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Monument Protection and Greening

Monument protection and facade greening can get along! Many houses from earlier style eras are "monument protected" historical sites. Either they always had a green facade or one will be restored according to the old model (using a photo or drawing). A first-time greening on a historical building/site can sometimes be problematic. The three 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 (plants and flowers) is also under protection. This is usually the case when the planting was started and already there at the original construction phase. But, subsequently added greenery 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...

Roses, Goethe's garden house in Weimar / Thuringia, historical photography before 1929

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 revival/restoration are good. 


Here we see on this vestibule of a former nobleman's residence in Weimar/Thuringia, vine trellises of wood (cladding the gable). The trellises remained or were newly built, but the vine has been replaced by a thicket creeper which is easier to maintain.

Weimar / Thuringia, thicket creeper
Thicket creeper

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. A return back to a warm green life may be called for. In such cases, the authority over the building 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... the restored look may not be changed or greened by law. It's 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, the greenery 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...

Laucha / Unstrut / Saxony-Anhalt: This clematis was bred and planted centuries after the construction of the house. Nevertheless, it seems as if it had always been there ....
Monument protection and clematis