How to Build a Cable Trellis

Written by beth asher
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A cable trellis has an airy look but can be a useful accessory in the home landscape. In places where existing masonry walls are unsightly, they can be used to provide masking foliage. Use cable-trellised green walls in urban spaces to act as air scrubbers. Cable trellises are ideal for vertical applications and can be used as permanent single "strings" to support vines on concrete posts. Using locking snap hooks and a turnbuckle with a cable wire trellis allows the tension to be relaxed and your vines to be laid down for wall maintenance. Secured and mounted properly on masonry walls cable makes a sturdy, long-lasting support for a wide variety of climbing favourites.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • 3/32 stainless-steel cable
  • 12 ferrules
  • 6 masonry anchors
  • 6 stainless eyebolts
  • 6 stainless locking spring snap hooks
  • 3/4-by-6-inch eye and eye turnbuckle, galvanised or stainless steel
  • Chalk
  • Drill and masonry bit
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire rope ferrule crimper
  • Gloves

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Instructions

    Marking Out the Trellis

  1. 1

    Choose a trellis design and mark it out on your masonry wall. For a simple fan-shaped trellis for light climbers, chalk your middle starting point on the bottom of the wall. Measure 3 feet out on each side of that midpoint on the bottom of the wall and chalk the trellis ends.

  2. 2

    Mark the upper midpoint by measuring 5 feet straight up the wall from the lower midpoint and chalking a mark. Mark the outside end points of the fan wires next. Measure 5 feet up the wall from the left end point and chalk a mark and then repeat on the right.

  3. 3

    Draw a line from the two upper outside end points to the midpoint to provide a level measuring marker. Measure out 1½ feet on either side of the upper midpoint and chalk a mark. You now have all five upper fan points marked.

    Assembling the Trellis

  1. 1

    Drill a hole at each upper mark on your masonry and at the lower midpoint and install the masonry anchors and screw eyes.

  2. 2

    Cut the cable into one 6-foot and four 7-foot sections. Make a 2-inch loop in one end of each cable using a ferrule. Crimp the ferrules to compress them and secure the wire cable.

  3. 3

    Place a locking snap hook through each cable loop. Snap the hook for the 6-foot cable section onto the upper midpoint eyebolt. Snap the 7-foot cable sections onto the other upper eyebolts.

  4. 4

    Unscrew the turnbuckle ends to make the turnbuckle longer. Use the remaining snap hook to fasten the lower turnbuckle eye to the lower screw eye. Thread a ferrule onto each cable end. Pass the cable ends through the upper turnbuckle eye and back through the ferrules, making 3-inch loops.

  5. 5

    Pull the wire cable further through each loop until just taut and then crimp the ferrule. Cut off the excess wire cable. Turn the turnbuckle to shorten it, straightening and tensioning the wires.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a south-facing wall for espalier trellising of fruit.
  • Scrambling climbers like roses will need to be fastened to the trellis as they grow.
  • As an alternative to using standard hardware and turnbuckles, buy a Gripple fastening system.
  • Wear gloves when working with wire cabling to avoid being cut.
  • Check the load rating of your components and buy components with similar ratings.

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