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What Are Some of the Uses for Vines to Solve Landscaping Problems?

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Question: What Are Some of the Uses for Vines to Solve Landscaping Problems?
Reader, Ellie asks, "Vines: for noise reduction, for making a private area, which vines are destructive to wood vs. stucco, which attract hummingbirds or butterflies, how to use them in landscaping to hide flaws or to magnify curb appeal. All about vines, from climbers to ground covers. I have been on a mission to resolve a backyard issue and find that there is no discussion or resource on the subject of vines (I just purchase Tangerine Beauty Crossvine for privacy and noise reduction by a pool area). Please inform your public of the subject of vines."
Answer:

I discuss several uses for vines in the yard in my article on flowering vines, including vines for curb appeal and vines that attract butterflies and/or hummingbirds. For a more visual approach, view the vine pictures in my photo gallery.

To create privacy screening using vines, one must first install a supporting structure. Said structure can be as elaborate as an arbor or pergola or as simple a trellis. I have even reviewed an adjustable garden trellis for those who enjoy new-fangled gadgets (I wasn't that impressed, myself). You can also use vines to fill in the gaps on a chain link fence to create privacy screening, or erect a simple lattice fence and train your vines upon it.

As for noise reduction, you need something with some mass to really absorb any significant amount of noise. Consequently, among options from the plant world, multiple rows of large trees would do the job best. Since this option isn't feasible for most people, a better tack to take for noise barriers is fence construction.

Finally, be wary of using vines on house siding. Regardless of the particular type of house siding, vines such as Boston ivy will seek out and exploit any aperture they can find. The result can be damage to your house siding -- regardless of whether you leave the vine in place or try to remove it. Use a trellis instead, to give the illusion that the vine is climbing the house wall (without allowing the vine to make contact with the actual wall).

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