Short of standing in front of the house with a plate of chocolate chip cookies fresh from the oven, there is no more welcoming way to greet visitors than with a bower of flowers. Here are nine ways to use vines and climbers to create curb appeal.
Hide a Problem
If you have an ugly utility pole blocking your view, a fast-growing vine will mask it quickly; a Solanum jasminoides (potato vine) hides the telephone and electrical wires at my house in Mill Valley, California.
Frame a Fence
Above: If you have a fence or a balcony railing that screams Keep Out, you can lower your voice without sacrificing privacy by planting a flowering climber. Wisteria will thrive in full sun and if it has something to latch onto, can reach a length of 100 feet. (See Gardening 101: Wisteria.)
Mix-and-Match on a Wall
To extend bloom time, plant two different varieties of climbing roses against one wall and let them mingle. For more ideas for curb appeal with roses in Brooklyn, see Design Sleuth: 7 Sources for Brooklyn’s Most Beautiful Roses.
Shelter a Stoop
Justine inherited a New Dawn climbing rose when she bought her summer cottage on Cape Cod. It serves the same purpose as a covered porch (and is better looking); it shelters visitors and adds visual interest to the facade.
“I wanted a rose-covered cottage, and I got one,” Justine says. “All I do to achieve the profusion shown here is to fertilize my New Dawn once in the spring, and water only in the worst droughts.”
Dress Up a Facade
Less heavy and aggressive than wisteria, a clematis vine will frame a doorway (or in this case, a garage door) without overwhelming it. (See Gardening 101: Clematis.)
Cloak a Railing
A vigorous vine such as wisteria will grow fast enough to blanket a railing in a single season. (Keep it in check by keeping it away from the house.) The scent is glorious, but wisteria is headstrong. Control growth with pruning. Wisteria Lavender Falls is $29.95 from White Flower Farm.
Fill a Crack
Perfume the Air
Create a Color Story
In a warm climate, plant a red bougainvillea vine next to a door that’s painted a bright, clear color to create a pleasing contrast. A Red Bougainvillea in a one-gallon pot is $29.95 from Amazon.
N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published on March 24, 2018.
For more of our favorite facades with flowering vines and climbers, see:
- Garden Design Guide: Vines & Climbers
- 10 Garden Ideas to Steal from Greece
- The 7 Best Climbing Roses for Your Garden
- Gardening 101: Wisteria
Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various vines and climbers with our Vines & Climbers: A Field Guide.