This post is difficult for me to write because I actually like ivy. I think ivy ground cover can be beautiful, and on a trellis or arch, ivy has a classic, stately look. I am a sucker for those dark, glossy, emerald green leaves, especially with complimentary materials and landscaping (like the brick in the photo above). But beware, folks, there is a dark side to ivy. If you already have it or intend to plant ivy, proceed with caution; this stuff is destructive and invasive.
As with most home design choices, I have to weigh my design desires against what is good for resale (says the girl with the pink kitchen cabinets). For resale, ivy is bad. Buyers are scared of ivy, and they hate it when it creeps onto the house structure. They think it will be difficult to maintain or remove, and it just feels like a problem to them; buyers don’t want to buy a problem. If you are going to plant ivy – have a plan and be ready to maintain it or consult with a landscaping expert.
Five reasons to avoid english ivy on your house:
- Ivy scares away home buyers.
- It is invasive and difficult to control, possibly invading unintended areas and choking out other plants if left unattended.
- It can creep onto and under things like shutters and trim, windows, painted wood, mortar and siding, potentially causing damage, leaks and rot.
- It can act as a ladder for bugs, spiders, and termites to enter your house.
- It is difficult to remove. Pulling it out by hand is labor intensive and potentially dangerous if it has climbed high, but it is an effective and quick removal technique. Chemical herbicides take much longer.