16 easy climbing plant ideas to elevate your planting

Take your garden to a higher dimension by filling your walls with foliage and colour

It's always fun finding new ways to get planting and adding colour and foliage to your garden. Easy climbing plant ideas allow you to cover even more areas and surfaces with the prettiest leaves and blooms around.

Climbers work with just about all garden landscaping ideas, both disguising less attractive areas and creating an intimate and romantic atmosphere. Plus, they're a dream in smaller spaces since they don't impact on your square footage.

'Climbing plants are a great way to add another element to your garden ideas,' says Chris Bonnett, founder of Gardening Express (opens in new tab). 'They have a magical charm and are perfect if you’re looking for some privacy.'

Easy climbing plant ideas

'When you are planting your garden don’t forget the vertical spaces,' advises garden designer Fiona Lamb (opens in new tab). 'Walls, fences, gates and garden shade ideas like pergolas all offer planting possibilities.'

'Climbers can hide an ugly outbuilding or old fence, they can invite you through an arch or gate or add scent, colour and texture to a sitting area.'

1. Contrast blooms with a colourful trellis

garden with potted plants and wooden background

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jamie Mason)

'Climbers don’t all just grow vertically themselves,' points out Chris from Gardening Express. 'So you’ll need to provide the plants with some support as they begin growing to help them get some grip. Using trellis is probably the most popular option. These can be put on a wall or fence and come in a lot of different sizes, so you’ll definitely be able to find one that fits a budget.

'You can even install trellis to appear as if it is free-standing,' continues Chris. 'This allows you to section off parts of your garden and provide an illusion that it’s a little bigger than it may initially appear.'

Make your trellis work harder by integrating it into the look of your climber. Paint the structure in a bright colour, contrasting with the blooms on display. For a more subtle approach, choose a tonal shade to the flowers.

2. Grow fragrant sweetpeas

garden with white flowering plant

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Sweet peas are a lovely addition to climbing plant ideas. The beautifully fragranced flower adds another dimension to your garden, and they'll happily grow to around 2m high as long as they're supported.

Plant a combination of colours of sweetpeas. Since cutting the blooms encourages more growth, you'll be readily provided with a variety of colourful flowers for your vases.

3. Decorate the front of your home

garden with climbers and stone walls

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

Just as climbing plant ideas are great for disguising the less exciting parts of a garden, so they add interest and texture to the exterior of buildings and front garden ideas. Grow your climbers over the front of your home to ensure a colourful and fragranced welcome.

Ensure you regularly cut back so as not to block daylight from filtering through your windows or blocking any doors.

4. Train over an arch

garden with potted plants on ladder shelf

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

'An arch is an instant focal point in your garden if you’re looking for one,' says Chris from Gardening Express. 'And they provide great structure for your plants to grow and vine through. Pergolas are another good way to section off different parts of your garden but do require more space.

A little guidance will encourage your climbers to grow over these structures to create easy garden ideas.

5. Use as a natural background

garden with potted plants and wooden fence

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Joanna Henderson)

If you've worked hard and cultivating your outdoor space with pots and beds, it can be a bit jarring to have plain wooden garden fence ideas behind it all. Cover yours with evergreen climbing plant ideas to ensure a lush, green backdrop to the rest of your garden.

6. Use to create cohesion

garden with patio umbrella set and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Alicia Taylor)

Use climbers to visually link different zones of the garden. Planting climbers on walls connected to separate zones will help create cohesion and a more set scheme.

You don't even have to use the same varieties across the spaces - the look of the vertical planting is enough to connect them. Try using fragranced climbers in your relaxing/reading areas, and keep those which attract the most insect life away from dining areas.

7. Establish a living wall with climbers

garden with living wall table and chair

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Create a captivating living wall by covering fences with climbing plants, of all varieties to add interest. This alternative approach to creating a living wall, using climbers rather than securing vertical planters to bed in pot plants, means an easier approach to covering fences and boundary walls.

Finish with a flower bed of grasses to spill onto the patio, to add to the freeform style of planting.

8. Create a foliage feature wall

garden with brick wall and potted plants

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Train a self-clinging plant, such as a climbing rose or a hardy Clematis, to grow up a trellis attached to an exterior brick wall to create a feature wall of sorts.

This garden trellis idea offers a far more dense coverage than trying to fill the space with potted plants alone.

9. Add colour and fragrance with rambling roses

garden with red roses

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Colin Poole)

Roses are probably the most romantic of all the climbing plants, with a beautiful display of flowers that will stay in bloom for months at a time. Thanks to the many different varieties available you can introduce a number of colours, from lemon yellow and pastel pink to creamy white – there's a shade to suit all garden landscape ideas.

