A traditional evergreen vine, Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata) is famous for clinging to the sides of buildings, especially in the Northeast. There, it decorates buildings on venerated college campuses known collectively as Ivy League schools. Boston ivy doesn’t need a support to climb. It attaches to surfaces using special holdfasts, sort of a botanical glue. Removing this vine from buildings often results in damage to surfaces. Boston ivy grows 30 to 50 feet tall by up to 10 feet wide. Hardy in Zones 4-9. Why we love it: The fall color is spectacular, including shades of red, wine, purple and burgundy. Please note that Boston ivy is considered invasive in some areas.
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.
In the summer, a wall of Boston Ivy climbs the side of the garage, making for an eye-catching visual that the owners can enjoy right in their backyard. While structural architecture is constant, landscape features such as this have the ability to grow and adapt over the years.
The waterfall is a focal point in this modern, urban garden. The designer wanted to show the passage of seasons and wanted the existing concrete wall, which seems like a massive bunker, to be part of nature. There are multiple vines, including English ivy and Chinese and American wisteria, on either side of the waterfall.
This entryway pergola creates a sense of anticipation as guests approach the front door: the portal feels like a jewel in the distance. To encourage the growth of vines atop the pergola structure. metal beams and string have been put in place to serve as a framework. Nature feels integrated into this Mediterranean-style home.
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.
Polished concrete planters add refinement to the urban garden, which already had a massive concrete wall. The designer used Chinese and American wisteria, English ivy and climbing hydrangeas in the outdoor space.
A cobblestone courtyard, trimmed hedges and planters create the formal entrance that this Federal-style home deserves. In the summer, ivy climbs the brick exterior and completes the picture-perfect look.
With a weathered stone water fountain and ivy climbing the wall, this corner of the garden almost seems like a site from an Indiana Jones movie. Those brave enough to explore the 4-acre lot on warm days will reap the reward of this refreshing space.