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'Wall' cover

AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 335
Evening folks,

As our garden rebuild comes along, I'm giving thought to planting because it will, in places, inform the hard landscaping. This is particularly true of our 'back wall'.

The 'wall' is our neighbours' boundary and is made up of two different styles of fence to around 6'. My original idea had been to place a large trellis in front of it to give some homogeneity to the boundary. However, I'd like some thoughts from you on my revised idea, if I may.

The 'wall' is 6' high and 12' wide and west facing. At its base, I am building a retaining wall which will give me the option to either have no soil at its base or to create a narrow border. Initially I was inclined to go with the former but I now wonder whether the best thing to do would be to create a border behind the retaining wall (to a maximum of 2 feet) and use that to plant climbers into, which I'd train on strong support wires in front of the neighbours' fences to give me a backdrop to our garden that hid the different fence styles. Instead, I'd end up with a 6x12' wall of climbing plants.

I am thinking then to plant three climbers in the border/trough behind the retaining wall, one every 4' along its length, and to choose ones that can cover the space and provide a long period of cover, e.g. clematis in groups 1 to 3. However, my questions to you learned folk are:

1. Whether a border width of 2' will suffice for clematis (or any other climber) where there is no other planting;

2. Whether planting climbers 4' apart will ultimately allow them to entwine with one another so that they cover the same space on the wall, and if so whether certain plants are particularly well paired; and

3. Whether there is a particular climber that would look good covering this space over winter, when the leaves and flowers have died back? I had considered ivy but, over this space, it will just get out of control.

Many thanks,



  • K67K67 Posts: 2,507
    Why the retaining wall and how tall will it be?
    Your fences? 
    What the soil depth like in front of the fence?
    Clematis should be fine but you would need to have the footing in place before planting.
    If you want them to intertwine group 1 you don't really prune but group 3 you prune down to several inches so separating them might damage the other.
    Some will spread up to 20ft in a season, some only a few feet. So choice is important.
    Can  recommend Thorncroft and Taylor's website for guidance.

  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 335
    edited March 2021
    It's not easy to describe the space. Unfortunately a photo won't work because it isn't how it looks currently. Let me try using ASCII:

    ........| _________ |.....|
    Fence                 Wall          Garden

    If that has transposed properly, you can hopefully make out that the fence is at the back of the garden and the wall will be 'inset' but to a much lower height. Above the wall, there will be 6' in height of fence to cover. The "_____" bit will be the planting space. I can make that as wide as 2' (at an absolute push) and have it to a depth of around 1'. Will that be enough space for a clematis to get established?

    Perhaps a group 3 isn't sensible if it generates quite a bit of work to cut it from around groups 1 and 2. I'd also consider a grapevine but I don't know whether a west-facing wall on a Yorkshire garden will do!
  • AstraeusAstraeus Posts: 335
    In fact, K67, your link to Thorncroft has answered my questions for me - thank you.

    New customer incoming!
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