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The back of my house is east-facing, and where it meets the yard there is a concrete slab about the width of a sidewalk. (The rest of the yard is grass and beds). To make things even more unsightly, this part of the house--the back patio--is sided in white aluminum. It is not a sight to relax the eye.

If it's not too ridiculous, I'd like to plant a bed of tall-growing and/or climbing perennials along this side of the house, but obviously I can't plant into concrete, and breaking up the slab is not in the budget for this year. So I'm thinking raised beds, that would be home to some shade-friendly plants like viburnium, ivy, and flowering quince. (Open to other appropriate species, but height is a real plus--the more siding I can cover in vegetation the better. I'm even open to espalier.)

My big concern, though, is that I'd be reducing winter-hardiness. I'm in the Chicago area, zone 6a. The bed will get a little ambient warmth from the house, but my understanding is that concrete will not conduct much warmth from the ground below. I've heard you should subtract one USDA zone's worth of hardiness for containerized plants, and these varieties are hardy to zone 4, so I should be ok. But I've lost potted perennials before.

On top of that, I'm not sure if I'll be able to give these plants enough root depth to climb very high. Will shrub roots spead laterally once they hit bottom, or just stop growing?

Am I on the right track here, or destined for a barren wall of shame?

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