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The latest celebrity property to catch our attention is Bradley Cooper’s fresh-on-the-market L.A. home, but not for the rustic-modern interiors or dreamy 1921 architecture. The main event is the wisteria-covered exterior. The actor bought the bungalow for $1.2 million in 2004 after Wet Hot American Summer launched him into the limelight. Now he’s selling it for $2.4 million, and the starring feature is the rear facade completely enveloped in verdant vines. 

There’s no denying the fairy-tale appeal surrounding the lushness of an ivy-wrapped home, but the upkeep isn’t easy. If you’re not willing to stay on top of the growth, these vines can quickly transform from beauty to beast. Between becoming a breeding ground for moisture (which can then lead to rot), masking necessary maintenance issues, and creating an inviting environment for unwelcome pests (like rats and mosquitoes), climbing plants can take a toll on a facade. But if your heart is set on accomplishing Cooper’s whimsical look, there are ways to make it work. 

Last fall, Leanne Ford shared that she’s striving to cover her house in ivy, all while knowing it’s controversial. “I say let’s risk it!” she said in an Instagram post. First, consider the species. One of Ford’s followers commented that her native North American wisteria (Wisteria frutescen) grows less aggressively and provides more ecological value to wildlife than more conventional counterparts like kudzu. While English Ivy might be the most commonly found ivy, at least in the Northeast, it can do serious damage if not watched carefully—Boston Ivy and Virginia Creeper, on the other hand, generally will not ruin brickwork and are easy to peel back from screens and shutters.

No matter which climber you go with, be prepared to put in some work. Angi provides a few solid tips for making the aesthetic more manageable. For one, you’ll want to avoid letting it climb near gutters, downspouts, and wiring. And to keep things more controlled without compromising on charm, growing your greenery on a trellis or pergola near your home’s exterior rather than attached to it still gives these climbing plants plenty of space to shine.