Updated: Jan 6
Moss walls are all the rage right now and I’m not seeing any reason why, that would not continue.
They are a great alternative to a live plant wall when space, light, and the necessary components such as water, electricity, drainage, additional lighting and professional maintenance are needed for optimum results.
Installed on the wall, moss is a nice space saving up-sell. The biophilic concept of bringing nature indoors and mimicking that good feeling of being on a trail hike, climbing, or biking up some uneven woodland terrace, all promote a heightened sense of focus and awareness, taking us outside of the daily worries and ruminations within our heads.
The sky is the limit when designing and introducing the moss concept to your client. It’s truly a piece of art with an organic, sometimes unusual twist. You can use one type of moss and create undulations that look like the mountainous regions of a topography map, or you can incorporate other varieties of moss as well as branches, lichen, mushroom fungi, ferns and other small live plants, creating perhaps a temperate rainforest vibe.
Tillandsia’s or “airplants” are a favorite and add texture to this natural look as well.
I’m kind of a stickler for staying within what would typically grow in its habitat. Keeping all the elements as true as possible.
The fact is, most mosses have been treated. Fumigated to eliminate insects and parasites, then color treated and preserved with a glycerin like solution to keep them supple.
Mosses treated in this way need an environment that has at minimum 40% humidity to maintain that supple, fresh appearance.
The live mosses need optimum conditions to thrive too. They typically grow in a relatively moist, shady environment, spreading along nooks and under crannies between rocks and along escarpment walls. Indirect light, airflow, steady temperatures, plus misting, will make these walls successful.
My experience with designing and installing moss walls has always been received with positive feedback. Each one unique to its own environment. For both my clients and myself, half the fun is creating what would fit and offer aesthetic and beneficial value, to all whom it encounters.
Normal challenges are design and installation cost. The main thing to consider is what substrate to use when building the project, and whether it will be framed. If it’s being added during new construction, sometimes the existing mill work supplier can be asked to build a frame. Depending on size, this needs to be adequate to support the weight over time. Determining what variety of mosses will be used is subject to availability. Additional elements, plus hours spent assembling, delivery and installation hardware and equipment create your invoice.
As with anything that is one of a kind, you can command anywhere from $45 -$250 a square foot. Educating your client about the value of this creative, time consuming, material intensive endeavor is key.
A metal, or wood frame will need to be priced out according to size of project. I often use the app Instagram, to search for local craftsmen and women. Allowing me to see their work and actually go visit it, if needed.
Adding a quarterly, or bi-yearly maintenance option is a good idea if there will be any element changes and upgrades. Nature, like the seasonal landscape is always changing. Nothing stays stagnant. So, incorporating a rotation of some sort, even if it’s only subtle, keeps the piece interesting.
Lastly, making a miniature framed model to set in front of the larger piece, might keep curious fingers from touching and damaging the main attraction.
Sources for Mosses, Lichen, Mushroom Fungi Preserved Amaranthus, Preserved Seed Pods and other preserved botanicals,
Mountain Farms, Super Moss , Natural Botanicals, Schusters of Texas, New Pro, and ByNature