ISSUE 76  |  American Beauty

Design Sleuth: A Very Green Garage

June 14, 2013 10:00 AM

BY Erin Boyle

When it comes to improvement projects, a first step for many renovators is to try to remove invasive vines, but for Act Romegialli Architects in Italy, the goal was just the opposite.

For the renovation of a dilapidated garage in the Rhaetian Alps, the hope was to cover the structure with as much green as possible. Aptly called Green Box, the project, which was completed in 2010, entailed covering an entire galvanized steel structure with deciduous flowering vines. Here’s how to get the look:

Photographs by Marcello Mariana unless otherwise noted.

Above: As a base layer, the team added honeysuckle and mile-a-minute vine to the steel garage.

Above: A one-gallon pot of Peaches And Cream Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) is available for $28.95 from White Flower Farm (L).

A 3-liter pot of Mile-a-Minute Vine or Russian vine (Polygonum baldschuanicum) is available at Crocus for £12.99 (R). A caveat: while mile-a-minute vine received the presitigious Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horitcultural Society, in the United States it’s considered invasive.


Above: Photograph by Blue Ridge Kitties.

For a safer approach, consider a non-invasive flowering vine like the Red Trumpet Honeysuckle (Caprifolium sempervirens). A one-gallon pot is available at Gardener Direct for $19.95. 

Above: For a second layer of texture, the team planted common hops (Humules lupulus) and Golden Tiara, or Russian Virgin’s Bower (Clematis tangutica).

Above: Photograph by Dwight Sipler.

Sweet Autumn Clematis (Clematis paniculata) is a subtle white variety available for purchase online. A 1-quart pot is available at White Flower Farm for $19.95.

For more photos of the Green Box project, see Act Romegialli Architects.

For more of our favorite unruly vines, see Wistera: A Dangerous Beauty. For some better behaved vines, see Alternatives to Ivy.