Easy climbing plant ideas – elevate planting with a vertical garden

Take your garden to a higher dimension by filling your walls with foliage and colour
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  • We all want to make the most of our gardens and that means covering the landscape from top to bottom with beautiful colour and foliage. Elevating your planting with easy climbing plant ideas adds a whole new element to your garden, with height that can create an intimate and romantic atmosphere without closing in on the space.

    Easy climbing plants can help disguise less attractive spots and are also ideal for any garden idea, especially small spaces because they grow up and create a sense of space.

    Easy climbing plant ideas

    ‘When you are planting your garden don’t forget the vertical spaces. Walls, fences, gates and garden shade ideas like pergolas all offer planting possibilities’ says garden designer Fiona Lamb. ‘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.’

    ‘Whatever your soil conditions or aspect you can find a climber to thrive, many also offering invaluable habitats to nesting birds and insects’ explains Fiona. With that, take a look at our favoured climber ideas to transform your garden.

    1. Establish a living wall with climbers

    garden living wall with climbing plants

    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.

    2. Create a foliage feature wall

    Garden patio with wall of 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.

    3. Add colour and fragrance with rambling roses

    Climbing 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.

    4. Welcome colour to shaded spots

    house exterior with climbing plant

    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 from Fiona Lamb Designs.

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

    5. Enjoy the sweet scent of Jasmine

    white summer jasmine climbing plant idea

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Amateur Gardening

    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 it’s charm,’ Fiona explains, adding: ‘It can be planted in sun or partial shade and in most soils so is a fantastic option for almost every garden.’

    5. Welcome country style with wisteria

    Wisteria climbing on brick wall

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Amateur Gardening

    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 Bonnett from GardeningExpress.co.uk. ‘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.

    6. Encourage climbing plants around tree trunks

    climbing rose around trunk of an olive tree climbing plant idea

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Mark Bolton

    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’ Fiona suggests.

    ‘Have a look a Rosa Claire Austin for a stunning creamy coloured climber or Clematis ‘Étoile Violette’ for an injection of later summer colour.’

    7. Grow hearty Ivy for maximum coverage

    wildlife garden ideas

    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.

    8. Attract wildlife with Honeysuckle

    Japanese Honeysuckle climbing plant idea

    Image credit: Future PLC/ Amateur Gardening

    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.

    9. Captivate with trailing Clematis

    purple clematis climbing plant idea

    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 climbing plant 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. ‘This in the long term potentially cause structural problems.’

    Which is your favourite?

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