Ideas for Landscaping Walls

Beautiful, doable ideas for landscaping walls. Eye-pleasing and easy-to-achieve retaining wall landscape design. These landscape wall design pictures will inspire you to new heights in landscape gardening.


Landscaping a Wall with Shrubs

Landscaping walls with shrubs.

This is an unusual but effective way of landscaping a wall. Placing tall shrubs right up against a wall is something most gardeners are afraid to try.

With good reason.

If you choose the wrong sort of shrub, you will soon have a problem. If you fail to prune judiciously, you will soon have an overgrown mass of branches and leaves.

The people who live in the house above got it right on both counts.

The shrub used here is Podocarpus macrophyllus, an easy-to-maintain conifer commonly known as the Japenese yew. These specimens have been hand pruned in a naturalistic fashion but Podocarpus can as easily be sheared into whatever shape strikes your fancy.

Plants you would not want to site too close to a wall:

  • Avoid anything in the Ficus family. Many figs have destructive roots that can penetrate concrete.

  • Stay away from notorious surface rooters like maple trees. The larger the plant, the more likely it is that surface roots will become a problem so stick with shrubs/trees under 15 feet tall.

  • Flowers are an added benefit unless they are followed by colorful fruit that can stain your wall when it drops.

  • If your wall is made of concrete, azaleas, gardenias and other acid-loving plants may not perform well beside it.

    Concrete tends to alkalize the soil around it. Spirea and Viburnum will accept this.

  • Landscaping Walls with Roses

    Roses landscaping a wall at Highclere. When landscaping walls, you can hardly go wrong by planting climbing roses.

    The roses you see here are adorning Highclere Castle in Hampshire.

    Guided tours of the castle and its surrounding gardens and park are sometimes available. The 1,000 acre estate serves as the set of the hit British drama, Downton Abbey.

    Roses landscaping a wall at Highclere Castle.

    These climbing roses are also growing in the garden at Highclere.

    If you love roses, plant small shrub or groundcover roses around the feet of the climbers as has been done here.

    If you would like to do a mixed planting, petunias would be just as striking.

    Climbing roses landscaping a stone wall.

    White climbing roses soften this stone wall.

    To replicate the look: choose climbers not ramblers.

    Iceberg is a climbing rose. Lady Banks is an old garden rambler.

    Rambling roses grow to massive sizes and typically only bloom once each season. The roses depicted here are climbers. They seldom grow taller than 15 feet and typically bloom in repeated flushes throughout the growing season.

    Planting Climbing Roses will provide you with all the information you need to get these blooming beauties settled in.

    Using Containers in Landscape Wall Design

    Lela's container garden landscaping wall.

    This is my next door neighbor's side yard. Lela used to live in a house with a courtyard where she kept her collection of beautifully-grown potted plants.

    This house does not have a courtyard so she arranged her collection along the east wall. First, she made a border using landscape pavers, lined it with weed-blocking landscape fabric and covered the cloth with mulch. Then she set the pots atop the mulch.

    Automatic sprinklers have been strategically placed to keep the pots watered.

    Side yards are often difficult to landscape because they are usually quite narrow. I think my neighbor has come up with the perfect solution for this problem area.

    Ferns in hanging baskets landscape a wall at the Dunlawton Sugar Mill.

    Various types of ferns in hanging baskets landscape an old stone wall at the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens in Port Orange, Florida.

    Ferns planted into the gaps in an old stone wall.

    This is the other side of the wall in the photo above. The ferns on this side have been planted in the gaps between the rocks.

    Retaining Wall Landscape Design

    A simple retaining wall landscape design featuring beach sunflower.

    Landscaping a retaining wall can seem complicated when there is soil on only 1 side.

    This retaining wall abuts a sidewalk so in addition to there not being any soil to plant in on the pedestrian side of the wall, there is also no available space to set containers.

    In this event, there is but 1 solution.

    Install plants that will trail over the pedestrian side of the retaining wall and soften it.

    The owner of this Daytona Beach landscape has used beach sunflowers.

    Cascading petunias, 'Fairy' roses or any of the jasmine vines could be substituted for the perennial sunflower.

    Small space wall landscaping at a CA. apartment building.

    The landscaping at this California apartment building shows what you can do with a mere few inches of soil.

    The large, banana-leaved plants in back are Strelitzia. Colorful annuals nest at their feet.

    Landscaping a wall with espalier.

    Here is another example of small space wall landscaping. An espaliered tree will dress a plain wall in fine style.

    Just about any tree that does not violate the rules at the top of this page can be used for landscaping walls. Pears look especially fetching when grown flat against a wall in this fashion.

    This is also a great way to grow a fruit tree in an area where there would not otherwise be room for it or to grow a tree which is only marginally hardy in your zone.

    The wall will store and radiate heat back onto the tree on frosty nights.

    Privacy Wall Landscaping

    Plants soften the privacy wall around a Daytona home.

    Many homes are surrounded by a tall concrete or brick wall to provide the homeowners with privacy. While these walls can create a cozy and secure environment for those inside, they can appear cold to passers by unless the outside of the wall is landscaped.

    A few strategically-placed plants will break up this expanse of hardscape and make it more inviting.

    Two clumps of multi-trunked Pygmy date palms do the trick here.

    The red flowers you see above the wall are those of a Bougainvillea vine planted on the side facing the homeowner.

    The cottage garden at Highclere Castle.

    This is the most difficult-to-duplicate landscape wall design on this page. It would also be the most fun to plant and to tend for an avid gardener.

    This is the cottage garden at Highclere Castle.

    Flowering vines hug the wall. The shortest plants are in front of the tallest plants with 1 exception: there is a small tree at the edge of the border shading a group of purple Allium plants.

    The curved edge of the bed enhances its country house charm.

    Landscaping Walls with Vines

    Vines dress a wall in historic Savannah, Georgia.

    Landscaping walls with vines seems to be a Savannah, Georgia tradition. Particularly in the historic district where the homes in these pictures are located.

    The vine in this photo looks, to me, like confederate jasmine. I can't be certain though, because confederate jasmine is a twiner not a clinger and I don't see any support underneath it. The foliage may be hiding it.

    The walls of a historic Savannah home landscaped with vines.

    Vines also cling to the walls of this Savannah home.

    Any small-leaved clinging vine that is hardy in your area can be pressed into service when landscaping walls. Ivy is often used in the Northeast. You can see the creeping fig vine growing on a wall here.



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