Garden pergola covered by a climber plant with white flowers.

How to Have Decorative Vines in Your Garden

Vigorous climbing vines, such as grapes and Boston ivy, excel at clambering up and over solid structures, blurring their lines with soft, leafy growth. The best have attractively shaped foliage that displays vibrant shades in autumn, adding an extra dimension to the garden.

When to plant: Autumn.

At their best: Autumn.

Time to complete: 1 hour.

You will need: Vine – such as Vitis vinifera, ‘Purpurea’ or V. coignetiae, spade, well-rotted organic matter, twine.

Select a support

Vines are commonly grown over pergolas and up walls, but they look equally good when allowed to scramble through large shrubs, trees, and conifers. Look around your garden for structures that require softening, or for large plants that need brightening up. Vine stems twine around their supports, and will require wire or trellis attached to pergolas or walls.

Plant your vine

Large solid structures cast rain shadows, and mature shrubs suck lots of moisture from the soil. To ensure your vine gets plenty of water, plant about 18 in (45 cm) away from your chosen support, and lean the climber towards it. Dig a large hole, incorporate well-rotted organic matter, plant, and water the vine in well.


Regularly tie in new growth to the wires or trellis to help secure the stems to the support. Water the vine well throughout the first year, and feed in spring with a tree and shrub fertilizer.