Construct a trellis screen to make a vine-covered garden wall

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about my winter-garden eyesore, the trampoline. Undisguised at this time of year by towering summer perennials like Tecoma stans (Yellow Bells), the safety-netted, blue-and-green plaything is the unfortunate view from my back porch. A trio of colorful birdhouses on 5-foot posts in the mid-garden weren’t helping either, looking spindly without the perennials growing around them.

After considering my options, I decided to build a cedar-and-wire trellis to screen the trampoline and contain the view, copying one I’d long admired at Zilker Gardens. It took me a week to round up the materials I needed and another week to find the time to construct it. Here’s the play-by-play.

BEFORE. Hulking trampoline in the late-winter garden. I’d already cut down the birdhouse posts at this point, which used to be behind the muhly grasses and the yellow pot, in the mid-garden between the patio and the playspace.

DURING. Three fencing T-posts stand at 5-foot intervals. My husband pounded them in about 2 feet deep using a T-post driver, a nifty tool I picked up at Lowe’s. The driver is a heavy, metal cylinder with a handle on either side, which slips over the top of the T-post. You lift the driver and pound it down on the post, driving it into the ground. This worked great in our clay soil. In the rocky part of Austin, I suspect you’d have to use a jackhammer.

I made sure the posts were straight using a level, and when they were in, we attached a 10-foot-long x 5-foot-high section of cattle panel fencing, a heavy-duty, non-rollable wire. We bowed the panel slightly to give the screen a gentle curve. Then I threaded galvanized wire through the T-posts and around sections of the panel, pulling and twisting the wire together to lock it in place.

Next I sank three 7-foot cedar posts about 6 inches in the ground and wired them to the T-posts. From the front, the cedar posts appear to be supporting the fence panel, but the steel T-posts are doing all the work. A clever disguise.

AFTER. The sun was going down by the time I finished this project. When the trellis screen was complete, I planted a crossvine against it. Crossvine is evergreen, and this one has yellow flowers with red throats in the spring. I’m hoping for a few blooms this spring, but who knows. Best of all, though, the screen and the vine are already collaborating to keep my eyes on the garden, hang a veil across the kids’ playspace, and add a little height to the mid-garden.

10 Responses

  1. Colleen says:

    Pam, I love it! That is going to look just gorgeous with the vine growing up it. My kids are just starting to acquire all of that back yard “stuff,” so I know I’ll be dealing with screening soon, too :-)

    Yes, that kid stuff has a way of taking over. Of course, my kids (rightly) complain that my garden “stuff” has taken over, so there ya go. —Pam

  2. Good job well done Pam. It will be very nice once the vine has grown a bit to screen the trampoline. No doubt, we are going to see some pictures of that too in the future.

    BTW when exactly are you going to be in Amsterdam? Some gardens are only open on specific days.

    Thanks, Y.E. I’ll email you about Amsterdam. —Pam

  3. I can’t believe how much the wire and posts can do to minimize our notice of the trampoline… not blocking it as much as neutralizing it and taking away the visual power.
    You amaze me, Pam!
    Annie at the Transplantable Rose

    Thanks, Annie. I really love how it not only screens an unwanted view but brings definition to the garden around the patio. I can think of so many uses for a screen like this: to hide a compost bin, to define and give a feeling of security to an exposed seating area, to make “walls” in a garden room. I just wish I had a bigger garden so I could build another one. —Pam

  4. Very nice. Will you come and build me one? Seriously, though…where do you find that kind of wire. I see it everywhere in people’s yards but I never see it at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

    I love how a screen can add so much definition to a garden…enlarging the space when you think it would have the opposite feeling of making it crowded or cramped.

    :-) I have admired this same type of screen at Zilker Botanical Garden for so many years, and I was happy to find a place for one in my own garden. As you said, it does wonders for making a space feel larger.

    I found the wire at Callahan’s out by the airport. They have excellent service—really helpful and friendly salespeople. —Pam

  5. Kelly says:

    Help. I have a wooden box about 3′ x 3′ x 1’high near the middle of my yard that the hose and water pipes are in and go down about 4 feet. It is well covered no kids can get hurt in it, but what an eyesore. What can I do??? I wish we could move it, but hubby says no. How can I hide it in some kind of garden idea?

    Ask your local nursery for a garden-designer referral. Hire someone to come out, look at your situation, and draw you a plan. That’s the ticket to a great solution. —Pam

  6. […] New Trellis Screen (Pam at Digging): Check out the cool screen Pam constructed from posts and a cattle-fencing panel to separate the play and sitting spaces in her backyard. […]

  7. Very nice trellis! I’ve been looking to screen an area of the yard and hadn’t considered something like this until now.

    I use cattle panels (also known as feedlot panels) to fence in my vegetable garden. One nationwide resource for them is Tractor Supply Co.

    Do you have any photos of this after the vine filled it in? I’d love to see how the crossvine looks on it!


    Hi, Brian. Great idea. I’ve just posted a follow-up with pics (see the pingback comment below this one). Check it out. —Pam

  8. […] year ago last spring, I built a simple trellis screen out of a heavy-gauge wire panel, three T-posts, and three cedar posts in order to separate the back […]

  9. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    I just read your update Pam. This turned out really nice.

    Thanks, Lisa. —Pam

  10. […] moped about the trampoline that hulks in my garden. In my old garden, I disguised it with a trellis screen. In the new garden, we’ve installed it on the lowest level of the lot, where it’s […]