Wall o’ Plants


An arresting architectural feature recently appeared at the corner of Folsom and 48th in East Sacramento: a “living fence” made entirely of plants.

Marrying form and function, the waist-high fence encloses the sidewalk patio at the new Origami Asian Grill restaurant within a stunning patchwork wall of small live plants. Cima’s Landscape, a Rancho Cordova firm, designed and constructed the fence.

“We donated it to make East Sac look a little better,” says project manager Tony Cima, a friend of Origami’s owners.

According to Cima, living or “green” walls and fences are popular in the Bay Area and Los Angeles but are just starting to appear here in Sac. Two years ago, downtown’s Golden 1 Center debuted with seven exterior green walls planted with 5,400 plants.

To create Origami’s fence, Cima Landscape stuffed cylindrical drainage sacs with soil and speared each one onto a metal pole like a hot dog on a stick. Workers mounted the poles like pickets onto horizontal rails, cut slits into the sacs with a razor and filled the slits with plants, mostly succulents and drought-tolerant perennials.

A living wall or fence has many benefits, says Cima. It attracts butterflies, bees and birds, filters out noise and dust and softens the urban landscape. Another plus:  It requires very little weeding.

Living walls aren’t limited to large commercial spaces. The Plant Foundry in Oak Park sells a five-pocket modular container from WallyGro that allows people to create smaller-scale living walls at home.