By Diana Elizabeth Steffen
If you have blank walls in your outdoor spaces and want to add visual interest, consider a vine wall! It can sometimes be cheaper than buying a lot of outdoor bushes. You can create various trellis designs, but the most popular and easiest is a diamond. A vine wall is great to install on long walls and it adds greenery. Bonus if you add landscape lighting to illuminate it at night and show it off!
Your first step is understanding which direction your blank wall faces and the type of sun it receives. I have two vine walls and live in Phoenix, Arizona, so placement is very important since plants can easily bake from the intense heat. Both of my walls face east. They receive the morning sun and are shaded in the late afternoon so they don’t burn up.
Observe the type of sunlight and shade your wall will receive. I would suggest walls facing north or east for hot climate areas.
Step 1: Determine the width of the diamonds
Measure your entire wall in inches and then divide by around 40 – from here, you can adjust accordingly to maximize the amount of diamonds you can fit evenly.
In the photo below, the diamonds are 46″ wide.
If you want more diamonds, I would not go any less than 22” because it will be too small. I have another area of the yard (image below) with 22” diamonds.
The photo below is when we had just moved in and I had just installed and planted the vine wall.
Now that you know the look you want, large single diamonds or a lot of diamonds, you can get to work! Grab a drill, masonry drill bit, and a few more items listed below.
Step 2 - Gather materials needed
- Plug anchors
- Eye screws
- Strong floral wire to string through the eye screws – green preferred and a thick gauge
These items can be bought on Amazon, or your local hardware store. The floral wire can also be found at The 99 Cents Only store which I like because I can save more money to buy more plants!
Step 3 - Select the vine
The vine I chose is the jasmine star vine which is more structured in how it grows and does not cling to the wall. I do not suggest cat’s claw vine or pink jasmine vine which is more floppy. When I buy the plant from the nursery, I carefully untangle each plant’s vines and wrap them around the wire just going up on both sides. Clip the vines that are growing the wrong way.
If you head to a local nursery they can suggest some vines that would be suitable for your vine wall in your zone.
Step 4 - Install the Trellis
- Determine your diamond pattern size: Measure the wall width and divide by the numbered diamonds you would like. TIP: Do not go less than 22″ wide. The largest vine wall I’ve shown (above) is 46″ wide.
- Divide the height of the wall, minus a few inches above soil level, and divide by 2. This will determine your height. Tape string along the top, middle and bottom of the diamond points to assist with spacing and marking. Use chalk to mock up size and where to drill. TIP: I also added an eye hook where the middle points meet for stability since this pattern was quite large.
- When satisfied, drill diamond points with a masonry drill bit, and hammer in wall plugs.
- Screw in eye hooks.
- String the wire diagonally through each eye hook.
- Plant the vine at the base of the diamond. Untangle each plant’s vines, split it to wrap it around the wire in each direction.
- Once planted, clip the vines that are not growing against the wall – the ones growing the wrong way (toward you). It will allow the plant to put more energy into growing taller.
- ALL DONE!
Water well and deep, fertilize, and allow the vines to overlap. Occasionally trim when necessary, and tie them to the wire to keep them trained.
I cut back my vine wall aggressively about every two years pretty hard before spring, with small trimming between, if necessary. I find more water helps the vines grow faster and when they bloom in May it’s heavenly!!
Diana Elizabeth Steffen is a Phoenix-based photographer and blogger at dianaelizabethblog.com where she shares her home and garden projects with camera in hand!