Hedera helix takes it common name, Duckfoot ivy, from the shape of its charming leaves. Hardy in zones 5 to 9, it's a nice spiller, or trailing plant, for containers, and spreads easily in sunny or shady landscapes. If your winter is very cold, dig some of this ivy to overwinter indoors; it's adaptable as a houseplant.
Shrubs and trees planted too close to your house can trap moisture, damage siding when the wind blows, and fill gutters with debris. “I want to be able to walk behind shrubs — they need to be at least three feet from the house and from air conditioning units because they block airflow,” says Steve Gladstone, owner of Stonehollow Fine Home Inspection in Stamford, Conn. “With trees, you don’t want them rubbing against the house at all. If the sun can’t dry your house, you’ll have to repaint more often because mold and pollen will build up.” Prune regularly to keep your house envelope clear.
Climbing vines like ivy, although beautiful, can splinter and rot wood siding and even weaken the mortar between bricks. Prune any existing ivy so that it stays away from windows, gutters and trim. If your heart is set on adding a climbing vine, choose a twining vine that wraps around a trellis or other nearby structure rather than a vine that climbs by tendrils or rootlets that cling to the surface of your house.
When landscape architect Katharine Webster first saw the front garden at the home that would become the San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2015, she felt something was missing in parterre garden constructed of boxwoods and backed by an ivy-colored wall. Webster introduced UPBEAT, an aluminum sculpture by Clement Meadmore, to complement the space.
When she first visited the site of the San Francisco Decorator Showcase 2015, landscape architect Katharine Webster was greeted by an existing wall covered by ivy and framed with boxwoods at the front of the house. Webster added additional drought-tolerant plants to add more visual interest to the space.
This glass container is filled with “unearthed” ivy, which means the dirt has been removed with the roots exposed, says Joyce Mason-Monheim, floral director for Accent Decor. "Ivy and many other plants will last for a lengthy time without soil and survive with just a water source," says Mason-Monheim, a member of the American Institute of Floral Designers. The ivy is shown with a purple Phalaenopsis orchid bloom for color and detail.
Ivy climbs the wood paneled enclosure on this contemporary patio. Simple outdoor chairs and a metal table create a casual dining spot with a grill nearby, while cushioned armchairs offer a place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.