Photo by Coronado Island Visitor Guide
Built in 1888 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1977, Hotel del Coronado is an American treasure with more than a century of stories to tell. The Del’s visionary founders, Elisha Babcock and H.L. Story, dreamed of building a seaside resort that would be “the talk of the Western world.” Since then, the resort has become a living legend, visited by celebrities, dignitaries and U.S. presidents.
Hotel Del Coronado contracted with landscapers from BrightView Landscape Development out of San Diego. For the project, the hotel wanted to create a living wall that would essentially beautify the view seen from the porte cochere. Prior to the project, if you turned around while standing at the front entrance, the view was not as attractive as the hotel desired (viewing the parking lot and vehicles).
Brightview reached out to collaborate with our partner Good Earth Plant Company, also from San Diego. Jim Mumford, from Good Earth, chose Tournesol Siteworks’ VGM Modular Living Wall System. He has worked with our VGM system quite often and states, “it’s my favorite for situations like this.” Jim says he doesn’t “have to worry that the VGM living wall will blow over.” The green wall is free-standing, and “people walk by the location of the green wall which is exposed to the elements, but the mounting brackets are sturdy” and able to withstand high traffic areas.
For the green wall, Good Earth utilized 140 VGM3 planting modules. Each module is made from 100% recycled plastic, attached to stainless steel rails with mounting brackets. They also utilized over 250 VGM Media Block for the soil and landscape fabric on the back side of the wall to keep it moist and to shade it from the beating sun during hot, sunny days. The modules were grown in at Good Earth’s facility prior to installation to provide instant, complete coverage for the living wall. With the VGM System, root growth isn’t limited by restricting cells or baffles so plants grow healthier and stronger.
However, there were a few hurdles Good Earth had to overcome prior to installation. Since the hotel is a historic landmark and iconic property, the Coronado City Design Counsel got involved to ensure the choice of plants and look of the green wall wouldn’t be too contemporary for the iconic property. The counsel carefully chose the exact plant varieties, sizes, styles and colors. This delayed the installation process and extended the usual three-month period for seven months. Prior to installation, the plants inevitably had to be trimmed but were installed in only one day!
Another hiccup was the large fire hydrant toward the middle of the wall. It had to remain, but the design of the living wall had to be designed around the fire hydrant. It wasn’t the look they were expecting but the size of the VGM modules mandated the space needed to encompass the hydrant.
Good Earth continues maintenance of this living wall, which is the key to keeping the green wall growing and lush. We’re thrilled that our VGM Green wall was chosen to help beautify this amazing, historical hotel – this green wall looks fantastic!