The Violet Fern

A Colorful Tale of a Garden in the Making

Project: Rustic Fence Trellis


I have a beautiful chain link fence. That doesn’t sound right does it? For as much as I hated the chain link fence when we first moved here, it is growing on me, and it is growing quite literally. This spring I found myself admiring the twisted trunks of the wild grapes topped by their fresh, unfurling leaves that edge the Potager and grow upon the chain link fence. I thought, you know, that looks well, pretty. I no longer see the fence through the dark silhouetted, crisscross patterns of the aging vines.

The chain link continues from the back down the left side of our property all the way to the house. Where it meets the house next to our screened back porch, almost right on top of us is a small rental cottage. There once was an aging, sagging Box Elder sandwiched between “us and them” that has now been removed. We attached some of that reed fencing that comes on a roll to calm our initial shock from the tree’s absence but the weather and the winds have had their way with it. We discussed replacing just this section of fence with a wood privacy fence but then we would lose the new grape, creeper and rose vines that have begun to grow here and, well, it would be a BIG tear down and rebuild kind of project.

In keeping with my “rustic” theme throughout the garden, I decided to fashion some sort of tall trellis-like fencing made from tree branches. As if it were meant to be, one day there sat a pile of young saplings fairly tall and straight – birch – waiting for mulching at the dump. They came home with me instead.

score at the dump

I figured I would fashion three “panels” that could be fastened to the chain link somehow. I configured a layout on our driveway.

Laying Out Fence Trellis

Once happy with the layout and how the panels related to one another, I began assembly. I predrilled and used my usual stash of drywall screws of varying sizes to attach the branches to one another.

Fence Trellis Assembly

My favorite contractor helped me move them into position along the fence where we secured them with cable ties. The panels are further secured by several stakes driven into the ground – we have BIG wind here. The panels hold the reed fencing in place better, too.

Fence Trellis Fall

I won’t lie, it took me all summer to put these panels together (a full summer of inconveniently stepping over my layout to cross the drive) until finally I realized I better get them into place before winter which explains the fall photo above. In actuality, I could have assembled these panels in a few days and freely stepped my way through summer, but you know how there is always a project.

This winter scene surprised me. I found it quite beautiful, my chain link fence.

Fence Trellis in Winter

This is how the panels look today. I have planted a young variegated climbing hydrangea vine, Hydrangea Firefly, nearest our porch although I do like the way the Virginia Creeper is filling in in the meantime. It should be on fire come fall with its flaming red foliage.

Fence Trellis Today (June 2013)

Another section of reed fencing on the other side and perhaps a couple more panels and our next door neighbor should feel more next [over] than [open] door. This project is not necessarily one that will ever be complete, but a work in progress much like the garden.


Author: Kathy Sturr

Cultivating art, growing soul, and creating plant-based food in the beautiful 1000 Islands, New York and Cedar Key, Old Florida.

2 thoughts on “Project: Rustic Fence Trellis

  1. Kathy you truly amaze me. I absolutely love how you have transformed this fence. Quite stunning my friend.

Thank you for joining me in the making of my garden!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s