Tired of your view being the neighbors windows? Learn how to build your own floating trellises that hang from the fence and add privacy to your backyard with wonderfully scented jasmine!
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Want to know a great way to instantly become friends with your neighbors? The answer is quite simple – build some trellises. In no time, your neighbors will be saying “I knew I liked those neighbors” because you created privacy for yourself and them as well. As a bonus, you will have peaceful scenery and a pleasant scent in the air to enjoy! The pleasant aroma is accomplished with the ever so popular plant of choice – jasmine. In addition, you will most likely gain neighbors as friends so either A) you can show them how you made the trellises and they can build some for themselves, or B) they can get you to make some for them. Make the most of option B and start up a little side business for yourself!
What better way to welcome springtime than with some new trellises for your garden? Granted we did not build and install these in the cool springtime breeze, instead we chose the smoldering heat of August… I do not recommend. To top it off, we built not one, not two, but thirteen trellises. Yes, you read that right. It started off as us making five for ourselves… then both of my grandmas caught wind of our project and decided they would love to have some for their yards as well. How can you say no to two grandmas? One grandma wanted five and the other wanted three. So we set to work and 4+ weekends later – after juggling a busy toddler, sweating out every toxin in our body, and ultimately dehydration – all thirteen trellises were designed, assembled, and installed. Nothing made us happier than saying we were done with this project. My husband and I weren’t exactly happy campers building that many trellises, but we both have to admit it was well worth it because we are in love with the end result! And thankfully, so are both of my grandmas! Although let’s be honest, they didn’t have much choice but to like them because we certainly weren’t building them again!
We hung our trellises outside of our dining room windows between us and the neighboring home. We have a very open concept living room, kitchen, and dining space. Basically, if the neighbors can see into those windows, they are seeing all of the common areas where we spend the most time. We did not want to have to worry about the off chance of the neighbors being able to see us in our skivvies while we make a break for the clothes in the dryer. The location of our trellises allowed us to install something outside that created privacy for us indoors. We (well, really just me) are thinking about adding a couple more to extend the line of trellises and add a little more privacy to our back patio.
Ready to get started on adding privacy to your home while creating a picturesque view?! Let’s get started!
There are two ways in which you can accomplish this:
- OPTION A: Requires stapling.
- OPTION B: Requires routing and some optional stapling.
I would like to note that we did the first one, OPTION A. We did not think about the second one, OPTION B, until after we had finished all 13 trellises. With that being said, we have not built OPTION B and therefore cannot guarantee the end result, but if you decide to give it a go let us know how it went in the comments below!
Below is the supplies needed to build ONE trellis:
- (3) 2 x 4 x 8 Top Choice Premium Wood Stud
- (1) 5/8 x 5 1/2 x 8 Cedar Fence Picket
- Not need if you do not have alternating fence panels – see Step Six below for more info.
- 3′ Wide Welded Wire Fence
- Kreg Jig Pocket Hole System
- 2 1/2” Kreg Pocket Hole Screws (IND/OUT)
- 3” Deck Screws (<< this color works perfect with the stain we used)
- Electric Drill
- Miter Saw
- Wire Cutters
- Staple Gun
- 1/2″ Heavy Duty Staples
- Stain + Sealer (<< love this color!)
- Paint pan
- Stain Brush
- Right Angle
- Needed if choosing OPTION B.
SUPPLIES: DECORATIVE HEADER
If choosing to add the decorative header, you will need the supplies listed above in addition to:
- (2) 1 x 6 x 6 Wood Board
- 45 Degree Triangle
- Circular Saw
STEP ONE: CUTS
Using the 2x4s, cut (2) 3’ pieces and (2) 7’0” pieces.
Lay out the wire and cut to 6’6” in length. Cut as close to the upper and lower width running wire as possible with the wire cutters – about 1/4”. You will have excess wire compared to the frames opening, this will be explained later.
OPTION B: If you would like to go for a slightly more finished look, use a router to route out grooves on the inner portion of the frame for the wire to slide into. Unfortunately, this was one of the design ideas we had AFTER assembling our own and sadly did not get to try this out for ourselves. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the end result, but we thought it was a good idea to share for others to give it a go! We will try this route the next time we decide to build a multitude of trellises!
Using the 2x4s, cut (2) 2’10.5″ pieces and (2) 7’0” pieces.
Lay out the wire and cut to 6’6” in length. Cut as close to the upper and lower width running wire as possible with the wire cutters – about 1/4”. You will have excess wire compared to the frames opening, this is to allow for the portion of wire being inserted into the routed out frame.
