Create A Patio Garden With These Climbing Plants

Generally used for outdoor dining or entertaining guests, a patio is an outside space that serves as an extension of the house.  As a Spanish term, it roughly translates as “inner courtyard.” Compared to the porch, a patio is relatively bigger and may have a roof (or sometimes a pergola) overhead.

It’s common to see patio covers from companies like City Seamless Patio Covers all around Tucson, Arizona (AZ). Not only do they enhance curb appeal but the home addition is considered necessary by many, considering that the city sees more sunshine throughout the year than the average U.S. city. The city is also considered one of the hottest in America, next only to Phoenix, AZ.

Manufacturers offer a wide array of choices for patio covers to help transform your garden.


There is nothing better to transform your backyard than building a free-standing patio, which serves as the centerpiece of your garden. But it takes a little bit of planning to make sure that what you envision in your mind is accurately reflected in your garden.

The climbing plant that you choose is as crucial as the design of the patio. Some plants thrive when they grow next to an open and large wall. They also need to absorb the sun’s rays every day. You have to chart the direction of the sun to determine where you will plant these climbers.


Meanwhile, there are also species of climbers that are hardier and can grow even if they are not exposed to the sun all day.

Striking the right balance between the climbers and the design of the patio can get overwhelming pretty quickly.

 To make your choice more manageable, use this list of types of patios with some options for climbing plants:
Create A Patio Garden With These Climbing Plants

Free-Standing Patios

As can be gleaned from the name, this type of patio is not attached to the main building. Since it does not have added support, the patio should be robust and stable. The structure rests on four posts or sometimes six, and is usually made of steel. It should be durable enough to withstand strong winds. Although tropical cyclones and tornadoes are rare in Tucson, it is better to be safe than sorry. Because they get reinforced, free-standing patios are more expensive compared to the average.

For free-standing patios, you can choose:

  • Bougainvillea -- It is a perennial vine that is characterized by its hardiness. It is not very easy to kill. The plant can grow as high as 30 feet, but it needs full sun. You can get a very colorful full shade if you plant this species.
  • Climbing rose -- The Ramblin’ Red is the most popular variety of the climbing rose because it grows very quickly. It is also disease-resistant and can grow even in the harshest conditions, which Arizona can be.
  • Trumpet creeper -- You can adorn your garden with bright yellow and orange flowers with the Trumpet creeper. It does need full sun, so make sure you do not plant it in a shady spot.


Pergolas are a great way to enhance the architectural aesthetics of any home or establishment. Likewise, they are known as lattice covers. Instead of a solid plane to shield people from the sun, you get a series of wooden or metal beams supported by vertical posts. The main design you see are horizontal strips of wood equally spaced in between. You can spot them in gardens as the upright posts give the perfect platform for climbing plants.

 However, they can also be used as shade in the seating area if you have a pool. Further, they are used as window awnings to protect your home from direct sunlight, especially during the brutal summers in Tucson. The amount of shade depends on the space in between. If the wood or metal lattice features 50% space, you can expect 60% shade underneath.
  • Creeping fig -- Although it is native to East Asia, this perennial vine is very easy to grow and maintain. It can quickly provide a full shade on your pergola. It also adds that distinct character to your garden. Plant this near unsightly walls, and the vine will provide a look similar to an old English cottage.
  • Cat’s claw vine -- With its distinct yellow color and trumpet flower design, it will enhance your curb appeal right away. For pergolas, the vine will creep up the posts and beams before the leaves and branches hang low like a waterfall.
  • Lady Banks rose -- The vine can grow as tall as 20 feet so it can fully cover your pergola to give full shade. The flowers tend to grow in clusters, but they are bright yellow, so they will bring a splash of color to your garden.

Solid Covers

Pergolas look great, but they do not offer much protection in case of a downpour. It is where the solid patio cover comes in. The solid patio cover provides the most protection for any of the outdoor areas in your home. Whether you want to shield yourself from the sun or rain, this type of patio is the best option for you. In most instances, the structure attaches to the main building. If it’s attached, a gutter may be required to funnel water away from the house.

Moreover, it prevents rainwater from accumulating on the roof. If not solidly built, the patio can collapse from that extra weight. In Tucson, you need a permit when you construct a solid patio because it is considered a major renovation and because the city requires consent to build structures that are larger than 100 feet. The installer will process the paperwork, so the homeowner does not have to worry about that.
  • Bougainvillea -- The best thing about the bougainvillea is its flexibility. You can plant it near a free-standing structure and also against a giant wall.
  • Bower vine -- This plant doesn’t grow as tall as bougainvillea, so it works more like an accent piece for your attached patio or porch. The flower is a combination of pink and white.
  • Lilac vine -- You can see lilac vines all over Arizona. It is characterized by a distinctive purple color. It will climb anything--fence, porch, the exterior of your house, patio, and electric posts.

Combination Covers

Can’t decide on a solid patio or a pergola? Why not have both? Installers offer combination covers so homeowners can enjoy the best of both worlds. As the name implies, the patio features both lattice and solid designs. For instance, you want to cover your barbecue area from the sun and rain, but still want the distinct look that only pergolas can provide.

Combinations covers can be attached to the main building or installed as a free-standing structure. Make sure you look for an installer that does not charge extra for installing combination patio covers, so you do not incur additional costs.

With combination covers, you can choose any of the climbers mentioned above. You will not go wrong, as long as you choose the right spot to plant.

Don’t forget that in Tucson, you need to secure a permit before installing patios. The approval is ministerial. They are considered as an extension of your indoor space, so you must check with the building office for more information.

Create A Patio Garden With These Climbing Plants
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Tina Martino

My passion is gardening. Along with my husband and children, each year we grow a garden large enough to provide our family of five with over half of our needed produce. Besides vegetables and a small berry patch, I also focus my attention on beautifying our home with strategically placed flowers, herbs, and flowering plants. Gardening is more than just a hobby; it is a way of life.

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