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Downpipe Greening

Downspouts gutters are often considered ugly and then are greened up. On this page you'll see the possibilities and also what cable solutions FassadenGrün can offer. Annuals are appropriate but also slightly to moderately vigorous perennial climbers. Only powerhouses such as Wisteria, Knotweed, Bittersweet and possibly Kiwi are excluded on the downpipe. In special cases, gutters can be greened up directly, i.e., without additional growth support, but in most cases, support ropes are recommended. The information on this page is also appropriate for lightning rods, vent pipes, etc. 

Downpipe with crimson glory vine

A Parallel Climbing Rope

The easiest method to green a drainpipe up to the top is to flank the pipe with climbing assistance such as is found in our cable system 1040. This emphasises the vertical lines. Often a lower rope is enough in accordance with system 1020 or 1030, with the pipe and its clamps together creating an attractive climbing field and to stabilize the green up against wind. If there is enough space on both sides, two ropes could be set up. See below.

Suitable climbing plants

For such a green up the suitable soft power-plants such as these annuals are good: Clematis viticella , Clematis tangutica, Rambler Roses and Winter Jasmine, who intertwine quickly in front and behind the gutter and 'spin up'. But also Dutchman's Pipe, Hops and leaf Akebia vine are also suitable. Potted plants are sometimes beneficial, because they develop less leaf mass and therefore less stress in the caretaking.

Drainpipes greened with Hops and others
Greened Drainpipe in Quedlinburg / Saxony-Anhalt
Dutchman's Pipe cable system 1040 on the right of the drainpipe
A greened drainpipe with Dutchman's Pipe
Dutchman's Pipe cable system 1040 on the right of the drainpipe
A greened drainpipe with Dutchman's Pipe
Dutchman's Pipe in winter. For insulated walls, where the attachment requirement is very high, stabilizing growing wires can be attached to the downpipe clamps on the pipe. Here two (green) wires on the right and left of the pipe were attached.
Growing wire at drainpipe, Dutchman's Pipe
Annual Morning Glory, wire-cable on the right next to the drainpipe
Drainpipe trellis with Morning Glory
Cable system 1040, simple kit, Hops
Greening "drainpipe" with hops
Greening at a drainpipe with Clematis
Clematis tangutica. Here a wire-cable is drawn between the two drainpipes, the shoots and tendrils are plaited around the wire and pipes, including the available wall clamps as a hitch safeguarding adhesion.
Greening a drainpipe with Clematis tangutica
Clematis hybrid
Drainpipe-trellis with Clematis

Several Parallel Climbing Wires

In the best case scenario, 2 wires-right and left of the drainpipe should be installed. Such an arrangement can also assure that with luxuriant plant masses and with strong winds, the heavy plant loads on the masonry will hold up and not pull out the anchors of the drainpipe connectors. The light anchors of the drainpipe are not, as a rule, meant to accomodate additional heavy loads of greening. A greening system with 2 vertical ropes on one side can be also placed closely beside the gutter-pipe. Rope systems like 4010, 4020 and 7010 are best suited for this.

Wall Lattice as an Alternative to Wires

Lattice is another alternative to create sumptuous greening. This is fastened separately with four or six points to the wall and thus it relieves the gutter-pipe clamps of the heavy plant weight. One must check each individual case whether such lattices are an profit for your wall or whether flanking wire works better asthetically.

Vines, growing ropes in massive construction
A greened up Drainpipe with Vines
Clematis viticella, 2 wire-cables flanking support
Greening of a drainpipe with Clematis viticella, 2 flanking wire-cable supports
Dutchman's Pipe, proliferation in spring, 2 parallel wires on the right of the drainpipe
Drainpipe greening with Dutchman's Pipe
Red star, drainpipe lattice with a separate wall fastening
Red star at Drainpipe
Drainpipe lattices with a separate wall fastening
Drainpipe lattice

Direct Planting and Possible Structural Damage

Annual varieties and even Hops can be planted directly at the foot of drainpipes. Once there, they sometimes wind their delicate vines around the pipe and  grip the clamps and then become entwined. An accompanying cable is conducive as described above, so that the shoots are better stabilized when the wind blows. It is also possible to insert shoots of climbing plants behind a drainpipe or braid it. Make certain that thick shoots do not push away the pipe, and that sensitive plaster on insulated house walls will not be  scratched.

Greening with much leaf mass, however, can lead to the loosening of anchorages under heavy wind. Walls in direct contact with perennial plants need regular maintenance to prevent structural damage. In particular, the condition of the pipe clamps must be checked periodically because strong secondary shoots must be trimmed or removed before they pull the pipe from the wall. Drainpipe clamps are often weak, and not very sturdy especially on insulated stucco walls. It is highly recommended with lush greening climbers to 'accompany' and flank them with wires.

Dangerous: Akebia with a firm foliage development coiling directly around the drainpipe
Drainpipe with Akebia, Greening in Bansin / Usedom / Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania
Firethorn, sprouts partly behind the drainpipe
Drainpipe with Firethorn
Direct greening, funnel winches
Drainpipe greening with Funnel Winches
Direct greening with Hops
Greening a Drainpipe with Hops
Direct greening with Annuals (here Morning Glory and Scarlet runners) also can develop luxuriant leaf mass and provoke thus higher wind loads.
Direct greening of drainpipe in Altenburg / Thuringia
Direct greening, Dutchman's Pipe
Pipe greening with Dutchman's Pipe
Climbing Roses, sprouting behind the drainpipe
Drainpipe greening with Roses in Weimar/ Thuringia
Clematis vitalba has conquered a drainpipe as a strong growing wild plant.
Greening of a drainpipe in Meißen / Saxony

Light Weight Lattices on the Drainpipe.

In the special case of greening described above, it is advisable to attach light weight growing lattices directly on the drainpipe. Be aware, structural damages is possible with full vegetation there. Such a greening most likely works at the base area and with pail plants using slow growers. Hardware store variety lattices are then suitable, made from aluminum wire or (galvanized / plastic) coated steel wire. They are available both in angled or bent forms for drainpipes and are fastened directly to the drainpipe.


Climbing Rose in the pail
Drainpipe with wire grid
Brown-eyed Susanne on a simple lattice
Attachment of a growing aid to a drainpipe
Simple but convincing solution: Clematis in the pail and customary to the market "drainpipe trellis"
Drainpipe with growing grid
Annual climber and special modular trellis on the downpipe. The amount of the resulting leaf mass on the downpipe can be observed.
Drainpipe with growing grid - Drainpipegrid
Special case: An artistic ladder trellis made of wood for Clematis montana
Climbing ladder for Clematis in Ahlbeck / Usedom / Mecklenburg-Hither Pomerania