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9 Ways to Create Curb Appeal with Flowering Vines and Climbers

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9 Ways to Create Curb Appeal with Flowering Vines and Climbers

May 15, 2019

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

Photograph by Matthew Williams.
Above: Photograph by Matthew Williams.

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

Photograph by Bart Kiggen.
Above: Photograph by Bart Kiggen.

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

A rambler and a climber mingle in Brooklyn Heights. Photograph by Erin Boyle.
Above: A rambler and a climber mingle in Brooklyn Heights. Photograph by Erin Boyle.

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

Photograph by Justine Hand. For more, see  Easy Perennials for the Seaside Garden.
Above: Photograph by Justine Hand. For more, see 10 Easy Perennials for the Seaside Garden.

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.”

New Dawn also made Janet&#8
Above: New Dawn also made Janet’s list of 7 Best Climbing Roses because it’s a profuse bloomer that puts on a big show. Another pest-resistant rose that loves bad soil and requires almost no water is the rambler Dorothy Perkins (ramblers are distinguished from climbing roses by the fact that most aren’t repeat bloomers). Dorothy Perkins, popular in the UK, reaches a height of 12 feet and has sprays of pink flowers; £18.00 from David Austin UK.

Dress Up a Facade

Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.
Above: Photograph by Michelle Slatalla.

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

Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista. For more of this Brooklyn garden, see The Magicians: An English Professor and a Novelist Conjure a Garden.
Above: Photograph by Nicole Franzen for Gardenista. For more of this Brooklyn garden, see The Magicians: An English Professor and a Novelist Conjure a Garden.

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

A bleeding heart vine pokes out between two walls—and unites them visually—in Charleston, South Carolina, during A Walk in the Neighborhood in Charleston. Photograph by Olivia Rae James for Gardenista. (see Cottage Garden Flowers: Bleeding Hearts and Dutchman&#8
Above: A bleeding heart vine pokes out between two walls—and unites them visually—in Charleston, South Carolina, during A Walk in the Neighborhood in Charleston. Photograph by Olivia Rae James for Gardenista. (see Cottage Garden Flowers: Bleeding Hearts and Dutchman’s & Breeches.)

Perfume the Air

Antebellum mansions and iron fences wear fragrant jasmine in Charleston, South Carolina, during A Walk in the Neighborhood. Photograph by Olivia Rae James for Gardenista. (See Gardening loading=
Above: Antebellum mansions and iron fences wear fragrant jasmine in Charleston, South Carolina, during A Walk in the Neighborhood. Photograph by Olivia Rae James for Gardenista. (See Gardening 101: Jasmine for care information.)

Create a Color Story

Photograph by Marla Aufmuth for Gardenista. (See Gardening loading=
Above: Photograph by Marla Aufmuth for Gardenista. (See Gardening 101: Bougainvillea for care info.)

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:

Finally, get more ideas on how to plant, grow, and care for various vines and climbers with our Vines & Climbers: A Field Guide.

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