Thursday, November 15, 2012

Easy Vine Trellis

I love all flowering vines, but bougainvillea especially remind of tropical climates, ocean breezes, and cerulean skies.  When I was a child, my family had them growing up over the wooden beams of our lanai in Hawaii.  The thorns were ominous, so I learned to admire the plants from a safe distance.
These beautiful plants can also grow here in the desert.  They are cold hardy to about 40 degrees, so they may need some special care on chilly winter nights, but they love the summer sun and heat that we have here. The blooms come in several colors, including shades of white, red, pink, yellow, orange, and purple.

Photos by MM Del Rosario Gallery

The brilliant hues really contrast nicely with the browns and reds of our desert landscape.
You can buy them on a stake, on a trellis, or in a simple pot, but somehow I think they look happiest with a structure to climb on.  

Here is the vine I had purchased last year.  
It was in a small pot with just one stake to climb on.  

Walking through a local plant nursery one day, I saw this plant shown at left, and realized how simple and inexpensive it would be to build my own trellis. 

You could use smaller landscape stakes, like the ones shown in the photo, or you could use larger pieces of lumber like I did, to make it look more polished and permanent.  

Here is the plan for the one I built, with estimated costs.  It can easily be adapted for your space, and used for bougainvillea or other vines.

Materials List:
6 - 1”x 2” x 8’ furring strips ($6)
30 - #6  1 ¼ “ screws ($2)
Power drill with phillips head drill bit
1 qt. outdoor paint or stain (optional) ($5-$10)
Power or hand saw (optional)

Cut List:

2- 1”x 2”x 77”

2- 1”x 2”x 65”

9 – 1" x 2” x 18”

1. Cut all wood down to strips. 
Optional: Cut corners off of the 77" piece bottoms, to make it easier to insert them into the ground. 
2. Lay the 2 77" pieces down on a level surface, so that their outer edges are 18" apart.

3.  Place the 2 65" pieces evenly spaced between the 77" pieces.

4. Place the top 18" on top of the long pieces, across their top edges.  Drill pilot holes, then screw them into place, making sure they are level.

5. Place the bottom 18" pieces across the long pieces, 12" from the bottom of the longer stakes, and even with the shorter stakes.
6. Place the remaining 7 horizontal pieces in place.  Drill pilot holes and screw them into the vertical pieces.

7. Sand the wood to remove any splinters, and finish with paint or stain.  Allow to dry.
8. Dig holes at least 6" deep and place the trellis into the ground behind the plant. (I faced the sides with the screws toward the back.)
9. Tie branches of the plant to the trellis with landscape tape or twisty-ties.