Garden Structure for Climbing Plants

Updated November 21, 2016

Climbing plants are appealing to gardeners for several reasons: some are fast growing and quickly cover an unsightly fence or bare patch of ground, they add vertical interest to a garden plan and can be included in the garden as focal points and they can easily be used to create private spaces in an exposed yard or garden. Not all climbing plants are suitable for just any structure. Climbing plants and vines climb differently and need different structures and supports to suit their climbing needs.

Types of Climbers

There are different types of climbing plants and each has a different requirement for support. The wrong support could result in a groundcover instead of a screen if the plant is capable of either. There are twining plants, which have twining leaves or stems. Twining leaves need to twine around wires, string, twigs or leaves, while stems are capable of twining around wider things like poles, but can also twine around almost whatever they touch. Scramblers require additional support because they can't climb on their own. Climbing roses, for instance, need to be tied and supported. Plants with adhesive pads, such as Boston ivy, climb on pretty much anything because they have clinging stem roots. Tendril climbers need horizontal supports no more than ΒΌ inch in diameter to climb.

Use of Climbers

Consider what you want your climbing plant to accomplish before purchase. Match the plant to the structure. If you wish to hide an unsightly fence, you'll know which plant to select for that purpose. If you wish to make that plant the focal point of the garden, choose something smaller designed to show off a plant in just that way.


There many types of supports to suit your climbers' needs. In addition to existing fences and walls, consider a trellis or pergola. Obelisks, tripods and tepees are designed for use as focal points in the garden. A plastic trellis netting allows plants to climb even when the structure itself doesn't permit it.

Weight Considerations

A mature climbing plant can weight anywhere from 22.7 to 45.4 Kilogram by the end of summer. Twining-stem climbers can twist very tightly and are capable of toppling an inappropriate structure.

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About the Author

Based in Fort Collins, Colo., Dannah Swift has been writing since 2009. She writes about green living, careers and the home garden. Her writing has appeared on various websites. She holds a Master of Arts in English literature from the University of New Hampshire and is currently pursuing a certificate in paralegal studies.