Fence Trellis Brackets

6,309

96

13

Introduction: Fence Trellis Brackets

About: Business System Admin M-F ... Drum shop side hustle on Sat ... DIY enthusiast in spare time. I have a full workshop in my basement, which continuously evolves, as does my interests and skill level. I enjoy mak…

Over the course of many years, I've been slowly expanding my backyard garden infrastructure. It started by planting directly in the ground in a back corner, which had insufficient sun exposure. This was fine for lettuce and parsley, which was what the pet rabbits wanted, but not much else thrived.

From there I switched to individual pots for more control over the soil and sun exposure. This year, I ramped up the operation following the removal of several trees in the neighbor's yard (sunlight) and dying bushes in my yard (space). Three raised beds, additional pots for herbs, and a composting bin.

We started with two squash plants in one of the beds, but of course they tried to take over the entire town ... then were killed by a combination of beetles and powdery mildew. For the second squash attempt, we decided to plant directly in the ground along a fence, which started out great ... then two of the plants turned out to be more of a spreading/climbing variety and were taking over the lawn

I decided the solution was to run them vertically, but that came with a few limitations.
1. The new wooden fence belongs to my neighbor and I don't want to fill it full or screw/nail holes.
2. This isn't a permanent planting location, so I didn't want to build a large trellis.
3. When I finally get a fence built, things will probably need to be moved around.

I had an idea for a nondestructive and easily removable fence bracket and what better way to use up shop scraps than building prototypes.

Supplies

2 x 4 offcuts
1" dowel stock
1 1/2" stainless screws

Step 1: Dowel Lengths

I started by rounding up 1" dowel offcuts and cutting them to a standardized length using the small parts crosscut sled on the table saw.

Due to available material and saw kerf lossage, this ended up being 11 5/8" ... two came in at 10".

Step 2: Ripping Board Stock

For the board stock, I'm using up 2x4 offcuts, which would otherwise end up in a fire pit.

The blade was set to half the height of a board and fence to half a board width. Run one side - flip - run the other side.

I then ran all the boards through the drum sander to remove tooling marks. It's not necessary, but I have the sander and it's fun to use.

Step 3: Board Lengths

The crosscut sled and stop block was used to batch out 5" lengths. Minimal offcuts were tossed into the burn bucket.

Step 4: Boards Widths

These were then ripped down to 3" wide. I'm not sure why I chose this order instead of ripping first, but either way works.

Step 5: Hole Layout

Every board gets marked for a hole at 1 1/2" in from each long edge (the center of the board) and 1" in from each end grain/short edge.

Step 6: Hole Drilling

Each board received a 1" through hole on one end of the board using a Forstner bit. This was made easily repeatable by setting the fence on the drill press table and then clamping a speed square to the table.

I'd drill most of the way through from the first side, then flip the board to finish the hole from the opposite side in order to eliminate tear out.

At this point, the boards were split into two piles before drilling the second holes.

Front/adjustable boards get a 1/8" countersunk hole large enough for a stainless wood screw.
Back/fixed board get a 1/8" pilot hole.

Step 7: Assembly

Assembly is also quick and easy.

The 1"dowel is glued into the hole of the back board and pinned with two brad nails.

The front board is then slid onto the dowel. I used some scrap plywood to keep the parts from binding (and away form wet glue) as I ran/threaded the screw for the first time.

Since this is a test, I opted for no finish, but I'd probably use boiled linseed oil or shellac.

Step 8: Glamour Shots

The bracket just slips onto the top of the fence between two boards. Since this fence has dog-eared boards, the dowel nicely settles into the V recess.

The front board is pressed towards the back like a clamp and the screw, holds them in place.
Note: The screw runs between fence boards, so no destructive/unsightly holes.

I then ran a few loops of twine between the base of the plant and the dowel. Initially, I secure to bottom to the round with some wire steaks, but they kept backing out. I upgraded them to longer 2x4 offcuts, which were hammered into the ground. I think tent stakes would work nicely.

As the plants grew, I would thread them through the twine and for the most part, they didn't consume the fence. Towards the end of the season, a few did decide to grow over the fence, but the neighbors garden as well and didn't mind.

As a proof of concept, the idea works, but I have a few take aways:

1. The afore mentioned bottom stake upgrade is a must.
2. I only ran the twine vertically for each individual plant. I probably should've also run diagonals between each plant and a horizontal run across the top. This might've created more stability and grab-ons for the plants.
3. When I removed the brackets, I found that each one had become a home for a clan of earwigs. I didn't detect any damage to the fence because of this ... just a bit creepy. Not sure if I can resolve this .. maybe a section of foam dowel, but I'm not sure how that holds up outdoors.
4. One of the boards developed a crack and will eventually split in half. Probably no way of entirely avoiding that .. unless you use composite materials.

1000th Contest

Participated in the
1000th Contest

Be the First to Share

    Recommendations

    • One Board Contest

      One Board Contest
    • New Year, New Skill Student Design Challenge

      New Year, New Skill Student Design Challenge
    • Photography Challenge

      Photography Challenge

    13 Comments

    0
    LeslieGeee
    LeslieGeee

    1 year ago

    Hi Bales, Great idea thank you for sharing. Problem is that earwigs like dark tight spaces. You can easily resolve that by just either drilling the hole in the fence to fit the dowel and caulking the dowel in OR getting pipe flanges to fit the dowel epoxy the dowel in ( make sure the epoxy or caulk is waterproof and then just screw the flange to the fence.:). No space for the earwigs to get in and yes they are creepy lol.

    0
    -BALES-
    -BALES-

    Reply 1 year ago

    I could, but it's my neighbor's relatively new fence and I don't want to fill it with holes, which is how I ended up taking this adventure in the first place.

    0
    LeslieGeee
    LeslieGeee

    Reply 1 year ago

    Understood :)

    0
    Live2wire65
    Live2wire65

    1 year ago on Step 8

    Nice job!
    I hadn't thought about something like this, I have been entertaining the idea of raised planter boxes as we have a couple of dogs and a passel of possum's in the area.
    Mark

    0
    -BALES-
    -BALES-

    Reply 1 year ago

    I'm enjoying the raised beds. I wish they were larger (3x5), but it's a small yard. We have a groud hog the size of an adult beaver and then a squad of grey squirrels.

    0
    silkier
    silkier

    1 year ago

    Great idea, had a fight with a trombone gourd vine this year (largely my fault for long absences) but something like this will improve things for next year.
    Thanks.

    0
    silkier
    silkier

    Reply 1 year ago

    I wanted to vote for this but can't see where you've entered it.
    Simple but effective, love it.

    0
    -BALES-
    -BALES-

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you. It was in the 1000th contest, which is over. I'm currently crossing fingers for the Halloween Contest.

    0
    PaHalloweenFreak
    PaHalloweenFreak

    1 year ago on Step 8

    Very cool idea! This gives you more room in even a bigger garden by letting things climb vertically, instead of all over your garden.
    Maybe try using pool noodle pieces, cut to fill in the void where the creepy earwigs are taking up residence. :D
    Nice Instructable!

    0
    -BALES-
    -BALES-

    Reply 1 year ago

    I wonder if it's the same type of foam .. hmm. At least with pool noodles, you know they can survive outside. Solid idea.

    0
    DennisO48
    DennisO48

    1 year ago

    Simplicity wins again!

    0
    wordsnwood
    wordsnwood

    1 year ago

    Good luck...

    152 entries, and the subject matter is all over the crazy place. How on earth are they planning to judge this one!

    0
    -BALES-
    -BALES-

    Reply 1 year ago

    No idea, but figured I might as well get in on the celebration.