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Client Background

Creating their home on one of the lakes at Bury Hill Fisheries, the owners of the fisheries were keen to align the modern design with sustainable living features, helping the architecture to flow fluently with the surroundings and create minimum disturbance to the peace of the location.

Featured Solutions

  • Viritopia Living Wall System (Exterior)

Size:     25m² - 150m²

Industry:     Residential

Project Drivers



Air Quality

Having designed, supplied and installed (and now maintain!) the living walls at The Boathouse, this project has become one of our firm favourites.  We're proud to have the Viritopia Living Wall System as part of such a stunning architectural design.

How it began

With access to nature worth its weight in green, fishery owners, David and Mo de Vere, took on the challenge of transforming a former tackle shop.  

Wanting to create a sustainable home that echoes the natural environment which surrounds it, the build was constructed entirely from sustainably sourced timber; with the exclusion of the steel subframe and piles that are driven deep into the lake bed, which allows the build to seemingly float on the surface of the lake. Yet, this natural exterior still wasn’t enough to blend the refurbished build with the surrounding landscape.

A seamless transition

Keen to align The Boathouse’s modern design with the surrounding picturesque natural landscape, David and Mo enlisted the help of living wall specialist, Viritopia. Together they designed a series of six living walls that wrap around the exterior of the building, helping the home to blend seamlessly into its green environment, while ensuring minimal disturbance to the location’s peaceful view.

The benefits

Boasting a range of benefits that far exceed the aesthetics, from providing cleaner, healthier air, to reducing energy costs and promoting biodiversity, these living, breathing installations are key to creating the ultimate green build.

It was important to us that The Boathouse was unobtrusive to the lake and after seeing an increasing amount of living walls on our travels, we loved the idea of adding a green living dimension to the building.

David de Vere

Client and Owner of Bury Hill Fisheries

An evergreen foundation

Choosing the right plants to withstand the changing elements was a key part of the living wall design process, with an evergreen plant palette creating a green exterior that would flourish all year round. David de Vere said: “Given that The Boathouse sits entirely over water, Viritopia helped us to choose the right planting schemes that would cope with the various orientations of the exposed building.”

'Discovery' plant selection

With the de Veres’ vision in mind, an additional variety of ‘discovery plants’ were also included into the design; a selection of visual displays that would appear at different times of the year. Using a mixture of bulbs, including daffodils, bluebells and snowdrops, the six living walls that now surround The Boathouse have been designed to flourish in every season.

Steve McIntyre, Urban Environment Consultant for Viritopia, said: “With vibrant visuals that are everchanging, the variety of species within the planting palette gives David and Mo de Vere a new element to discover from summer to winter. Designed to offer more than just a way to blend in with the landscape, the living walls also act as a vertical garden for the senses, while also encouraging biodiversity by providing a home to local bird and bug life."

Offering surprises for sight, smell and taste, the living walls also grow summer strawberries and a variety of fresh herbs, including rosemary and thyme. David and Mo can simply reach outside of their kitchen window to harvest their own fresh ingredients for cooking.

Steve McIntyre

Senior Urban Environment Consultant at Viritopia

On-going sustainability

Fulfilling David and Mo’s requirements for an eco-friendly build, the living walls act as a natural insulation barrier and protection for the timber structure. Helping to regulate temperatures internally, living walls promote improved energy efficiency, while also reducing the effects of aging on the wood, creating a resilient barrier between the exposed timber and the harsh natural elements.

Boosting the green benefits, Viritopia designed and installed a bespoke irrigation system that made the most of The Boathouse’s unique location. Reducing unnecessary waste by releasing clean, unused water back into the lake, the design cuts down the maintenance cost for the living walls whilst creating a greener feeding system.

Regular maintenance carried out monthly by Viritopia is a crucial element to ensuring that The Boathouse’s green façade continues to flourish. Steve McIntyre adds: “Caring for the small details is an important part of ensuring living walls thrive for the long term, from replacing any damaged modules, to making sure each plant remains healthy.