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A Green Facade Displaces Graffiti!

Graffiti is a problem against which cities often struggle in vain. Climbing trees and shrubs at the base of walls are a super solution -- inexpensive, easy to maintain, and environmentally friendly to boot. Already existing graffiti can, of course, also be covered. Read on to learn more and see some examples.

Four young euonymus on a vandalized wall; see below for 1st year photo
Four young euonymus on a vandalized wall; see below for 1st year photo

Plants as a Preventive Protection from Graffiti

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Most of the plants will only protect the base area, and then regular pruning is necessary. Often certain wires, according to the cable systems 1020, 1060, or 8010, are required to reign in the stubborn instincts of some plants and affix them to the wall. An easy kit is usually sufficient for this. Also painted plants, i.e. floral motifs by artists, are an effective protection against graffiti; see below.

Graffiti Removal and Greening

Sometimes it's already happened...

In order to protect the base of the wall after graffiti has been removed, roses and pyracantha (scarlet firethorn) can be planted. It's no fun in the dark for sprayers to run up against their sharp thorns that tear into expensive brand name apparel... Evergreens are also a good choice against graffiti. Small, low-maintenance winter creeper is another good option; it remains limited to the base areas with only moderate growth, yet requires little pruning.

Main photo up top (graffitied wall), 1 year later ...
Greening on former graffitied wall

Concealing Graffiti

The removal of graffiti is expensive, and stucco or protective coatings may be removed with the grafitti in the process. This could hinder the water vapor permeability of a wall, which in turn can lead to delamination/spalling in certain kinds of masonry. Therefore, it may be useful to leave graffiti on the wall, and to conceal it by greening over it. Ivy, Virginia creeper, and Boston ivy can rapidly green up a grafittied wall. Careful though-- overgrowth can possibly lead to structural damage.

Photo Gallery: Examples for Greening

The best climbing plants for the protection of facades are the thorniest, most vigorous, and slowest growing evergreens, or at least one combination of two of these factors...

Climbing roses on galvanised steel lattices
Base planting with vines
Graffiti prevention with a wooden trellis
Three-lobed Boston Ivy
Ivy base as street greening
Ivy on horizontal wires as a courtyard greening
Reed Grass
Roses-- and thorns!
Virginia creeper with early autumn colours on a wooden trellis
Green privacy screen with ivy

Photo Gallery: Floral Motifs as Graffiti Prevention

A particularly low-maintenance, inexpensive graffiti prevention-- the facade is just painted in floral motifs. Here you can see examples. 

Floral painting as graffiti protection
Painted wild grapes
Painted facade plants
Real and painted wild grapvines
Facade flowers
Adhesive film with printed motif - wild grape leaves