As I was working on this project, I started paying attention to fencing as I drove around my community.
While the most common fences are wood, composite, iron or chain-link, fencing options are as broad and individual as the yards they contain. The best-looking fences, however, are usually softened and enhanced with shrubs, perennial plants and pretty flowers.
I incorporate the same principles of design on exterior projects as I do interior ones: paying close attention to contrast, variety and scale.
Since most fences are around four feet tall, adding something taller will make them more interesting. A trellis is the perfect solution. It’s sculptural, yet practical. Plant a climbing flower and in a few weeks, you’ll have a colorful layer of texture and pattern.
I decided to build my own trellis out of PVC piping. I like PVC because it’s lightweight, easy to work with and an unexpected material in a garden. Start with a drawing so you know exactly how much you need when shopping. I decided on a 6-feet-high x 2-foot-wide trellis.
PVC pipe comes in many sizes and widths. For my purpose, 3/4 inch is plenty big enough. PVC pipe is sold in 10-foot lengths. Unless you have a really long trailer, you’ll have to ask the store to cut it for you for the drive home.
I bought three 10-foot pipes and had the store cut off four feet from each. When I got home, I did a few more cuts.
I also needed:
- 2 elbow connectors (fittings)
- 5 tee connectors
- 2 cross tee connectors
When building your trellis, be sure that you purchase connectors in the same size as the pipe (3/4 inch) and double-check that you’re buying socket connectors, not threaded connectors.
From each 6-foot length, I cut two 18-inch pieces, leaving a 36-inch piece for the vertical bars. From two of the 4-foot lengths, I cut six 12-inch pieces. These are the horizontal bars. I laid them out on the floor and put everything together like a puzzle. I used PVC pipe cement to bond the connectors and fittings to the pipes to ensure the entire piece stays upright and together.
Dig a small hole and stick the trellis into the ground next to your fence. Use wire, a clamp or a pipe grip tie to attach the trellis to the fence. Then, plant your favorite climbing flower or vegetable at the base. In a few months, your fence will be the envy of the neighborhood.
Merri Cvetan is an interior designer who writes about great DIY projects for both indoor and outdoor spaces. From wood panel fencing to PVC for a custom trellis, visit The Home Depot to get the materials you need to spruce up your yard.