The Grocer challenged The Pipe to find a way to connect urban millennials with wildlife endangerment in their local area. Here’s what they came up with..

“There’s nothing in the current market that really targets individuals without gardens who want to provide habitats for local wildlife” says Matthew Freeman, creative intern at Ogilvy UK. “The Urban Vertical Lawn allows everyone with access to an external wall to create their own green space.”

Freeman and colleagues drew inspiration from Italian urban planner Stefano Boeri’s Bosco Verticale (Vertical Forest) project - a Milan apartment complex festooned with hundreds of trees - after we challenged them to come up with a concept that connects urban millennials with wildlife. 

The lawns are grids of nine squares on either wooden or metal frames. Plates can be purchased and attached on to a square, each containing flora and habitats that directly benefit wildlife, including bird houses and butterfly boxes. If an individual tires of a plate, or the attached plant dies, they can simply unclip the four hinges and replace it with another.

The key strength of the Vertical Lawn, Freeman states, is that it eliminates typical millennial barriers to gardening – space, time and knowhow. “The product is low maintenance; it’s easy to fix on to a wall and plates can be removed and replaced quickly. There’s no need for a knowledge of gardening or plants.”

Cost has also been kept to a minimum to encourage purchases from customers with lower disposable income. “Rented accommodation is increasingly expensive these days, and many tenants either can’t or won’t want to spend a lot on their garden. Nobody wants to spend time, money and effort on a lawn that isn’t theirs. We’d price the grid at £20, with individual plates just a few pounds - no more than you would pay for a potted plant at your local Homebase.”

As well as contributing to urban wildlife populations by re-establishing habitats that are rapidly disappearing under concrete, Urban Vertical Lawns provide much-needed green space in areas that are likely to be lacking. Studies have shown the benefits of green spaces for mental health can be worth as much as £300 per year per person.

It is advised that stockists of the Urban Vertical Lawn research their locality as well as the demands of their customer base before selecting panel ranges. “Panels including the more aesthetically pleasing flowers such as lilies would be popular, but retailers need to also consider the wildlife that is native to their area, as well as declining populations that are in need of new habitats.”

The versatility of the product could offer a plethora of opportunities for supermarkets, Freeman continues. “Panels growing herbs could be displayed within the fruit & veg aisle, for example, or could feature on the retailers’ own external walls, serving as inspiration for customers as well as showing a commitment to providing habitats for local wildlife.”


This was originally published in The Grocer.