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High Vertical Greening -- over 5 meters (16.5 ft)

A vine covering a facade and climbing 8, 12, or 20 metres from the ground to the sky is a bit more impressive than a small trellised climber at the base of a building. High greening projects have particularly compelling ecological advantages: filtration of fine particles, reduction of the ambient temperature by evapotransportation, improvement of thermal and sound insualation. Particularly with this type of greening, implementation and sustainability depend on precise design and planning, stable climbing aids, and regular maintenance. For more examples, see Bauhaus style/modern architecturelarge walls, balconies, and post/masts.

Vertical greening with wisteria on an industrial building in Dresden / Saxony
Vertical greening with wisteria on an industrial building in Dresden / Saxony

Climbing Plants and their Support Systems

High facade gardens can be created with or without a support system. In the first case, the aim is to achieve a big effect with little effort. Self-clinging climbers, like English ivy and Boston ivy, are a logical choice. To avoid structural damage, many builders resort to climbing plants that are "tamed" by trellises. Whether the taming and shaping of a plant really takes place depends on its maintenance. The following plants are suitable: annuals, hops, akebia, Dutchman's pipeclematis vitalba, and 'wild' (fruitless) vines. Vigorous twiners like wisteria, fleece vine, and bittersweet need lots of maintenance. If unkempt, these plants accumulate masses of dead and dry foliage that, when close to windows, can be a fire hazard. In case of the freezing-over of wet foliage, these plant masses can be a heavy load spreading across the entire surface, endangering the stability of the system or support. When in doubt, forego vigorous climbing (twining) plants.

Loads and Strain

In addition to the usual loads caused by cable tension, plant weight, etc.., wind 'loads' must also be taken into account: after growing about 8m high, plants become 'wind catchers,' especially at the upper corners of buildings. Instead of using plastic fittings (rawl plugs) here, composite mortar or metric fittings would be better. Particularly at risk again are vigorously-growing plants with thick foliage that are not trimmed regularly, as they then offer an inviting surface for winds to strike.

Protection Against Vandalism

Vandalism can be expected if greening is done in rough neighborhoods of a city or in areas which are hard to supervise. For this reason, FassadenGrün recommends first and foremost rope systems in the heavy and massive construction styles. To prevent the stepping and weight support for potential vandals -- the "ladder effect" -- use horizontal ropes or other trellis elements starting only at a height of about 1.8 metres, or even 2.5 m, as described for cable system 4030. If required, the plants can then be trained with strong bamboo sticks.

Lightning Protection

High climbing systems made of metal may need to be attached to the lightning protection system of a house or building, if such exists and is required. This is all the more so if the metal trellis structure:

 • is massive and rises up to roof height  

 • is on a building which is exposed to lightning strikes  

 • is located on a building that towers over others, or otherwise is exposed to lightning and is made of combustible materials, like wood.


For the lighter trellises from FassadenGrün, a lightning conductor is usually unnecessary, nor are they usually needed with awnings, letterboxes, signposts, and cornice covers made of sheet metal. When in doubt, ask an expert or specialist planner.

High Vertical Greening on Houses

Private small-home builders and contractors are well advised to do without a high vertical greening when there are any doubts, or to green only up to about 5 metres high, as here assembly and maintenance can be carried out by means of a single ladder. If professional planning, structural calculation, and all subsequent costs are ensured, however, nothing stands in the way of higher greenings!

Vertical greening with Dutchman's Pipe A. macrophylla
High vertical greening with Dutchman's Pipe
Here the fire department had to remove the wisteria spindles which were fastened with the the wrong mounts and were loosened by a storm.
Damage to a wall mount
On this office building wisteria, silver lace vine, thicket creeper and Dutchman's pipe will grow up to metal shade posts and strengthen the sun shade effect. This greening style requires a lot of maintenance (trimming, watering, cultivating), but enriches the facade. Such massive plants also have to be attached to lightning protection rods.
Special greening type: Office building IHK in Cottbus / Brandenburg
Not suited for the private garden: vertical greening with wisteria
Vertical greening with wisteria

Photo Gallery

Here you can see a variety of vertical greenings. Find further examples in the sections: Bauhaus-Style, Balconies, Large Walls and Structures, and Masts/Pillars.

Vertical greening with wisteria in a courtyard
Vertical greening with Dutchman's Pipe on wire ropes
High vertical greening with Dutchman's Pipe, A.Tomentosa on varnished wine-red square metal pipe's
High climbing plants on a residential building: two fleece vines (vigorous twiners) on steel cables
Building greening with wisteria and similar plants on steel lattices
Vertical greening with different climbers on a shopping centre