With the cut boards, route out a line along the side of the 2×4 pieces that will make up the inner frame for the wire to fit into. We would recommend the routed grooves to be 3/4″ deep and 1/8″-3/16″ wide. Route the line 1/3 away from what will be the back of the trellis.
Don’t have a Kreg Jig? Use 45 degree angles when cutting.
OPTION A: Cut (2) 3’7” pieces and (2) 7’0” pieces.
OPTION B: Cut (2) 3’5.5″ pieces and (2) 7’0″ pieces.
STEP TWO: POCKET HOLES
Break out the Kreg Jig and drill four pocket holes on the back of each 3’ piece (or its variations). Two pocket holes on each end.
Skip this step if doing 45 degree angle cuts.
STEP THREE: ASSEMBLE WOOD FRAME
Lay the wood pieces in order on a flat surface. Use a right angle to ensure 90 degree angles and drill 2.5″ Kreg screws into the pocket holes. Kreg outdoor screws recommended.
OPTION B: Slide wire into the routed grooves of the frame before securing the frame together as described above.
45 Degree Angle Cuts: drill 3” deck screws from the top and bottom of trellis to attach the 3’+ and 7’ pieces. Two screws on each corner.
STEP FOUR: ATTACH WIRE
With the wood frame laying flat, roll out the wire and clamp into place along the inner portion of the wood frame. The wire will be longer than the frames opening. Place the excess wire at the bottom of the trellis frame.
NOTE: Be careful of the sharp edges where the wire was cut. Always use protective gear – gloves and eye protection.
The trellis frame dimensions were chosen for the wire to be stapled along the inner portion of the frame rather than along the back portion. This placement makes the trellis as aesthetically pleasing as possible for both ours and the neighbors side of the trellis. It also allows for easier access for any maintenance needing to be made later if necessary – replacing staples, etc.
Once clamped into place, lay the frame propped up on its side (lengthwise) and staple the wire to the wood with the staple gun – stapling down every 2 or 3 spaces. We stapled the wire 1/3 away from what will be the back of the trellis rather than straight down the middle as shown above. Once the top and sides are stapled, simply staple the excess wire along the back of the bottom 2×4 as shown below. This is to accomplish a clean finish with no loose ends of wire at the bottom of the frame that could poke little ones fingers. We did not do this at the top in order to keep a clean appearance for our neighbors side, but were not worried about it on the bottom since it faces the fence.
OPTION B: You could choose to place a few staples around the wires edge to tack it in place, but may not be necessary.
Assembly is done!! Continue below for an optional decorative header, finishing tips, and instructions on how to install the trellises onto your fence.
OPTIONAL: DECORATIVE HEADER
For a more decorative look, you can add headers to the trellises as shown below. My grandma’s neighbor has some similar trellises that were actually the inspiration for this entire project! She chose to do the decorative header similar to her neighbors for her two stand alone trellises that are visible straight out the kitchen, dining, and living area windows. We chose simple clean lines not only to go with the modern farmhouse look of our home, but also because we had four trellises in a row and were unable to trim the trellises as such with one board. We would have to use two boards with a seam down the middle – no thanks. Plus, I personally think the decorative header makes a more pronounced statement on smaller stand alone pieces – i.e. one or two trellises together.
Using the 1x6s, cut (2) 4’6″ pieces. These two pieces will be used to sandwich the top 2×4 of the trellis. On each end, measure down from the top 2” and draw a 45 degree angle line from that point to the bottom of the 1×6 with a 45 degree triangle. Measurements are seen in the picture below. Cut along the angled line.
With your trellis laying face down, lay one decorative header under the upper 2×4 and the other on the top. Center the two pieces with the trellis and align the bottom of the header pieces with the bottom of the top 2×4 – see picture below. We used scrap wood blocks as a guide to make sure the two header pieces are even with each other.
Use 3” deck screws to attach the two pieces to the trellis frame. Do not drill the screws below the wood surface level – this will result in the screws poking through the front header.
STEP FIVE: STAIN + SEAL
After assembly is complete, sand down any necessary portions to get nice even lines around the frame. Dust off any sawdust and grab your stain brush!
NOTE: Follow the application and drying instructions on the can. Always work in a well ventilated area when working with paint, stain, or sealant. Recommend using a paint mask/respirator, gloves, and protective eyewear.
We chose to use a combined outdoor stain and sealer (this one), which eliminated an extra step from the finishing process – yay! Open and stir the can of outdoor stain + sealer before pouring a small amount into the paint pan. It is recommended to always pour out small amounts of stain or paint as needed, and not to dip directly into the products bucket. This is good practice to ensure shelf life and quality of the leftover product. Dip the brush into the stain and start staining.
