Society’s conventions and tastes have perpetuated the idea of a flat garden for centuries now; in response, Karen Brooks decided to take her garden off of the ground. Nestled inside of her home stands a 272-square-foot living wall, complete with esoteric statues, carefully situated across the green, as well as a myriad of plants that would delight any botanist. “Living in Georgetown, space is a little constrained. I do have a garden in front and some space in the back, but it’s not nearly enough room to maintain my ambitions for (an affection for, more importantly) plant life.” With a clear vision of her home’s needs, Brooks contracted GSky Plant Systems, Inc. to build the towering structure. She utilized the talents of the company’s Debbie Kotalic, Bell Design, and Willow Run Greenhouse Corp in order to manifest the spiritually driven wall. Brooks also relied on Dale Overmyer, one of the Georgetown’s foremost architects, to remodel portions of the house (specifically the kitchen and dining room). This step opened up the space, connecting the rooms visually on the first and second floors. In order to maintain the wall, Oasis Plantscaping comes in to ensure that the plants continue to thrive. Through such coordinated efforts, Brooks’ living wall is able to exude unrivaled vibrancy and beauty.
The wall draws upon the rich cultures of Southeast Asia, as it sports Buddhist and Hindu statues and a fusion of plant species from across the land. “It's a constant presence when you’re in the house. People are drawn to it, they go straight for the wall when they come in.” Living walls have risen in popularity over the past decade (courtesy of the Parisian botanist Patrick Blanc), but given the incredible logistical difficulties behind their construction, most have been built on the sides of large urban buildings. Brooks brought this concept home, and it seems to have already paid its dividends. “The wall really has become a centerpiece for the house. The wall also brings in a lot of fresh air into the house—there’s a different smell in this house. The air is constantly being recycled and re-energized by the plants.” Her wall stands as a testament to both novel design and eclectic taste.