How to incorporate plants to give your home’s exterior
When deciding how to landscape your property, don’t just think groundcover; look up and examine the vertical possibilities, as well. Incorporating plants into your home’s exterior can soften the look of architectural features, offer thermal-regulation properties (reducing the heat gain of your home), improve your home’s stormwater management and even increase your property value.
A well-known option for greening your home’s exterior is the addition of ivy growing up the walls. “This is a great way to bring the exterior walls to life, shelter the home from sunlight and help to reduce the indoor temperature,” says Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware’s home expert.
Despite its benefits, Manfredini warns homeowners that ivy can also degrade exterior walls over time, so he stresses the importance of installing a metal expanded wall and having the ivy grow on that instead of directly on the house.
Window of opportunity
Flower boxes hung directly underneath windows are another popular way to add plants to exterior walls. Choose a box that is at least 8 inches deep and 8 inches wide and allows enough soil for plants to grow properly. Manfredini recommends using boxes made from a synthetic material, as wooden boxes can rot. “There are many different styles [of synthetic boxes] that look like wood and can be painted, as well,” he adds.
Green roofs, also known as “living roofs,” have become a growing trend when it comes to adding plants to building exteriors. Becoming more and more prominent on the roofs of tall buildings in urban areas, green roofs are also beneficial to homes. To build a green roof, a waterproof membrane must first be installed. Then, soil and plants are added. This type of roof absorbs rainwater, provides insulation for the home and reduces solar heat gain. Drainage and irrigation systems are often included in the design of the green roof, as well. And, last but not least, the roof provides extra space for gardening!
When choosing plants for exterior walls and window boxes, make sure that you allow for growth so the plant doesn’t overtake your home.
—Lou Manfredini, Ace Hardware’s home expert, www.acehardware.com
Created and developed by McCaren Designs, the Greenwalls Vertical Planting System incorporates a powder-coated wire hanging structure filled with a foam planting material and a drip-irrigation channel—all backed by a waterproof layer. This system allows for a full wall of greenery. Planting is easy—just cut a slit into the foam panel and insert a plant. With the aesthetics of an artistic element and the benefits of reduction in your home’s heat gain, sound insulation, stormwater management and more, Greenwalls are a great option for homeowners.