Garden Design Ideas With Climbing Roses

When you close your eyes and picture your ideal flower garden, what do you see? Chances are, there's a climbing rose somewhere in the picture. The ability of a single climbing rose specimen to transform a landscape is marvelous. Climbing roses, which are typically at their peak in the latter half of June, can turn cold metal structures and bland wooden trellises into life-supporting structures that may serve as a seating area, a source of fragrance, and a vertical focal point in the garden. 

  • 01 of 08

    Arbor or Pergola

    Rose Arbor with Bench
    Jerry Pavia/Photolibrary/Getty Images

     A rose arbor may be the most classical way to display and support a climbing rose like this 'William Baffin' specimen, which will offer repeat blooms after a heavy flush in late June. Use an arbor in the garden as a special area to sit and reflect on the garden, or, if you don't add benches, use it to emphasize an entrance, either alone or over a gate. Either way, be sure to tie the canes securely to the structure with string, plastic ties, or soft insulated wire. 

  • 02 of 08


    Rose Balcony
    Brian Lawrence/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

     For homes with a second-story balcony, only the smallest footprint is required to grow a thriving climbing rose. Dig a hole at least two feet in circumference and 18 inches deep, and amend generously with composted manure and leaf mold. Choose a vigorous climbing rose that will eagerly reach for the top of your balcony. Some rambler roses will attain heights of 40 feet or greater, so check the growing tag for mature height information. Many rambler roses only bloom once, but 'Snow Goose' and the pale yellow 'Malvern Hills' bloom repeatedly. 

  • 03 of 08


    Red Paul's Scarlet Climbing Rose
    Georgianna Lane/Canopy/Getty Images

    When training a rose onto a fence, you can tie the canes onto portions of the fence in a fan shape. This will ensure layers of blooms, as vertical growing canes will produce flowers at the top of the canes and will remain bare at the bottom. For easiest training, choose a climber with plentiful, pliable stems like the rose in this photo, 'Paul's Scarlet.' 

  • 04 of 08


    La Roseraie de L’Hay Rose Festoon
    Annie Dalbera/Flickr

    If you can imagine a living garland, then you know what a rose festoon looks like. A festoon is similar to a pergola, with two posts and a support in between. The support may be a rope, chain, or heavy duty wire. The idea is that the support isn't fixed, but hangs in a curve like a ribbon. The effect is very graceful, and would work equally well in a cottage garden or a formal garden

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  • 05 of 08


    Rose Gazebo
    amygdala_imagery/E+/Getty Images

    Installing a gazebo in the garden comes with a considerable expense. One doesn't usually build a gazebo for the specific purpose of supporting a climbing rose; rather, a gardener might choose a climbing rose to soften a structure that dominates the landscape. With the addition of a large climber like the magenta 'Alexandre Girault,' you'll transform a ho-hum shelter into a cozy retreat

  • 06 of 08

    Lamp Post

    Rose Lamp Post
    April Younglove/

     A garden lamp standing stiffly in the center of the garden sometimes looks out of place, but all you need is a climbing rose to help this post blend in to its surroundings. Bear in mind the mature height of the rose, as you don't want the light itself to be consumed by flowers. Manageable climbers for lamp posts include the brilliant orange 'Warm Welcome,' about ten feet tall, or the cheerful scarlet blooms of 'Dizzy Heights.' Train the canes in a spiral pattern up the post, and tie loosely for support. 

  • 07 of 08


    Rose Trellis
    John Greim/Corbis Documentary/Getty Images

    The placement of a rose-covered trellis in your garden can serve as a boundary for an outdoor room, or a trellis can be freestanding. The challenge for some trellises can be to find a suitable rose match for the size and strength of your support. Most climbing roses grow at least eight feet tall, and you don't want to face the prospect of pruning away the blooming parts of your canes in order to keep the plant in bounds. 

  • 08 of 08


    Rose Trained Against Wall
    Patrick Johns/Corbis/Getty Images

     A rose trained against a wall gives the impression of an espaliered tree, only with much quicker and easier results. As sun lovers, your roses should not be trained onto north-facing walls. A sun-warmed east or south facing wall, on the contrary, may bring you more blooms than a free standing structure. Your climbing rose will benefit from the wind protection a wall provides. Fasten canes to the wall at a distance of at least an inch to provide mildew-reducing air circulation.