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Community and Q&A

Living Wall/Facade on Exterior Wall

Justin Goette | Posted in Energy Efficiency and Durability on

Hey everyone! New here!

Wanted to see what advice I could get as far as planting a green wall on a large sun exposed exterior wall on our new home purchase. Thinking about confederate jasmine. House is located in South Carolina.

Can I get any pointers/pros/cons/advice?

Thanks!

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Replies

  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Justin,
    What kind of siding does the building have?

  2. Justin Goette | | #2

    It's brick.

  3. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #3

    Justin,
    The biggest risk to covering your brick wall with green plants -- whether you cover the wall with traditional ivy or with a new-fangled system using a trellis or hanging baskets -- is that the added moisture, reduced air circulation, and reduced solar drying will increase the moisture level in your wall and lead to major rot or mold.

    So, here my first piece of advice: be careful and don't do anything rash.

    If this were my house, I would leave a generous air space between the wall of your home and any trellis you choose to construct. Four feet would be good.

    On second thought, if this were my house, I wouldn't build a living wall.

  4. Scorched Earth, 3B | | #4

    Star jasmine probably won't grab your brick, and it grows as a vine, so in addition to the trellis with air space, needless to say you'll want to also ensure that it drains away from your foundation where you water it. It's not super thirsty--just make sure your planters neither get drowned nor fried. But you could grow it up some form easily enough: wire, cedar lattice, whatever. (This differs from what I'd consider a living wall, a term I suppose I'd use to refer to some sort of pocket planters running up the wall.)

  5. Justin Goette | | #5

    Oh wow. I had always read that living walls were good for reducing energy costs. Is there any truth to that? Would you ever recommend them?

  6. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #6

    Justin,
    In a hot climate, I imagine that a living wall would reduce cooling costs slightly. But so does wall insulation, which every wall should have anyway.

    Living walls also increase water usage and increase the risk that the wall will receive physical damage or moisture damage. On balance, I would leave the plants in the garden rather than trying to train them to climb your wall.

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