How to use a trellis to shade your deck

Written by denise schoonhoven
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How to use a trellis to shade your deck
A trellis provides cooling shade for your deck. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Create an oasis of cool shade on your deck with a strategically placed trellis. The trellis may be a simple structure of posts and crossbars or custom designed to complement your home's architecture. A trellis shading the deck on the street side of your house increases curb appeal. The scent of flower-covered vines growing up a trellis wafts across your deck when summertime breezes blow. Properly positioned, trellises also provide privacy screening and create an outdoor room where you can relax.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Trellis
  • Support posts
  • Trellis panels
  • Vining plants

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  1. 1

    Identify the areas of your deck that receive the most sunlight during the course of a day. Typically the south and west sides of a house receive the greatest sun exposure, unless blocked by shade trees or other structures.

  2. 2

    Install a trellis directly onto the sides of the deck with greatest sunlight exposure. Use the existing structural elements of the deck to attach the trellis. Additional posts and support posts may be necessary to hold the trellis in place, especially for decks without railings and second-story decks.

  3. 3

    Build a free-standing trellis several feet away from the deck if an attached trellis would cause damage to the existing deck materials and structure. Allow sufficient space between the deck and the new trellis for ongoing maintenance such as plant care or painting. Make the new trellis at least 6 feet high, or taller if possible, to cast shade on the deck when the sun is at its highest point in the sky.

  4. 4

    Place trellis panels above your deck in areas where the sun is directly overhead for a portion of the day. Use sturdy posts and beams to ensure the stability and longevity of the trellis.

  5. 5

    Plant vines at the base of the trellis and train the plants to climb the structure. Grow the plants directly in the ground wherever possible, or in deep containers where direct planting is not possible. Select plants that tolerate direct sun and are recommended for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zone where you live.

Tips and warnings

  • Use decay-resistant pressure-treated lumber, cedar or redwood for trellis support posts and beams.

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