Green Walls

Thanks to the contribution from the local community, the Mayor of London Said Khan, and large contribution from businesses like Swarovski and Miwhip we’ve been able to fund and installed a 130 metre long living wall along the playground of the school.




The Living wall system is an organic based system.

Fundamentally for a long term sustainable solution we need 4 basic ingredients: substrate, plant selection, water management and maintenance.

So what we have here is an organic substrate. So the living wall is designed and pre-grown with a natural based substrate. We’ve selected plants which are suitable to the location but also will have the properties to capture the particular matter and the dust that it’s generated from the A4 into the playground. So we are creating a cleaner environment.

Having said that we’ve also added pollinators and plants that create a great source of nectar for the local bees, butterflies, and birds.  So we are actually going to create a natural habitat to the actual environment for the generations to come.

There are 3 areas to St Mary’s Living Wall.

The educational wall where currently we’ve got 3 species :wild strawberries, sage and thyme. Soon, we’ve got a delivery coming here with another 1500 herbs to go into this wall where we are going to be using the children and the parents to actually relate to the wall.

The ivy wall, the most effective in stopping air pollution (and cheapest and easiest to maintain)

The showcase wall, featuring some beautiful plants and flowers

ANS Global have committed to maintain this wall for the next 5 years, free of charge for the Chiswick Oasis project. They’ll be looking after the wall, come on a regular basis, but they will also want to give the children an understanding of what’s in the wall. In fact they are planning to do two talks each year to the incoming generation, one at the beginning of September, in the autumn term and then one in the spring. Because within the planting we’ve got a lot of discovery plants and there will be plants that come out and flower in spring, some that will come out and flower in summer and in the autumn, so the wall will be changing during the season.

ANS will also be adding things into the wall as they are maintaining it, so it will become very much of the school experience.


  • Reduces urban heat island effect and smog
  • Cleans outside air of pollutants and dust and offsets the carbon footprint of people and fuel emissions
  • Cleans interior air space by removing VOCs and other harmful toxins like benzene and formaldehyde
  • Acts as a sound proofing barrier
  • Soil and plants are a natural filter that can clean the water that flows through the wall
  • will provide opportunities for biodiversity, through the variety of plant species, which will also provide opportunities for pollinating invertebrates/insects and birds.
  • It will in turn offers additional educational and wellbeing benefits for the children and staff

ANS Global has been chosen to provide the school with a green wall along the whole perimeter of the wall facing the A4.

We’ve all been working closely with ARUP on the choices of plants for the various sections of the living wall.




Unfortunately we were not able to build our green wall all the way up to the mesh of top of the brick wall, as this would have made the whole structure more vulnerable to blasts of wind.

So we are now going to have to strengthen the structure of the brick wall itself with steel poles cemented into the ground so that we can then grow our green plants on top of the mesh, thus enhancing the chances to stop the pollution from the A4.

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Why is green space important? 

Green space can provide a number of key functions and benefits including economic, environmental and social benefits

Air quality improvements – vegetation helps to remove urban air pollution including nitrogen dioxide, ozone and other particulates. Estimates indicate that air pollution reduces life expectancy in the UK by 7-8 months, a problem which green space can address. 

Amenity value – green space enhances the local identity of an area, creating distinctive places. Improving the aesthetic of a place is also closely linked to increases in time people spend in a place, particularly those that incorporate mature trees. 

Wellbeing – Views or access to nature have been shown to lead to a reported increase in the health and wellbeing of people who can see or access green space. 

Cooling effects – green space reduces the urban heat island effect by providing shade, reducing thermal radiation from hard surfaces and through transpiration. This helps to create pleasant environments for people. 

Reduced energy consumption – green roofs and walls, and shade from mature trees provide an insulating effect resulting in a change of building temperature. 

Habitat provision – all forms of green space have some form of ecological value. However, this is significantly enhanced when inter-connected networks of green are created, allowing for movement corridors for birds, insects and mammals. 

Water and flood management – vegetation improves water quality by helping to filter and remove water pollutants, whilst a good green space network replicates natural drainage patterns by reducing peak water run-off. 

Social cohesion – green space has been found to promote strong interaction within the community by encouraging more people to spend time outside. In turn, this is closely linked to reduced levels of crime and anti-social behaviour. 

Increasing land values – green features such as large trees and well maintained parks have the potential to raise property prices.

© Arup / Chiswick Oasis

Green wall 

Green Building Envelope provides research into using green façades to improve and provide healthier, more pleasant living conditions for a better and more comfortable existence for human beings in cities. It shows how making the benefits measurable is an important aspect of bringing individually considered effects together, being able to quantify rather than just qualify benefits as a whole 

Modular planted walls 

Modular plant walls can provide instant green wall solutions where trays can be grown off-site or installed pre-planted. Robust plant choices and less manicured walls are essential to minimise maintenance. They provide instant beneficial effects and also help provide habitat for insects and wildlife. 

Green walls ground up 

Climbers placed on optimal orientations can grow fast, covering walls with the help of stainless steel or other meshes that provide support and help train the plants. 

This is a low-cost alternative with climbing plants growing in the ground or in planters at the base of walls 

Trees for Cities

Trees for Cities have funded an edible garden adjacent to the educational wall at Chiswick Oasis, providing an engaging, multi-sensory way to teach children about growing and eating healthy food. 

• The Woodland Trust donated young native trees, Field Maples and Silver Birches, which will be planted near the edible garden proving shade, shelter and additional air quality benefits.