A sound wall surrounding the property was at the top of his to-do list, but rather than erect a slab of concrete, Wiemholt decided to get creative and green by building a living wall made of grasses and plants. The first phase of the 8-foot wall was set up in March, and Brownstone Gardens will host a planting party on Saturday, April 7 to install all the decorative foliage. Experienced gardeners are invited to help out and plant a variety of grasses and flowering plants into the wall, which will create a cascading mural effect when the plants reach maturity.
“A concrete wall would have been the easy solution, but that’s just unsightly,” Wiemholt said. “This is a garden, so building an extension of the garden to block the sound seemed like a natural solution. What’s great about the living wall is that not only is it ecologically sound, but it absorbs the sound, which is better than a concrete wall, where the sound just bounces right back at you.”
Wiemholt began researching living walls after being inspired by designs in Walnut Creek and San Francisco. While traditional living walls are mounted onto the side of an existing structure, Wiemholt has designed his wall as a freestanding structure featuring plants and greenery on both sides. The “wall” is actually two fences, currently spanning 135 feet, lined with gardening felt and filled in with soil. An intricate hydroponic drip system has been installed to keep the soil fertilized, and earthworms will be used to keep the soil loose and viable. Ultimately, it will be home to approximately 6,000 plants.
While Wiemholt has done much of the work himself, he credits Carlos Hernandez of Asahi Nursery in Brentwood as the green thumb mastermind who has been propagating the plants. “I had the idea, and he’s helping me make it happen,” Wiemholt said. “I’ve never seen a living wall like this one in all the research I’ve been doing in the past few years, but I think the end result will be positive addition to the venue.”
Another advantage to living walls over basic concrete structures is that the wall reduces ground heat, and the plants produce oxygen, which will enhance the fresh feel of the Brownstone Gardens’ environment.
Wiemholt’s daughter Kay-Kay Hines, who manages the facility, is looking forward to the planting party on Saturday. “When we opened six years ago, we wanted to create a venue that was unique to the area,” she said, “and I think this living wall will enhance the aesthetics of our venue and create a special setting.”
Brownstone Gardens is available for a variety of occasions, from weddings and birthday parties to corporate functions. For more information, visit www.brownstonegardens.com. Those interested in participating in the planting party are invited to call 925-550-6094.