A vertical garden is also referred to as a green wall or living wall. Living walls are self sufficient vertical gardens that are attached to exterior or interior walls of a building. They differ from green façades (e.g. ivy walls) in that the plants are rooted in a structural support which is fixed to the wall itself. The plants receive water and nutrients from within the vertical support instead of from the ground.
While Patrick Blanc is sometimes credited as having developed the concept in the late 1980s, some argue that the actual inventor is Stanley Hart White, a Professor of Landscape Architecture who patented a green wall system in the late 1930s.
In vertical gardens, various types of modular panels can be used along with geotextile fabrics, growing media, irrigation systems, and plants.
Living walls are particularly suitable for cities, as they allow good use of available vertical surface areas. The living wall could also function for urban agriculture, urban gardening, or for its beauty as art.