Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wooden Fence - Vertical Gardening

We have this awesome scalloped wood fence that surrounds our property. When I decided to increase my gardening area this year I knew immediately that I wanted to try and utilize this wood fence. My requirements were that I wanted something with a low footprint- I didn’t want to have a huge headache every time I went and mowed. I didn’t want to mar the wood in any way- if this didn’t work I didn’t want to have weakened a fairly new fence for no reason. I wanted it to be cheap- ‘cause lets face it, no one wants to spend a ton on a cucumber! And lastly, it needed to be something that could be done quickly, and without the need for heavy tools, heavy lifting, or hired out help.

I don’t want much, do I?

I first prepared the area in front of the fence. I measured out the width of space that wanted as well as the length. I dug up the earth, weeded it well, and amended it heavily. For good measure I threw down some garden cloth in what will be the area behind my vertical garden space. I didn’t spend a lot of time on this part, I just wanted to discourage the weeds and grass from coming from my neighbors house a little bit. Once I had the ground prepared I moved on to figuring out how to make my vertical dream a reality without breaking the bank.

Front View

After mulling my options I think I came up with an idea that meets my criteria.  Here’s what you’ll need:

1-60 ft. roll of four inch chicken wire (you could probably buy less if you don’t plan this much vertical length)
2- packages of 12” zip ties
wire cutters

That’s it!

First, measure out the area that you want your vertical fence to run. I decided for the sake of ease that I would just use the panels as my measuring unit. My garden runs five fence lengths long. Each panels length varies but each one is around eight feet- give or take a couple of inches.

Long View

Next, unroll the roll of chicken wire enough that you can begin to manipulate the placement of it. I decided to use the fence posts as my support beams for this and just stood the chicken wire up to the height that I wanted. I looped a zip tie through the front of the chicken wire, around the fence post, and then back through the chicken wire on the opposite side. I made sure that I had at least two “holes” in the wire separating the entrance of the tie and the exit- I didn’t want the whole weight of the wire suspended on just one hole. Attach the zip tie tightly enough that it holds the wire in place but not so tightly as to lock it down completely.

Repeat this process at the bottom.

finished fence

Unroll the wire until you get to the next main fence post. This is generally a very easy process- the only thing I had to be careful of was that I didn’t stretch out the shape too badly as I was unrolling it. When you get to the next post, simply repeat the earlier process with the chicken wire.
Continue unrolling and attaching until you’ve reached your desired length. Attach your remaining zip ties and then cut the chicken wire from the roll and bend the remaining wires towards your fence. You don’t want to walk by and have them grab you!

When you’ve finished this process you can go back and tighten each tie as well as add ties to the center of each main post. I started to add the center ties but found it easier to manipulate the roll as I went with the middle left untied.

And that’s it!


I went ahead and planted two panels of climbing peas when I finished this project. I’ll go back and plant things in front of the peas in another week or two. All in all I’m thrilled with how this project turned out and I’m interested to see if this fence will hold up to my cucumbers, beans, and melons.

My total cost for this project was less than $30.

I still plan to go back and smooth everything out and create a harder edge on the front. My plan is to use this for all of my vertical gardening needs this year. I’ll edge the front of the panels with flowers and probably some varied salad type veggies. Maybe carrots, maybe lettuce. Depends on our weather and how long the temperatures hold out.

Everything being equal, I’m very happy with how it turned out.


Karly Mittens said...

Lattice fences are framework fences that are usually made out of metal or wood, and have criss-crossed patterns of lines and designs to give them an ornamental feel.

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Larry Cohen said...

What a wonderful project, Andria! It really feels great when your DIY project turns out good. Anyway, didn't you coat the fences? It could easily break down if you let it underdone. It would absorb huge amount of moist, which would lead it's early decay.

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Jade Graham said...

I have planted Digitalis grandiflora in patches along the fence and down the hillside, so this view should keep improving over the next few years. The clematis vines (blue Clematis 'William Kennett' and red Clematis 'Earnest Markham') took a few years to get going but are quite the feature now!cedar fences company

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