Екорубрика 15:16 15 Aug 2023

Green walls: should the facades be covered with greenery?

Some plants can destroy your home, and others can cause an allergic reaction. Rubryka explains how to green the facade correctly and dispel the myths that have stopped you from greening your house until now.

What is the problem?

Every year, the summer in the cities becomes hotter and hotter. Concrete and brick surfaces, asphalt, tiles, and roofs of buildings heat up quickly in the sun and give off their heat for a long time. At the same time, it is much more pleasant to be in the shade of trees on a green lawn, where moisture evaporates more slowly, and the temperature is lower.

It is not the first year that residents of large cities have been offered solutions that help reduce the temperature, one of them being the greening of facades. In countries where the air temperature is higher than in Ukraine, this practice has been used since time immemorial.

Будинки з рослинами на стінах

A house in the center of Tbilisi, Georgia, is entwined with wild grapes to help fight the high temperatures. Photo: Rubryka

The lower temperature in the rooms, the aesthetic appearance of the building, and the beautiful framing around the windows are, of course, advantages. However, the editors of Rubryka raised a question: isn't such a tangle of greens destructive to the building itself, and don't people and birds that settle in such houses interfere with each other?

Let's find out whether living in houses surrounded by greenery is so convenient.

What is the solution?
Birds in green walls: will it not disturb the house's residents? 

Contemplating a house with green walls for a few minutes, you will definitely see birds flying out of it. They consider such walls a safe dwelling: they are sufficiently isolated from city cats, and a nest can fit quite conveniently on the branches, but won't such a close coexistence interfere with people?

To find out the answer, Rubryka turned to the ornithologist Stanislav from Kropyvnytskyi, a veterinarian who settled in his yard about 50 birds, 30 of which are parrots.

"In England and Belgium, such overgrowth is widely practiced. Mice, spiders, and centipedes can settle in the greenery, along with nests of small birds also appear there."

They do not pose any danger to residents. At least, the residents of the famous apartment building on Revutsky Street, commenting on their impressions, only complained about annoying spectators who come to admire the grapes every autumn and create queues under the entrance to take a few photos against the background of bright walls.

Будинки з рослинами на стінах

A house on Revutsky Street in Kyiv. Source: Darnytskyi District state administration in the city of Kyiv

In addition, one cannot be sure that such animals will not bother you even when your walls are not covered with greenery. For example, Rubryka correspondent Mykola Tymchenko, who lives in an ordinary high-rise building with a facade free of greenery, says that when sparrows built a nest near his balcony, he woke up every morning to the loud attempts of crows to destroy the nest.

If the possible coexistence with urban fauna has kept you from greening the house walls, then know: no one is immune from annoying birds. However, there is another nuance of facade landscaping.

Can the vegetation on the walls be dangerous?

Some plants that look aesthetically pleasing in the photo can cause a lot of inconvenience if you are in constant contact with them because of allergies.

Будинки з рослинами на стінах

No matter how fabulous the walls entwined with hops or ivy look, it is better to refrain from these plants if we are talking about an apartment building.

Remember! Ivy causes allergies, both in animals and in people. Children can be particularly affected by ivy, and it can cause skin reactions and even vomiting. These reactions occur when a person comes into contact with ivy juice. The situation with hops is somewhat different: the pollen of some varieties of this plant, for example, Japanese hops, can cause severe allergic reactions.

That is why it is better to pay attention to wild grapes — a safe plant adapted to Ukraine's natural conditions. However, when planting, it is essential to pay attention to some aspects of the growth of this plant.

Will the plant harm the facade of the building?

Architect Viktor Bilous advises paying attention to the type of grape you plant: the wild Vichy grape is the most popular. It is completely safe for the facade, as the plant is attached to surfaces with the help of small tendrils with sticky discs. They do not harm walls and are safe to use.

On the other hand, the five-leaf grape attaches to the building with tendrils that penetrate even into small cracks in the facade and can cause destruction. By the way, as well as ivy, the five-leaf grape does not pose any other danger to the building, so if for some reason you chose it, it is better to use special supporting structures so that the plant does not damage the building.

Plants should be cared for

Taking care of plants is not only about timely pruning so that the creeper does not entangle the windows. The fact is that neither ivy nor vines are natural plant species that can coexist with other endemics in forests, parks, or even in your yard.

These are quite aggressive plants that, under favorable conditions, can begin to grow on trees and displace other plants as invasive species. So if you notice that the landscaping experiment is getting out of control, you need to remove vegetation from places where it is not intended.

Будинки з рослинами на стінах

Source: pixabay

What advantages will I get if I green the facade of my house?

  • First, it is aesthetic. Most of the facades in Ukrainian cities, especially in areas that were built 30, 40, and 50 years ago, have long since lost their decent appearance. Beautiful greenery will enliven the building, but there are other advantages.
  • A lower temperature in the summer inside the building is one of them. Studies reported by Ecoation have shown that greening a wall reduces the surface temperature by 4.67°C compared to a bare wall.
Будинки з рослинами на стінах

A photo taken with a thermal imager shows the difference in temperature between walls covered in greenery and bare surfaces.

  • You will get cleaner air. According to Ecoation experts, plants retain volatile organic compounds, dust, and other microparticles and release oxygen, thus improving air quality.
  • It will be quieter at home. Vertical landscaping reduces the noise level depending on the type of plant and the distance of the sound source. The higher the noise level, the higher the risk of ischemic heart disease, so even a slight reduction positively affects health.

Now you know more about green facades, and if you have been hesitating about greening your home, this is exactly the sign that should inspire you to turn your home into another cute urban green island.


If you have found a spelling error, please, notify us by selecting that text and pressing Ctrl+Enter.

Leave a Reply

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: