The project Cascading Gardens uses the principles of biophilic design to create a natural and calming environment. In this living installation, the houseplants provide oxygen to the indoor spaces and provide salubrious psychological effects, through the aesthetics of color and light. The water pumping system makes this garden almost self-sustainable and in winter evaporation from the planters adds moisture back into heated buildings. The color of the bags are designed to absorb sunlight in winter months and radiate heat back into the room and in summer, when the sun is highest, the green plants, shade the soft planters and the soil stays cool for the health of the plant roots and humans.

Cascading Gardens by Ken Rinaldo installed at Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University. Invited by Kay Bea Jones for Food Matters symposium. 2014

In an outdoor version of the Cascading Gardens, they are designed to grow your own edible vegetables while reprocessing green household food scraps with red wiggler worms. Rainwater is collected from roofs and funned into rain barrels and solar powered pumps lift the water to the top planters to cascade watering from planter to planter. Solar powered microprocessors with moisture sensors constantly monitor the moisture level of the roots, and when the roots are dry the watering pumps are activated.

These bags with plants serve as a vertical air filter removing toxins. Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) can remove up to 560 µG/H of formaldehyde as well as Xylene and toluene. English Ivy (Hdererea helix) that does wonderfully in these grow bags removes up to 579 µG/H of benzene, 402-1120 µG/H of trichloroethylene as well as Zylen and Toluene. Golden Pothos (Philodendron cordatum) can remove up to 353 µG/H of formaldehyde. 1

Cascading Gardens by Ken Rinaldo installed for the Chelpipe Corporation at University in the City of Pervouralsk, Russia. Invited by director/curator Alisa Prudnikova and the National Center for the Arts Russia.

With gravity, the rainwater drips from bag to bag cleansing the water and feeding the edible vegetables. In the last bag of this garden red wiggler worms can eat the kitchen scraps, while bacteria, sow bugs, springtails, and fungi further help to compost creating a natural fertilizer for the vegetables.

Cascading Gardens by Ken Rinaldo premiere at Antonio Prates Gallery in Lisbon Portugal. Invited by Antonio Prates 2104

As 17- percent of all global warming methane is produced by rotting food scraps, in public dumps, this system helps to reduce global warming while feeding humans local sustainable vegetables.

2 bags of cascading gardens in my home growing a non-stop begonia and a rosemary plant in a pot as catchment

This project marks continued research toward sustainable solutions in the creation of food robots to feed the people.

Outdoor garden in Columbus Ohio of Cascading Gardens hanging on a stainless steel wire.

Above is a Cascading Garden in my own garden in Columbus Ohio where I got to experiment with uncontested spaces…spaces between buildings/land that are underutilized in the urban environment.

Outdoor garden in Columbus Ohio of Cascading Gardens hanging on cord by Ken Rinaldo
Outdoor garden in Columbus Ohio of Cascading Gardens hanging on the cord by Ken Rinaldo

Early experiments in my garden, included growing black-eyed Susan’s and tomatoes.

I have now tested these bags for many years and have been excited about how they hold up and how the green and flowering foliages fill buildings and gardens with life.




NATIONAL CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ARTS, Ekacteringburg, Russia, 2013-2014 invited
Commission to create new Cascading Garden for the Chelpipe Corporation in the City of Pervouralsk Russia. Invited by Alisa Prudnikova

ANTONIO PRATES GALLERY, Lisbon Portugal, 2013-2014
A one-person exhibition of seed works archival prints for series based on the wisdom of seeds and strategies of seed propagation. The new cascading garden produced during the same exhibition invited by Antonio Prates

New cascading garden as part of an exhibition on Sustainability invited by curator/professor Kay Bea Jones

Artist and director:

Design and prototypes: Ken Rinaldo


Sewing Sharon Kliewer
Garden Timer: Andrew Frueh
Seagull Bags; Daniel and John

Lessons on robotic installation, with electronics design and code


This work can be hung individually or in groups.


robotics, sustainable agriculture, biophilic design, green architecture


Maximum Yield Indoor Gardening, 2014 pgs 34 Coverage of Cascading Gardens work Ken Rinaldo’s Cascading Garen Uses Vermiponics for Growing Veggies Vertically, by Jon Dioffa, 2013
TreeHugger, Vertical Vermiponis: Research project combines Worms with Hydroponics by Kimberly Mock 2013 Rinaldo’s Cascading Gardens Uses Vermiponics for Growing Veggies Vertically.
Umbigo Magazine, The Spring Dreams of Ken Rinaldo by Mariana Machado, 12/11/13
A Green Living, Ken Rinaldo’s Cascading Garden Uses Vermiponics for Growing Veggies Vertically, Nov 7, 2013
Tech Investor News, Ken Rinaldo’s Cascading Garden Uses Vermiponics for Growing Veggies Vertically, Nov 7, 2013
News Service «URA.Ru», Worms and robots evoke imagination. Professor whose ideas inspired Microsoft, ready to help the Ural pipe makers, Xenia Fix, Photo ­ Alexander Mamaev, 05.11.2013 18:32
Garden Culture Magazine, Vermiponic Gardens? Vertical Innovations
Written by Amber on November 15, 2013. Posted in Vertical Gardening

  1. Wolverton, B., Bounds, K., w. (1989) A study of interior landscape Plants for Indoor Air Pollution Abatement – NASA- TM-108061


The Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University
Chelpipe Corporation, Russia
Antonio Prates Gallery, Lisbon Portugal