Cover Up Unsightly Backyard Walls with Vines, Decor, and More
If your garden is backed by a boring or shabby wall, you can easily use the garden itself to cover it up. The wall can be made into an aesthetically pleasing feature instead of an eyesore with these few tips.
Accessorize the Wall
Pots and Plant Accessories
If you simply want to add some flare to a boring wall, consider adding some exciting accessories. Add a flat-sculpted frieze and hanging pots, sconces, lanterns, mirrors, or artwork. Pots with a flat side and hanging clip can be bought at many garden supply stores or ordered online. Inside, you can plant a multitude of flowering annuals and perennials, including vines that will eventually cascade down your wall. Strawberries make an excellent hanging plant and offer ruby-red berries as an extra treat.
Window Boxes and Frames
Horizontal window boxes can be affixed to the top of a wall and planted with flowers or veggies that compliment the garden bed below. Consider hanging picture frames along your wall and painting, or having your children paint, the spaces inside with fanciful artwork in complimentary colors. Or, make your own set of frames to coordinate with your other outdoor decor.
Hanging lights, like strings of lanterns, are both pretty and useful. Also, sconces that hold candles (preferably electric candles for safety reasons) gives secluded ambiance. Candleholders that are easy-to-make include those made from wine bottles or mason jars.
All accessories should be properly fastened to the wall to withstand storms and snows, ideally by drilling bolts into the wall for all external pieces to be hung from.
Add Trellises and Vines
Trellises attached to the face of the wall will offer a pleasant appearance, especially on walls painted in natural colors. They also provide an excellent way to train vines or draping plants up or down the face of the wall. Anchor trellises in place securely, ideally by drilling eyebolts into the wall. Weak trellises may seem strong enough at first, but in a few years your vine will be much heavier and need extra support.
Tip: "When installing a trellis or lattice in front of your wall for garden vines, keep in mind the type of vine you want to grow. Different types of vines cling to surfaces in different ways. If the trellis chosen is not compatible, the vine will not be able to climb at all. For example, the garden clematis climbs by wrapping its short leaf stems around something. If the structure is thicker than 1/2 inch in diameter, it will be too wide for the clematis to cling to. So, using a thick wooden lattice would not support a clematis. Instead, use a series of wires strung horizontally over the fence or a thin wire trellis,” Rachel Klein, our expert gardening adviser, adds.
Beautiful flowering vines for wall coverage include climbing roses, garden clematis, trumpet vine, and honeysuckle. Vines that bear fruit are plentiful and include the perennial hops and grapes as well as plenty of annual vines including watermelon, cucumber, pumpkin, and zucchini. Wisteria makes a gorgeous perennial vine for maximum coverage but will need a huge amount of support as the vine becomes heavy in its maturity.
Tip: "Many gardeners with an unsightly brick wall to deal with are lured in by beautiful English ivy, which can climb almost any surface and cover it in a matter of months. However, beware of this invasive species. Although only comprised of woody vines, ivy grows quickly and is heavier than it looks. Ivy has been known to completely tear down walls and overhangs. More commonly, it simply opens up holes in the wall, which become a front door for ants and termites. If you plan to use ivy to span a wall, first install sturdy metal screening over the wall that is held in place securely with bolts into the wall and ground. The weight of the ivy will be transferred to this screen and will not be destructive to your home,” Klein cautions.