How to erect a trellis fence

Written by richard sweeney
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A trellis makes a much more decorative boundary than a fence. It is not as solid, allowing glimpses of what lies on the other side, and provides a framework for all but the most tender climbers and ramblers. Trellis can also lend height to boundary walls where extra privacy is needed and it can be used to decorate the walls themselves. The key to erecting a trellis fence is to make certain that it is firmly planted in the ground. In all but the most sheltered positions, it will come under enormous pressure from the wind and will work loose unless you have ensured the posts are firmly bedded in the concrete.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Post hole diggers
  • Lumber (5x4 posts)
  • Screws or nails
  • Hammer
  • Concrete
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure (at least 10 feet)
  • Post caps (optional)
  • Paint (optional)

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  1. 1

    Check zoning laws and neighbourhood homeowner’s association regulations. They may have limitations on materials or limit the height for fences in residential areas.

  2. 2

    Start by digging a hole for the first supporting post. Make it at least 2 feet deep, deeper in light soils.

  3. 3

    Put the post into the prepared hole and partly fill the hole with dry-mix concrete. Use a spirit-level to check that the post is upright and not sloping. Adjust the position if necessary and then continue filling the hole, tamping the concrete down firmly as you work, to hold the post still.

  4. 4

    Continue filling the hole with concrete, ramming it down well. Frequently check that the post is still upright. It should now be firm enough in the ground so that you can work on it and, once the concrete has set or cured, will be permanently secure.

  5. 5

    Lay the trellis panel on the ground first of all, so that you can work out where the next post hole should be dug. Dig the hole for the post, again to a depth of at least 3 feet.

  6. 6

    Place the second post in its hole and nail the panel to it, checking that the tops of the two posts are level and the panel is horizontal

  7. 7

    Fill the second hole with dry-mix concrete, tamping down as you proceed. Check that the post is upright and adjust its position if necessary.

  8. 8

    Nail the panel to the first post. You will need to ask someone to support the free end for you.

  9. 9

    Repeat the steps by digging the third post hole, nailing on the second panel, positioning and nailing the third post, and so on, until the length of trellising is complete. This is more accurate than putting in all the posts and then fixing all the panels, when inevitably, some gaps will be too large and some too small.

Tips and warnings

  • Inform your neighbours of you intentions to construct the fence.

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