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Vertical planting for small front garden

Hello, could anyone advise me on my front garden design please? It currently has zero kerb appeal! I need to completely cover up an ugly pebbledash wall on the front of our new house. It’s a small Victorian terrace which is north-east facing, 5m high x 3.8m wide (one window on each floor, plus front door) The tiny garden is about 1m deep and houses 2 Wheely bins, so I think climbers are probably the best option, but how many can I have, and where/how should I plant them? I need fast coverage, but I’ve been warned against Virginia creeper/Boston ivy in case it damages the house. I’d like scented evergreens if possible, although I could scramble some deciduous ones too if the flowers are good. So far my favourites are honeysuckle, star jasmine, clematis Armandii and Montana, but I’m very open to suggestions, and would value any advice! 


  • PerkiPerki Rossendale - LancashirePosts: 2,015
    A picture helps but star jasmine fits the bill , Clematis armandii ( scented and evergreen ) and montana or big plants montana is a scrambled mess when its loses its leaves  . All the plants you have mentioned need something to climb on / tyeing to like a trellis or wires .  Not much is coming to mind other than roses climbing or rambling - wisteria - Hydrangea petiolaris ( self climbing ) - Campisis ?  . You could grow annual climbers through permanent climbers others like sweet peas - cobaea - ornamental beans - mina lobata - maurandya and others.

    What are you growing them in as well ? 
  • LyncoreLyncore Posts: 14
    Yes, I have to put wires/trellis/chicken mesh or similar over the entire wall (don’t want to see any pebbledash!), but I’m not sure how best to do that (battens/eyes? It needs to be secure, but a bit worried about damp getting into wall at nailing points, not sure how near to roof/windows to go etc). Also not sure whether to plant in the ground (after removing paving slabs) or if a narrow raised bed would be better (containers will need too much watering).
    I’m hoping the Montana mess will be hidden out of season by the evergreen plants?
    I like your idea about growing annuals, but I want to establish an evergreen cover first.
    I’d love Wisteria and Campisis but they need full sun, as does passionflower which I would’ve liked, and jasmine. I quite like the hydrangea, and also Garrya, but not sure if that’s overkill across a 3.8 m wide space (5m high, less front door and two windows; I’ll try to post a picture soon). How many should I have, bearing in mind they all like to spread; will they fight for space on the wall? How far apart should I plant them?
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 3,998
    I wouldn't cover the entire wall with chicken wire and plants if I was you. Why not have the wall painted cream and then have a couple of nice timber trellises with climbing roses or something?
  • LyncoreLyncore Posts: 14
    I would definitely prefer that, but apparently painting pebbledash is not only a huge (and expensive) faff, but it also has to be redone regularly. I couldn’t persuade him to paint, but did manage to persuade my other half to go down the climber route. I’m now trying to design the front and back gardens whilst he concentrates on renovating the interior. I’m sure getting up a tall ladder to trim excessive multiple climber growth around the roof gutter is just as much of a pain as repainting!

  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 3,998
    edited August 2019
    The house next to mum's is painted pebble dash, I don't think it's much of a faff? I presume the job was done by a pro and has lasted well. I agree, getting up on a ladder to keep on top of all that growth would probably be significantly more work. Your description makes me think of the semi derelict house up the road that's covered in ivy and russian vine to be honest!

    If painting is out of the question, I would go with some nice, good quality trellis up to bedroom window level, or vine eyes and wire. The support has to be unobtrusive and/or attractive. If vine eyes and wire, you can keep adding tiers going up the wall as you train your climbers up it. I like it when climbers like roses, and wall shrubs like pyracatha, are trained in horizontal 'espaliers.'

    Please don't do chicken wire, I'm just envisaging it looking bizarre and becoming a trap of dead foliage and woodlice!
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 3,998
    I would stay away from Clematis montana and armandii, they'll leg it up the wall, get into your guttering, and leave a tangle of scruffy bare shoots at the base. Much better to be patient and dress the wall in a considered way. I would also avoid too much of a mishmash of different climbers.
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 4,437
    Permanent climbers are better planted in the ground.  If you go down the raised beds route they'll need to be on soil not slabs, otherwise they're just big containers and will need the same watering regime as containers, and you would need to take care not to breach the damp proof course (if there is one).
  • LyncoreLyncore Posts: 14
    Thanks for your comments so far. I'm new to front garden design, and it's so small that there isn't much room for error :#
    I agree JennyJ, thanks; I'll put them into the ground (30cm from house?).
    WillDB, I'll try again to action some painting. I agree it would be much smarter, and I could then concentrate the planting on a nice trellis rather than throwing everything at the wall at once! I could use eyes and wire for the horizontals and around the windows. I would prefer fast growers, but I suppose the trade-off is that they need to be controlled more at the gutters. Maybe shade climbers with less of a height spread would be better...
    So, given I've got 3.8 metres width with a front door far left, and a window in the middle of the remaining space (upper window directly above that), how many climbers/wall shrubs should I realistically plant? How far apart? Can I put some ferns in to hide the messy lower stems? If so, how much space should I give them?
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 4,437
    It's hard to visualise, but I think probably no more than two climbers - one between the door and the window and one at the other side of the window.  You could put lower-growing plants such as ferns in the space under the window, but don't forget you might want access for window-cleaning (and if you pay a window-cleaner, they aren't always too careful where they stand). A couple of small slabs in between your plants might be a good idea.
  • LyncoreLyncore Posts: 14
    Slabs between plants for window cleaning access is a good idea, thanks JJ.
    Only 2 climbers though! 😕 I was getting excited about all the different plants I can use on a NE facing wall, even though I agree that fewer would probably look neater. I suppose I could squeeze another adjacent one in as a boundary hedge between us and the neighbours (maybe try the espalier idea on wires instead of a wooden fence), also weave one through into the front fence too. The double bin store can nestle between the two. So now I’ll have to choose between honeysuckle, star jasmine, clematis, garrya, and a rose for the wall. It’s an urban terraced Victorian cottage, desperately in need of some charm, so any/all of those would be good. If I don’t go for complete coverage I’ll try to track down a nice trellis...or maybe a small climber arch around the front door?
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