Natural green wall brings smiles for elderly residents

10 November 2017

The installation of a green wall in a care home in Enschede has given its elderly residents a welcome green boost. The natural green wall has prompted a host of positive feelings and feedback – so much so that a Dutch university is going to investigate further to find out.

A Natural Masterpiece

The green wall installation has created a three-dimensional, tangible, naturally planted masterpiece. With plant varieties specially selected for their air purification properties, the planted expanse also provide an element of moisture in the air – a freshness that has given its residents an overall feel-good factor. And that “feel-good factor” is being explored by Tia Hermans, the researcher leading the way at Wageningen University.


“In the panels with hanging plants, there are sensors that measure the air quality, the temperature, humidity and a few more things. Through a wireless connection, the data is transmitted directly to the laboratories at Wageningen,” Hermans said.

At the official unveiling of the wall last month, the residents commented on the beauty of the plants and their prominence as a feature in their home surroundings. Whilst taking a prominent position on the natural green wall, the plants themselves need relatively little maintenance – another important factor in their choice

Air Purification

“From our final selection of 85 plants, we believe we’ve created a great combination of varieties. These are the friendliest of plants that can be touched or brushed against without causing damage or allergies.” The plants’ air-cleaning properties are measured by comparison of the air in the two living areas where the green walls hang, in contrast to two non-green control areas. Sensors are in both areas, transmitting data back to the research facility. These are then compared and measured.

Creating a happy environment

So far, it is not only the researcher Hermans who is happy with the results. The positive effects on the residents’ demeanour are clear to see – and those in management of the care home agree. Director Rick Hogenboom states: “Some of our residents spend a lot of the day sitting in one place, so making their view an enriched one is really important. Bringing nature indoors and encouraging its enjoyment, seeing its growth improves our residents’ outlook. It’s the perfect backdrop to live for those in their later years.”

For the original article in Dutch click here  – Hans Brok