Heathrow press releases

10 October, 2016

The UK’s first airport “Garden Gate” planted and growing at Heathrow’s Terminal 3

Garden Gate


  • Gate includes 1,680 plants including the UK’s own English Ivy and the Peace Lily

  • Green oasis designed to give passengers a sense of calm before their journey


Passengers flying from Terminal 3, Gate 25 will now be treated to a garden of 1,680 plants, including the English native Ivy and Peace Lily.  Heathrow’s “Garden Gate,” installed by urban greening specialists Biotecture, will be trialled for the next 6 months. If the trial is a success, Heathrow will explore implementing Garden Gates across the airport. 

Heathrow’s Garden Gate is its latest effort to make every journey better, following a record-breaking first half of 2016 which saw the highest passenger satisfaction scores to date. It will provide an eco-sanctuary within Britain’s busiest airport. Academic research points to a correlation between calm, comfort and relaxation and exposure to plants.

On average, 287,274 passengers go through Gate 25, Terminal 3, every year.


Emma Gilthorpe, Strategy Director at Heathrow says:

“We are proud to have received our best ever passenger service scores to date this summer, but we are always keen to make our passengers’ journeys better.  With our new Garden Gate, our passengers can enjoy a natural sanctuary of rest and relaxation as they make their way through the airport, with 1,680 plants ready to see them on their way.”


Richard Sabin, Director of Biotecture, said:

“The Garden Gate at Heathrow is the latest, and perhaps most iconic, living wall representing the advancement of eco-technologies in the UK. The world’s major cities are increasingly investing in green infrastructure, and the Garden Gate, both technically and ecologically, is cutting edge for its ease of installation, unique plant selection and LED lighting system. As the nexus of transit and technology, transportation hubs are ideal locations for green infrastructure to become an investment in public health and wellbeing.”  


Heathrow has once again received recognition for high service standards, being named the ‘Best Airport in Western Europe’ for the second consecutive year at the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2016. The award, voted for globally by passengers, came in addition to Terminal 5 being voted the world’s ‘Best Airport Terminal’ and Heathrow ‘Best Airport for Shopping’ for the fifth and seventh consecutive years respectively. For the first time, Heathrow has also received the prestigious award of ‘Europe’s Best Airport’ (with over 40 million passengers) in the 2016 ASQ Awards. Finally, Heathrow also received ACI Europe’s Best Airport Award for the third time.



About Biotecture’s Garden Walls

The Garden gates measuring 1.8m high x 2.4m wide containing 240 plants each. There are 7 of them in the gate room.

Biotecture BioWall is a truly flexible, modular living wall system. Our patented hydroponic system brings a new level of sustainability to vertical green walls through intelligent water management, and stable system dynamics. Biotecture has greened a number of notable sites throughout the UK, US and Middle East, including the Walkie Talkie building, Edgware Road and Elephant & Castle tube stations as well as the MTV HQ in London.

About Heathrow’s Garden Gate

The Garden Gate is comprised of 7 panels,  1.8m high x 2.4m wide, each containing 240 plants. Each plant panel is fitted with a water reservoir and nutrient system which allows the wall to flourish for an extended period of time in an artificial environment. Advancements in LED technology enables indoor plant growth using less energy (e.g. more light and less heat).

The plant selection is largely based on early research conducted by Dr Bill Wolverton on behalf of NASA to prove that plants, namely the English Ivy and the Peace Lily, absorbed the air around them, translocated it to their roots, where organisms turned some air particles into food for the plant.

Various studies have shown that plants have a psychological calming effect on humans:

  • Professor Virginia Lohr, Washington State University, USA (1996) found that plants reduced the physical signs of stress i.e. blood pressure, pulse rates and skin conductivity
  • Helen Russell at the University of Surrey (mid 1990s) carried out similar research to Virginia |Lohr with similar results
  • Prof Roger Ulrich, Texas A & M University, USA (1984, 91, 92, 99 & 2001) found that plants or even green views decreased stress levels of recovering surgical patients assisting faster recovery
  • Prof Tove Fjeld, University of Agriculture, Oslo, Norway (1996 – 2002) sites environmental psychology and the way we live now as a stress factor
  • Tina Bringslimark, University of Agriculture, Oslo, Norway (2008) found that office workers reported less stress related sickness when they saw several plants from their desk
  • Dr John Hesselink, TNO in The Netherlands (1995) found that plants had an uplifting effect
  • Engelbert Kotter, Bavarian State Institute of Viticulture and Horticulture (2002) concluded that plant lovers more likely to be calm