One glance through a gardening magazine, and we are showered with images of pristine gardens, beautifully appointed with hundreds of varieties of plants, trees, and shrubs. While many of us aspire to have yards as beautiful as those in a magazine, few of us have the time or resources to achieve such perfection. However, with a little work and some good planning, even those of us with the blackest of thumbs will feel good about our efforts in the garden.
When reviewing your outdoor space, try to identify those areas that you're not very happy with. What do you want to change about them? Do you need some additional flowers or other plants? Perhaps the space doesn't feel balanced? Climbing plants may be just the answer you are looking for to solve a variety of common problems in outdoor areas.
Many plants, both annual and perennial, fall into the category of climbing plants. The more common climbers are clematis, morning glory, ivy, and honeysuckle. However, many plants that spread along the ground like creeping phlox and periwinkle can provide coverage for unsightly spaces in your outdoor area, as well.
Climbing plants can be used to solve a myriad of problems in your outdoor spaces. For example, do you have something unsightly that you need to cover, such as a garage wall, tree stump, or electrical meter? Use climbing plants to cover it up! They not only change the view you are seeing, but they can also provide color and fragrance to an area. Consider putting up a trellis on the side of your shed to soften it up with a burst of color and fragrance. Climbers can also provide coverage of retaining walls and fences with little effort.
While climbing plants can be trained to climb a trellis or wall, they can also be planted in a pot and allowed to cascade downward, or used as a groundcover. If you have some areas of the garden where bare soil is showing, consider using a vine or other groundcover plant to hide those bare spots.
Lack of privacy is another major issue that homeowners commonly cite when asked why they dislike their yards or gardens. Perhaps you have neighbors that are a little too close? A trellis, arbor, or pergolas is a great solution to this problem. Climbing plants will easily climb and cover these structures, providing privacy and beauty to your yard. Pergolas and arbors can also be used over pathways or gates, or to mark a transition from front yard or side yard into a backyard. In all of these places, consider planting a climbing vine at the base of the structure. Within a few months, you'll have a stunning focal point for your yard.
Climbing plants are usually pretty self-sufficient and require little care to grow. Of course, there are the basic needs like sun and water. You might also want to be aware of the soil type or soil pH level that the plant requires, though with climbers this is usually a less important consideration. Obviously, the most important thing to consider when planting a climber is providing some support structure upon which it can grow. When allowing climbers to grow near buildings, it's important to keep a close eye on the plant so it doesn't get out of control. Some very vigorous climbers can damage homes, garages, or barns when allowed to grow unchecked.
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