Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How to Make a Wire Trellis for a Brick Wall

Whether you want to cover up an unsightly façade or add another dimension to your outdoor space, a vine-covered brick wall is an easy project that will enhance any garden area. Choose your vine carefully though, as some vines grow aggressively and can over-take a structure quickly. For these reasons, two species to avoid are Ivy (Hedera sp.), and Wisteria (Wisteria sp.).

Proper vine selection will help determine the ultimate success of your project. It may be preferable to have foliage year-round but many vines with big, showy blooms are either deciduous plants or annuals. Also, take into consideration sun exposure, water requirements, and winter hardiness when selecting a vine.

You will need:
1 ½” fluted masonry nails
Safety goggles
Measuring tape or ruler
Steel wire (I used 28-gauge picture hanging wire)
Pliers to cut the wire (scissors will work too)
Natural twine
Vine for planting

Pick a starting point on the wall a few feet up from the ground, directly behind the vine’s location. (The vine should be planted as close as possible to the wall.) Hammer masonry nail approximately ½” into the mortar joint so that 1” of the nail is exposed. (Wear safety goggles when hammering to prevent eye injury.)

Measure 12” above and below the nail (or roughly 4 brick courses) and drive nails or mark locations with painters tape to nail later. Measure 12” to either side of the three nails and continue with this grid pattern as desired for the height and width of the space and/or expected size of the vine. When all of the nails are in place, begin tying the wire.

Start at the highest point above the vine; tie the wire in a knot over the nail. From that nail, shift down and to the left (approximately 45-degrees); loop the wire around the next nail twice and continue looping nails in that direction to the last nail and tie another knot.

Repeat this design by connecting all of the adjacent nails above and below the strung wire so that when finished, there are multiple parallel strands of wire at a 45-degree angle from the center. Trim excess wire from all knots.

Knot the wire around top nail once more and replicate these steps on the right side, achieving a mirror of this pattern to the right of the vine. Trim excess wire from all knots.

After planting, begin weaving the vine’s branches through the wire supports. Periodically attach stems to the wire support with double-knotted twine. Trim excess twine from all knots. When finished, mulch the vine and water thoroughly.

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