NOTE: DO NOT slather the wood in stain, instead apply a thin consistent layer. Excess stain will result in visible drip lines and uneven stain coloring.
Once you have finished, allow the stain to dry completely before hanging the trellises on the fence. Refer to your stains instructions on recommended dry times.
STEP SIX: ATTACH TO FENCE
There are two different ways in which you can attach the trellises to the fence. You can use 3″ screws and attach the trellises directly onto the fence, or you can float them from your fence! We chose to float ours from the fence and absolutely love how they turned out! Not to mention, that extra space makes weaving the plant vines through the trellis easier! This installation tutorial is for floating trellises. If you choose not to float the trellises, the same concepts apply just without the 4″ blocks of 2x4s.
NOTE: These trellises are built to hang from a wood privacy fence, they are not stand alone trellises. Some prep work before installation may be necessary if you have alternating fence panels, see below. Make sure your fence is in good condition before installing trellises. We do not recommend hanging them on leaning, unstable, or rotten fence posts and pickets.
Floating trellises installed on alternating fence panels.
First things first, you need to establish where the trellis is to be hung and if that portion of the fence has alternating panels, visible framework, or flush pickets. Below are the cuts needed for if the trellis is to be hung on both sides of the alternating fence panels – such as the kind of fence line found between neighboring homes seen above. Any pieces used for installation will need to be finished, same as the trellis, with stain + sealer.
Each trellis will need (6) 2×4 blocks in order to float the trellis from the fence. The 4″ blocks cut of fence pickets are not needed if the fence panels do not alternate. They are only needed when hanging one or more trellises on both sides of alternating fence panels and accounting for the thickness of the existing fence pickets.
Exposed Frame + Flush Pickets = Alternating Panels
As illustrated above, the exposed frame requires the installation of 2x4s cut to the length of the fence frame and installed with the 3.5″ side parallel to the ground. This allows for all hanging surfaces to be flush with the 4×4 posts of the fence frame. We used (4) 3″ deck screws to attach each 2×4 to the fence frame.
If placing trellises over alternating fence panels, use only the 2×4 blocks on the flush picket side, and both the 2×4 blocks and the fence picket blocks on the framework side. This will account for the thickness of the existing fence pickets; therefore, creating a flush profile to keep the trellises in line with one another and the fence itself.
If working with flush pickets only, use 3″ deck screws to attach the 2×4 blocks directly onto the pickets in line with the framework behind as shown above. Make sure the screws are going through the pickets and into the horizontal frame behind to securely attach the trellis.
When attaching the blocks to the fence, use the trellis as the guide for placement. We chose to align the bottom of our trellises with the lowest horizontal fence framing piece. Use a level on the trellis when determining placement and during installation. After marking where the blocks are needed, center the blocks with the fence frame and drill a 3″ deck screw into the center of the each block. Place the trellis in front of the installed blocks and drill a 3″ deck screw in slightly above or below each center screw. Seeing as how the trellis can be fairly heavy, we stacked leftover pieces of 2x4s to set the trellis on while installing all six blocks for each trellis.
There you have it! Your trellis is built, installed, and ready to come to life with plants!
STEP SEVEN: PLANTING
The trellises are up and it’s time to get planting! We chose to use highly fragrant Jasmine Star (or Southern Jasmine). We were able to find the plants on clearance at a local nursery given the fact that we chose to complete this project in August and not during the ideal springtime for planting! Let’s think for a moment, purchase the plants while still in season at full price and dig during pleasant weather or purchase out of season plants at a major discount and potentially suffer a heat stroke… somehow we chose the latter. Truthfully, the whole reason we even chose to do this project now was BECAUSE we found these plants for such a good price. We also wanted to be able to create privacy between us and the neighboring house before the construction was complete. Regardless, we are very happy with how, as we call it, “Jasmine Row” turned out and it smells absolutely amazing during blooming season! We have also seen several hummingbirds and butterflies outside our windows as a result of the new addition, which I love!!
BEFORE | AFTER
After only less than a year, our jasmine more than doubled in height! The plants have reached the top of each trellis and are currently being woven throughout the trellis to thicken the foliage. We eagerly look forward to the jasmine filling in the entire space available on the trellis and having a solid wall of greenery! We will share an updated photo when it does!
We would love to see pictures of the plants you chose to display on your trellises! Tag @TheNavyHome or #TheNavyHome on social media for us to see your handiwork and green thumbs! In the meantime, if you have any questions about this tutorial, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us!
Happy building (and planting)!