DIY: Climbing plants for a wood fence

Updated February 21, 2017

Standard landscaping plans call for a lawn, a flower garden, border shrubs and possibly a vegetable garden, but rarely take three-dimensional gardening into account. Many yards and gardens include walls and fences around the border, and many gardeners seek to cover these fences with attractive foliage. If you have a fence or walkway you want to cover, take some straightforward steps toward growing and training a climbing plant yourself, eliminating the expense of professional landscaping.

Find sites along the fence where your climbing plants will get full sun and quick drainage around their roots. The plants will climb toward the light, but should still get sun and warmth at their bases. Make sure that each site has at least 1.5 to 2.1 m (5 to 7 feet) of space for root expansion.

Prepare planting sites 30 cm (1 foot) from the base of the fence to give the plants room to grow. Turn over the top 30 cm (1 foot) of soil and break up dirt clods for planting. Mix 7.5 cm (3 inches) of quick-draining soil and 7.5 cm (3 inches) of organic compost into each site to give your climbing plants good drainage and nutrition.

Plant climbing plants according to your personal preference and the existing look of your yard or garden. Plant climbing roses if you have time for maintenance, or bougainvillea, honeysuckle or trumpet vine for easier flower upkeep. Plant climbing ferns or ivy if you prefer greenery to flowers.

Water each plant with 4.5 litres (1 gallon) of water to settle the soil and establish the plant, then spread 5 to 7.5 cm (2 to 3 inches) of organic mulch over the soil. The mulch will keep the plants from drying out and add nutrition to the soil as it breaks down.

Secure eye hooks or nails to the fence in 30 cm (1 foot) steps, and use soft cord ties to tie the vines of the plant to the fence as it grows. Climbing plants like ivy will learn to climb on their own, while tumbling plants like roses will always require these supports and guidance to grow up the fence.

Things You'll Need

  • Quick-draining soil
  • Organic compost
  • Shovel
  • Mulch
  • Eye hooks
  • Cord ties
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