Vertically Green: Living walls around Sarasota

As you wander around Sarasota County, you’ll see green spaces designed to offer beauty and health benefits.

You may have noticed throughout Sarasota County that there are more ‘living green walls’ a.k.a. vertical gardens popping up in both business and residential settings. 

These gardens are built within walls or vertical, stand-alone structures, covered by a collection of plants, and maintained via self-watering systems or by hand. Years ago, you might have only seen these gardens as concept images created by architects and interior designers, especially for contemporary settings. But today they’re becoming mainstream, popping up at neighbor’s houses via carports, entryways and pool decks, or in lobbies, rooftops and parking garages of businesses, offering us so much more to see than just concrete and glass.

Around town you can see examples of living walls at CitySide Apartments, Sarasota Ford, The Westin Sarasota, Cafe L’Europe, The Summer House Restaurant on Siesta Key, Pascone’s on University, Shore on St. Armand’s Circle, and Boca-Sarasota. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens even has plans to incorporate huge living wall installations as part of the 2021 Strategic Plan, and the list is growing.

Plants help the environment by removing carbon dioxide and replacing it with rich, healthy oxygen, so these living walls are more than just pretty. Dion Roberts, Manager of Plantscapes at Beneva Flowers & Plantscapes, says “There are many benefits to incorporating a living wall into your business or residential decor. Living walls reduce ambient air temperature (which, in turn, can result in lower electric bills), filter out harmful contaminants like dust and pollen, dampen sound, reduce moisture, and provide a pleasing atmosphere that’s conducive to overall health.” He and his team have installed many living walls throughout our area.

The types of plants used in these walls will vary based on the environment in which they’ll live, so each wall is custom designed by companies like Beneva Flowers & Plantscapes, or Oasis Gardenscapes. Factors like location (inside or outside), proximity to windows or A/C vents, and amount of sun exposure are all evaluated to determine feasibility. When possible, native plants that thrive in our

Florida environment are utilized, and even edible plants (herbs and vegetables) can be used — some requiring more frequent rotation and/or replacement due to their delicate nature. Typically the cost of these walls is based on square footage of the area, as well as, varieties of plants installed. 

Living walls contribute to our community in so many ways. So keep your eyes peeled for more, or get one of your very own!


Nicole Coudal is a writer and home-chef based in southwest Florida, where she fishes and cooks using local ingredients. When not on the water, she visits farms, farmer’s markets, and other food-related venues to highlight what’s in-season and to create tasty recipes. Read more at