The exteriors of our homes tend to be sheathed in brick, stucco, wood or stone. While that, in itself, can be beautiful, inviting nature to share in our exterior design can soften a hard appearance. Covering some or all of the exterior with an ivy or vine can make our home feel at one with nature and its surroundings.

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If we have a masonry wall, we should first inspect it to make sure there are no loose bricks or unstable or missing grout. If there is any weakness, the ivy tendrils will find a way to root in the cracks and exacerbate the damage. If the bricks and grout are strong, the wall should be safe from most damage. The tendrils are difficult to remove, so keep the plants contained to areas we wish to be permanently covered. These tendrils can destroy paint and bore into surfaces. Try a non-rooting vine like a bougainvillea, jasmine or climbing rose if we are uncertain.

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In every case it is important to keep ivy or vines away from wood window frames, wood trim and gutters. Moisture can build up between the plants and house surface and rot the wood over time and the plant’s weight can rip off gutters. Plants will attract insects and mice but shouldn’t be a big problem if properly trimmed.

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With a little pre-planning and maintenance, an ivy or vine covered wall can make our home feel at one with nature and remind us every day that this beautiful addition can soften not just a surface, but also our heart.

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