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Partial Greening - Partial House Greening

Most facade-greenings fall under the category of 'partial greening.' This means, of course, that only certain parts of the wall are greened with climbing plants (thus a counter-design to full greening), which leads to an intriguing relationship between greened and ungreened areas. Plants which require climbing supports are primarily used... in this way, one can guide the plants, rather than having them 'colonise' entire walls, which vigorous ones will tend to do. In some cases, self-climbing plants-- when maintained properly with regular pruning-- are also a possibility. To support the architectural beauty of a building, it is often preferable to cover only a few square meters of the facade with climbing plants, so that the shapes of the building are highlighted. Climbing roses, vines, clematis, and winter jasmine will generally not 'leave' the area they have been assigned to. Read on for suggestions and examples.

Greened facades
Greened facades

Vertical and Horizontal Fields

To emphasise the height or width of a building, vertically or horizontally oriented green 'bands' of any width can be made. That is, the trellis systems can be arranged into vertical or horizontal fields. Climbing plants with a vertical orientation, i.e., annuals and twiners, are particularly suitable. For horizontal greening, grapevine and any plant that lets itself be easily formed (trained and shaped) are a good fit.

Square Fields

Generally speaking, a large greening calls for a square or rectangular support. Our wire rope trellis systems offer a wide variety of options for greening larger wall spaces, usually having four or more ropes / rods / laths and different mesh sizes to suit the growth habit of the plant your've chosen. In our section on climbing plants you'll find a guide and be able to orientate yourself there even if you are using a plant support that is not exactly identical.

Single Strands

For facades with many windows or other openings, narrow linear greenery between the openings works well ~ a combination of horizontal and vertical strands of green. Usually only one or two wire ropes are used. The desired thickness/dimensions of the plant may then be created and maintained by regular pruning.

How High?

We highly recommend keeping a facade greening -- especially in the private sector -- lower than 5 metres. That is about as high as a ladder will get you to be able to care and prune the plants. High greening does come with risks. If the entire greening is meant to reach 5 m, then the support system needs to be correspondingly lower than 5 m (depending on the climbing plant; see below).

Climbing Supports: Plan Narrow!

Remember that a plant will protrude well beyond the edges of its support trellis! That means, surfaces to be greened should first be considered as 'gross' fields and the climbing support planned smaller / narrower than the area you want to see in green. The visual effect will be better if there is a gap on all sides between the greenery and the doors/windows, etc.. Plan your green area such that there is still a distance of 25-40 cm between the green and the edges (including doors/windows) of the building. Again, trellis systems are then necessarily located within these green areas as 'net' fields, i.e. narrower and smaller than the 'gross' fields. In systems with several parallel wire ropes, placing them relatively close to each other creates a more attractive trellising.


But how big should the difference be between the gross field (greenery) and the net field (the climbing aid)? Some plants will easily cover their climbing system in summer with luxirious growth. Others follow the lines of the climbing aid as graceful climbers and form a delicate weave with it. The latter include clematis hybrids, annuals, and some less vigorous climbing roses; they are easy to control and will not exceed much of their support. Here the difference between the gross and net fields is less than for vigorously growing plants that grow far outside the given net framework of the trellis. Some rather vigorous climbers, where this is specifically indicated, may even need up to 2 m distance between the climbing aid and the eaves, downpipes, etc., their branches and shoots reaching ambitiously so far! In most cases, the ideal dimensions of the green fields are established in summer by pruning and, if necessary, are re-defined several times.

Choosing Plants

Under the individual climbing plants on our website, you will find a chart at the end of each page showing you which trellis systems are suitable and which are not. Grapevines, for example, are fairly universal and can be trained to fit nearly any form, whereas ivy and wild vines (i.e. Boston ivy) are not suited to partial greening. See our section on potential damage for additional helpful tips and things to look out for.

Different possibilities, partial house greening
House greening - Ideas!
Reliable greening method with linearly guided fruitless grapevine
Time-tested greening method with wild vine
Grapevine about 3.5 m high. A tip for designing: A wall provides more contrast when the greened elements are offset with the architecturally- relevant lines-- in this case, the lintel of the garage doors.
House greening with grapevine
For architectural reasons, FassadenGrün recommends keeping climbing fields narrow. Almost every climbing plant (here, Clematis montana) enlarges the respective field by simply outgrowing the dimensions of the cable system.
Metal climbing support
Small house greening with clematis
House greening with clematis

Photo Gallery

More examples of partial greenings; click on photos to enlarge.

Greened facades in Naumburg / Sachsen-Anhalt
Small espalier with grapevine
Mandevilla-pyramid on a shopping center
Annual morning-glory on vertical wire ropes
Vertical greening with grapevines
T-formations on houses are possible: here with grapevines and annual morning glory
Wisteria on wire rope strands
A narrow, horizontal greening with vines
Horizontal greening, vine
Roses are well suited for entryways or for flanking doors. They are often set on systems 4050, 4060, or 4010.
Square greening field: vine on wire rope system 5040
Three-lobed Boston Ivy (self-climbing plant)
Large-scale house greening with wisteria~ almost a full greening