Monument Protection and Greening

Monument protection and facade greening can get along! Many houses from earlier stylistic eras are 'monument protected' historical sites. Either they always had a green facade or one will be restored according to the old model (from a photo or drawing). A first-time greening on a historical building or site can sometimes be problematic. Three possible scenarios are explored here.

Grapevines on a cottage, Rettin / Schleswig-Holstein
Grapevines on a cottage, Rettin / Schleswig-Holstein

Preservation of a Greening

There are monuments where the facade greening itself (plants and flowers) is also under protection. This is usually the case when the planting was already done during the original construction phase. But, greenery added later may also be worthy of protection. Sometimes it's then relevant to ask, who made the change? Here in the photo it was the Privy Councillor himself who acquired the vineyard house in 1776 and had the wooden trellises for roses and grapevine attached. Since then, they have been preserved, maintained and renewed...


Restoration of a Greening

If an earlier greening of a building can be proven on the basis of old photos (possibly also later than the time of construction) and if the greening was a characteristic feature of the cityscape for a longer period of time, the chances of a restoration are good. 


Here we see on this entry house of a former nobleman's residence in Weimar/Thuringia, vine climbing trellises made of wood. The trellises have remained or been restored; the vine has been replaced by a thicket creeper which is easier to maintain.


Adding a Green Area

Sometimes there are reasons to green even old houses and buildings that have never had green walls, if only to change the "cold beauty" some perfectly restored monument facades have. Some green life may be called for. In such cases, though, the building authorities may throw a spanner (monkey wrench) in the works because:


If it is a monument, usually the view of the building must not be obstructed and the restored look may not be changed or greened by law. It is better to be safe ("where there is no plaintiff, there is no judge") and to seek dialogue with the authority beforehand, because in the worst case, any greenery you add would have to be removed or subsidies paid. However, a delicate bit of greening may be possible- with clematis or annuals. And if a tender green plant quietly creeps up on a protected building and then her tendrils beg for a mostly invisible thin climbing wire, who would deny her this chance? Even the most hardened preservationists wouldn't...