Vertical gardening makes a great contrast to horizontal lawns and flower beds, plus it increases your growing space, can create garden dividers and hide away those things we’d perhaps rather not see!
And not only does vertical gardening take up little space, it offers the opportunity for plant combinations to extend colour, scent and interest throughout the year, so let’s take a closer look…
Garden structures & dividers
It doesn’t matter whether it’s the fences and walls which form part of the boundary, the house or garage, other garden buildings such as sheds and summer-houses, or free-standing structures such as arbors and pergolas – they all offer great opportunities for vertical gardening.
Arches make good ‘entrance’ points between different sections of the garden, trellis is often used to add height to fences or divide garden spaces, and pillars and obelisks make useful free-standing structures in borders – and simply by adding some beautiful climbers, you can make them fragrant, colourful and interesting too.
Vertical gardening also offers a great solution to disguise a variety of situations…
- Turn a chain-link fence into a flowering hedge by covering it with evergreen climbers
- Screen off unwanted views with a clematis fence
- Hide a dilapidated building by growing ivy over it
Versatile climbing plants make the most natural, colourful and fragrant screening solution!
Increasing growing space
With their upward-growing nature, it’s easy to appreciate that climbing plants take up comparatively little planting space, which allows them to be planted together to create the most exciting combinations. We’ve put together our top tips for vertical plant selection.
- Choose to give maximum interest year-round – by selecting climbers which flower at different times or which overlap – roses and clematis are a classic combination. Remember to consider leaf colour, flower colour, scent and whether the plant is evergreen for maximum impact.
- Add interest to existing plants such as sturdy trees and shrubs which offer a great living support framework, and also extend interest too – for example planting a passionflower at the base of a crab apple.
- Choose plants which work well for the particular situations – the ‘right plant, right place’ rule applies to vertical gardening too, as an example a variegated ivy and a clematis Montana would illuminate a north-facing wall, fence or side of a building.
- Consider how they grow – climbers climb by using twisting stems or clinging tendrils, so be sure to provide adequate support and ties for the plants chosen.
Most climbers require little maintenance (which is always good news!) and those which do are simple once you know how – so why not check out our guides to summer-pruning wisteria and pruning and shaping clematis.