DIY Living Wall

Busy busy busy, that is all I have to say. I hope you enjoyed the bus shelter entry from last month. Here I am again with some fascinating design solutions.

Along with Elsa Chen a peer Design and Industry student at San Francisco State University, we had the opportunity of working on a charrette focused on sustainable design.

Our client: Ralf Hotchkiss from Whirlwind Wheelchair International

Our problem: Ralf’s metal shop which had strong smells from chemicals and metal.

Our solution: a living wall

  • The main goal was to upcycle materials that could be used in the making of a living wall, so we took a trip to Urban Ore in search of our living wall’s home. There we fell in love with this Italian vintage wine shelf and gave it a revamp by sanding it for days.

wine shelve: before and after

  • After researching and learning on hydroponics and plant’s life spam. We decided to keep it simple by choosing easy to maintain plants such as ivy, spider and pothos.
  • Our next step was to choose containers for our plants. We decided to collect wine and juice bottles as well as mason jars. Once we had a good amount of containers, we went to Public Glass in San Francisco and cut them diagonally in order to give a home to our plants.
  • The amazing people at Public Glass helped us cutting the bottles with a powerful diamond saw. They also sanded and perfected them for us. All for only $25 an hour. It took us an hour to cut and sand twelve containers.

people at Public Glass giving us a hand

containers: before and after

  • Once we had replanted our chosen plants and had determined how long the containers were, we went ahead, cut and re-welded the wine racks that way our containers could fit safe and snugly.

adapting wine racks to our new living wall


  • Finally, we screw the racks in and placed our beautifully cut containers with our easy to maintain plants. The outcome, a beautiful zero waste living wall for Ralf’s metal shop. Something that anyone can make to better off the environment of any closed space.

zero waste living wall


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