Whether you inherited a big, unsightly concrete wall when you bought your house, or you need to construct a retaining wall beside a driveway and are concerned about how it looks, having some gardening ideas that work with concrete walls is valuable for many homeowners. Concrete walls can be incorporated into any garden plan, from a formal landscape to a cottage garden. Covering the wall and turning it into an architectural feature is key.
Covering up an unattractive concrete wall with vines can be a great way to incorporate the wall into your garden plan inexpensively and without much time commitment. Vines with year-round foliage like English ivy can effectively cover a wall, blending it into the greenery. The down side of these vines is that they create a solid wall of green, and you may want to include flowers, especially if it's a large wall. In that case, try seasonal flowering vines such as morning glory. Combine the seasonal vines with evergreen ones to have coverage year-round and flowers during the growing season. In addition, some vines, such as periwinkle, produce green leaves year-round and flowers in the spring, making for a good combination of both coverage and floral interest.
If the wall is low enough, you can add planters across the top of the wall. This way, you can have a wide variety of annuals adding colour to the concrete wall. Choose low-growing, compact plants such as marigolds and impatiens; larger plants will grow too tall and tip over or get too large for the small pots that will work best running along a wall. Make sure the containers are stable, fitting them into nooks on the top of the wall, and attaching them with hook and eye anchors if possible (if you're newly building the wall, you can add they eye parts of these attachments to the concrete wall before the concrete sets). Bring containers indoors if strong winds are forecast.
Shrubs that tend to spread or climb, with long branches, such as wild or heirloom roses, are a perfect fit, since they can cover a wall in just a few growing seasons. Plant them both in front and behind the wall for maximum coverage. You can also plant any type of shrub provided you plant them densely and they can withstand the amount of shade the wall casts. Evergreens such as arbor vitae and flowering shrubs such as Rose of Sharon and hydrangea provide attractive coverage.