plant choice was Mondo grass, a small grass that is a drought resistant plant, yet didn’t grow to fill the module well. Mondo grass prefers mostly shady conditions, and the heat caused the grass to brown out. He needs to use drought resistant plants that like the heat, some sun, and shade, and is challenged to find greenery that can coexist in the living wall. Greg replaced the grass with Cenecio, which is more of a succulent with a slightly blue color, under Spider plants.

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Another challenge is the location of the wall, as the public can touch the greenwall since it is close to the entrance of the Starbucks with seating in proximity. Being in Downtown Disney children are everywhere and tend to pull at the plants and have actually pulled the modules from their placement in the VGM System. Instant Jungle maintains the wall by replacing the plants that are broken or damaged by the public, and adjusts the modules back into place where they belong.

Greg says that continued maintenance of a greenwall involves being aware of heat issues, having to exchange bottom plants periodically and to vary the wall with plants that can adjust to the weather. Both Disney and Starbucks are adamant about displaying the design so, in turn, Greg works hard to make sure the plants are happy.

“The key to a long-term, flourishing greenwall is the investment in care and maintenance. Treat the greenwall as a living wall, an actually ‘living’ project, needing routine checking on, caring for, and feeding of the plants over time,” shared Greg. “It’s important that whoever is in charge of the plants after any installation, understands the choices and varieties of greenery; the plants need to coexist. Tournesol Siteworks’ VGM Modular Living Wall system is the best solution I could have used on this particular application, and I’ve looked at many other systems for my living wall projects. This was the right product, at the right time, for the right place.”

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With the VGM System, root growth isn’t limited by restricting cells or baffles, thus plants grow healthier and stronger. Without maintenance from a grower, the overall health and beauty of the living wall is not sustainable and the greenwall will more than likely wither and die.

Due to a great partnership with Tournesol Siteworks, Greg has had many other client referrals and requests for project in southern California locations, and is currently working on four other living wall installations.

For more information on the initial installation, read here. We are happy to be part of the “magical” atmosphere in the Downtown Disney District with Starbucks and Disney- two companies known for providing their guests with an excellent experience.

Slabtown Comes Alive in Portland

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Slabtown Marketplace in Northwest Portland, Oregon, is part of a larger adaptive reuse project proposed by GBD Architects and Holst Architecture, both of Portland, and adopted by the city in 2012. The Master Plan for the area will include mixed-use development with current office and warehouse buildings, and hopes to be the hub for Portland’s newest neighborhood, the Conway District.

Slabtown Marketplace, Portland, OR, VGM
©2016 David Papazian: David Papazian Photography

Slabtown Marketplace was originally built in 1952 as a 36,000 sq. ft. concrete shipping warehouse that has now been converted into three separate retail spaces.

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GBD and Holst collaborated with Lango Hansen Landscape Architects to create a pedestrian walkway, as well as a beautiful gathering space and focal point to inspire community interaction. On the side of the wall facing the walkway, Lango Hansen utilized Tournesol SiteworksVGM Living Wall System and a series of Cor-Ten steel panels for visual interest.

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Teufel Landscape, out of Hillsboro, Oregon, was responsible for pre-growing the plants and installing the living wall modules. The VGM3 system consists of 100% recycled plastic planting modules attached to stainless steel hanging rails. Each planting module, made of 100% recycled polypropylene, has a generous 4” or 8” soil profile. Because root growth isn’t limited to small cells or baffles like in other systems, plants grow healthier and stronger, which means lower maintenance yet more spectacular results.

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Modules were shipped broken down to the jobsite, where they were assembled, filled with  VGM media block, and planted by Teufel Landscape. Grow-in was greatly accelerated using the specially engineered media block. The stainless steel rails require minimal penetrations and mount to the structurally sound wall. The installation was a success – and we love it when the designers each use the image on their own webpage!

 

 

 

Greenwall Climbing the Tower

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The L’auberge Casino Resort, built in 2012, is an expansive southern Louisiana retreat designed to capture the rich culture of Baton Rouge. The project was designed by Marnell Companies, with landscape architectural support by Lifescapes International.

Lauberge casino

Recently our partners at Ewing Irrigation had the opportunity to visit the resort, and captured photos of a fully grown living wall that was installed on the project by contractor Rotolo Consultants  from Slidell, LA.

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This wall utilizes a hybrid of our Tournesol VGM3 living wall modules together with our VertiGreen 3D trellis product. In the project drawing below, you can see the individual VGM3 modules (shaded in green), which were mounted on stainless steel rails behind. The VertiGreen 3D trellis panels were custom cut widths that would complete the wall section.

 

Lauberge drawing

 

When planted together like this, the vines located in the VGM3 modules quickly expand onto the VertiGreen 3D trellis (the concept behind our VertiGreen Hybrid product) and make for a thick, low maintenance living wall system. This one has been installed for a little more than three years, and looks as beautiful and dense as the day it went in! We couldn’t even tell what type of product it was when the images arrived.

 

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Mounting the trellis next to the VGM3 modules was done with fixed-distance wall mount brackets (which held the back of the 3D trellis 6″ from the wall), keeping the front flush with the living wall modules. Because of the integration of the less expensive VertiGreen 3D Trellis product with the VGM Modular System, the  overall cost of this living wall was reduced by half!

 

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A Living Penthouse

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Some jobs just seem to take longer than others! In Jan. 2014, we were looking forward to being part of the renovation of Time Square’s Knickerbocker Hotel. It was in the process of being restored to its former glory, thanks to a $115 million makeover by new owners, FelCor Lodging Trust.

Architect Peter Poon and Designer Gabellini Sheppard took the interior down to the floor plates, so it is essentially a “brand new hotel”, except for its extraordinary, original Beaux-Arts facade, which was preserved. A NYC landmark since 1988, the building had functioned as an office building, but it is better known for hosting such guests as John D. Rockefeller, having its own subway entrance, and is thought to have been the birthplace of the original martini!

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The living wall, part of a design by landscape architect M. Paul Freidberg and Partners  of Manhattan, is finally complete! It is the highlight of an amazing Penthouse Suite, and features our VGM modular living wall system. Tournesol shipped over 500 of the 8″ deep VGM3-10 modules, which were installed on three of the exterior walls. Installation contractor  Blondies Treehouse  was responsible for the project installation. We’ve worked with them on a number of living walls in the NYC area.  Blondies was assisted with plant and soil design by Sempergreen and Moerings Green Roof Maintenance.

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The VGM were planted and installed early this year (a year after we anticipated), but have grown in through the summer and, according to Howard Freilich of Blondies. He commented that it was a tough installation, but that we can all be proud of the results.  Thanks, Howard – you make us look great!!

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