Creating visually and aesthetically pleasing retaining walls can present something of a challenge for homeowners. While small retaining walls can be attractive when used in gardens and flower beds, larger retaining walls can become visually monotonous if not decorated in some way. These attractive vining plants are perfect for growing on large vertical spaces, which makes them an excellent choice for growing on retaining walls.
Ivy is a classic choice for covering walls because it uses its tendrils to attach itself to vertical surfaces and can grow to a soaring 70 feet in height. Ivy grows in cold to warm weather climates and requires little encouragement, training or support to grow wild. Although ivy doesn't flower, some types of ivy display beautiful fall colors, while others stay green throughout the year.
Without a trellis to which it can attach itself, bougainvillea grows out rather than up. However with the right support, bougainvillea can be trained to climb up the side of your retaining wall—and at a fast growth rate, too. In bright, sunny conditions, bougainvillea produces vibrant, tumbling masses of colorful brachts around tiny flowers. But be careful where you plant bougainvillea; it's not an appropriate choice for a retaining wall near a driveway or a high-traffic area, because of the large thorns found on its long, beautiful canes.
Morning glories will climb, twine and crawl their way up tall vertical spaces. These lightweight, non-woody vines must have support from a trellis or fence in order to grow their way up the side of a wall. They bloom throughout the growing season and can attract hummingbirds. Reaching heights of up to 15 feet, morning glories are vigorous, unstoppable growers that produce loads of vibrant color throughout the growing season.
In USDA Hardiness zone 10, this plant is a perennial that will grow up the side of your retaining wall and bloom every growing season with beautiful lavender blossoms and exotic purple pods. Hyacinth bean requires a sturdy wooden support in order to be a successful climber, but once that support is in place and your hyacinth bean plant starts to bloom, the hard work will be worthwhile.
Producing delicate yellow blossoms from summer through fall, the golden trumpet vine is a fast-growing climber that needs lots of sun to thrive. Like the morning glory, this plant needs little training to climb its way all around your wall, but will need a lightweight trellis for help.
For more information and advice regarding the best ways to landscape your yard's vertical surfaces, speak with a landscaper, such as those at L & L Excavation & Landscaping, or the person who installed your retaining wall. He or she will be able to help you generate ideas.