This is a simple job I tried to make more difficult. A few months ago,
in an attempt to cover up the A/C unit (the one I just finished building
a box around), my mom purchased some lattice panels which she
briefly had surrounding it. The pieces weren't big enough to do the
trick, and it didn't work visually. So she took them down and waited
for me to arrive.
She asked me to hang them on the back-yard fence to be used as a
rose trellis. The bush that would train to it was leaning heavily to the
right, growing towards the morning sun, and needed to be corralled.
Her idea for the trellis was to just provide an anchor space to attach
the rose to. She wanted them flat against the fence, but that seemed a
little too boring to me.
Step 1: Concept
My idea was to have them hung at an angle from the fence, sort of
like a shutter on a hinge. My only reasoning was visual: it would
provide some vertical complexity to the space, drawing the eye up
from her planting beds, and present the roses more directly to the
house and the back deck (which will be the primary viewing
angle). My mom remained insistent that they should be flat.
I tried to justify my idea with science, but it failed me. I did some
digital shadow studies to prove that the roses would grow better at
an angle, but that didn't pan out. I argued that in my design, she
could train the branches behind the panels and the buds would push through the trellis towards the sun
(creating a framed canvas), but she's the gardener and threw out that argument.
After a week of tears and tension, I got the go ahead on a revised design, and got to work on the job.
Step 2: Prepping the Panels
Before I could begin hanging them, I had to shore-up the panels themselves.
They were designed to be set on the ground, and I could tell that they would
fall apart if not reinforced. I strengthened the outside joint (which was only
glued before) with a steel plate. That would stay together forever, but the
entire panel was in danger of deflecting over time. This problem is solved in
wooden gates with the installation of an ANTI-SAG GATE KIT. But those
kits are overkill for my panels, and would cost a total of $60 for 4 at the local
hardware store. I created my own sized-down version for a total of $14.
My kit involved double strung 50lb picture wire (as I'm writing this, I realize
they may rust) supporting the outside corner of the panels and fighting hard
against gravity. They are attached to the frame
clamped between two washers which are
tightened together by bolts. Still a bit of overkill,
but it will definitely do the job. I thought about
reinforcing the corners with angle straps, but
thought this was a more elegant solution.
Step 3: Installation & Results
Installation was as simple as screwing into the 2x4 horizontal framing of the fence on the hinge side of the panels. I pre-drilled through the panel frame to avoid splitting. Holding the angle and connecting the panels to the fence was accomplished by throwing in a single 1x4 support. This was measured and cut to allow for the 25° angle I wanted.
Now I have to wait and see if the roses will like it or not. And if they don't, I have to convince my mom to get more suitable plants rather than more suitably hung panels.