As well as adding vibrant colour the right rose will fill your garden with fragrance too. Climbing roses grown over a pergola will create a surround of scent that will heighten the scenes every time you pass through.

10. Welcome colour to shaded spots

outdoor area with bench table and white walls

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you're negotiating north-facing garden ideas, consider a climbing plant that will thrive in shady conditions. 'Tolerating a more shady spot, Parthenocisus henryana will give you fabulous, vibrant autumn colour ' advises Fiona Lamb.

'And in the most shady corners the climbing hydrangea Hydrangea anomala subsp. Petiolaris once it gets going will romp away happily.'

11. Enjoy the sweet scent of Jasmine

garden with white jasmine

(Image credit: Future PLC)

This pretty, dainty climber produces an abundance of sweet-scented white flowers from mid summer to autumn.

'Evergreen stalwarts such as Trachelospermum jasminoides give you a dark green blanket of cover all year round and pretty white, sweetly scented flowers in summer add to its charm,' Fiona Lamb explains. 'It can be planted in sun or partial shade and in most soils so is a fantastic option for almost every garden.'

12. Welcome country style with wisteria

garden with purple flowers on brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC)

This is a vigorous climber known for its beautiful cascades of perfumed purple flowers. The stems are twisted and wooded so will need to be supported by nails.

'Wisteria is a hardy and fast-growing climber, often grown in spur-pruned tiers on a wall' explains Chris from Gardening Express. 'Its best known for its beautiful cascades of perfumed flowers and twisted stems. They love the sun and flower in spring, but it can also become very large – as high as 66 feet!'. Be sure to cut it back.

Wisteria is a characterful plant highly associated with country homes and cottage garden ideas, with the beautiful foliage cascading down many country cottages.

13. Encourage climbing plants around tree trunks

garden with climbing plants around tree trunks

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Mark Bolton)

One fun way to use easy climbing plant ideas is by training them around other plants. Climbing plants of all varieties can offer a beautiful blanket of coverage of colour to conceal unattractive tree trunks.

'If you're looking for something more showy climbing roses or Clematis come in a myriad of beautiful colours and sizes, many long or repeat flowering,' says Fiona Lamb. 'Have a look a Rosa Claire Austin for a stunning creamy coloured climber or Clematis 'Étoile Violette' for an injection of later summer colour.'

14. Grow hearty Ivy for maximum coverage

garden area with potted plants and wooden bench

(Image credit: Future PLC/Mark Bolton)

This common climbing plant can seem rather dark and dated, but there are many varieties in golden and lime green tones that can really freshen up a space. Plus the bonus with ivy is that there are very few places it will not grow. Be sure to keep it well trained by cutting back regularly or it can get out of hand and regularly remove older leaves to let young healthy ones through.

Number one rule, do not let ivy grow under roof tiles or into gutters – because this can prove problematic.

15. Attract wildlife with honeysuckle

garden with honeysuckle flower

(Image credit: Future PLC)

This sweet-scented woodland favourite will grow fast and attract lots of wildlife – ideal as wildlife garden ideas become more prominent in the modern garden.

Honeysuckle can easily be combined with other climbers such as roses or clematis. There are different colours available from white to dark orange. They prefer their roots to be in a cool, damp shade.

16. Captivate with trailing clematis

garden with purple flower plant

(Image credit: Future PLC)

These beautiful plants have become very popular, as their beautiful bell flowers come in almost every colour. They are easy to grow and take up little space. This favoured easy climbing plant ideas is perfect for giving country gardens that intimate, picturesque look.

'It is important to make sure climbers aren’t left to grow under roof tiles or into gutters, as this can block drains and gutters' warns Chris from Gardening Express. 'This in the long term potentially cause structural problems.'

What's the easiest climbing plant to grow?

Luckily, a lot of popular climbing plant ideas are easy to get going so long as they're cared for and supported.

'Top climbing plants, that are very easy to grow include clematis, honeysuckle (Lonicera), rose, wisteria and even grape vines,' advises Chris from Gardening Express. 'All offer different forms, shapes, colours and textures, so there is plenty of choice.'

What climbing plant grows fastest?

Climbers don't like to hang around! Some of the easiest climbing plant ideas are also the quickest to grow. These include clematis, sweetpea, Rambling Roses and Virginia Creeper.

Tamara was Ideal Home's Digital Editor before joining the Woman & Home team in 2022. She has spent the last 15 years working with the style teams at Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, both now at Future PLC. It’s with these award wining interiors teams that she's honed her skills and passion for shopping, styling and writing. Tamara is always ahead of the curve when it comes to interiors trends – and is great at seeking out designer dupes on the high street.