Have you ever had a house with a carport? I've lived in so many different houses over the course of my life, but this is actually the first time I've had a house with a carport. The upside about ours is that during the warm months, I can use the shade of the carport as a work area for outdoor projects, but the downside is that the carport is located directly next to our backyard patio area. I have to say that from the start, it was one of my least favorite things about the house. I mean, who wants to be having a beautiful backyard Saturday brunch four feet from their automobiles? Not exactly the backyard ambience I was going for…
I thought about building a wall where the carport and deck meet up, but our house backs up against some woods, and my husband loves the panoramic view of the trees from the porch. So he nixed that idea pretty quickly. The next best idea was some sort of trellis that would create the feeling of a barrier without blocking the view of the trees on that side of the yard. I actually found a clipping from a mid century magazine that had this pattern for the same type of situation. So I knew it would be perfect for the spot and fit with our mid century theme. HOORAY!
There were already existing hooks hanging down across the roofline (probably had hanging planters there before), and I figured I could build a trellis panel that could hang down from those hooks and bury the bottom of the trellis into the ground below for extra security (so not all the weight would be hanging from the hooks above). I used Photoshop to make a mockup of the pattern I wanted to make sure the dimensions were right, and once I had my pattern, I was ready to start building!
I knew I would need two 14" and two 11.25" length boards to make each square, and the pieces that connected the squares would be 6" long. I used my pattern to determine how many of each board I would need, and then I used my chop saw to cut all the pieces from 2"x 2" x 8' outdoor treated boards. When cutting a lot of the same length board, it's helpful to use the same original piece over and over again to measure each cut so that the boards don't get slightly bigger and bigger or smaller and smaller each time.
Once the whole thing was filled in, I put long boards across the top and down the sides and cut them to fit the right width and height for the opening.
Now that all the pieces were there and my pattern was complete, I used a nail gun to put together each square first and then attached them together with all the 6" connecting pieces. I ended up also putting in a long wood screw in almost every place I put a nail as well, so if you don't have a nail gun, I actually think a drill and wood screws will work fine (although nailing them first is helpful to keep the whole thing together while you put the screws in).
Once the trellis was assembled, I put heavy-duty screw eye hooks on the top bar of the trellis (in the same location of the hooks that were already installed in the roofline) and dug down into the planter directly under the roofline so that we could bury the bottom of the trellis into the ground when we installed it. Now it was time to put it up!
While the trellis wasn't necessarily that heavy for something so large, it was very delicate. So trying to just pick it up seemed impossible without harming it. I decided that the best way to go would be to clamp five long boards across the trellis so that it would have some support when lifted from the sides. Once we could lift it up vertically, we carefully walked it over to the porch, set it down into the trench we had dug out, and hung it onto the hooks that hung from above. You can bet we did a major happy dance that it didn't break in the process! We probably should have had more people helping us to make sure it was adequately supported, but we were so excited we couldn't wait! Patience is not my strong suit…
Now that the trellis was installed, it was time to paint the wood with exterior paint (a small thin roller worked best for all the crevices) and fill all the joints with an outdoor caulk. Filling all the joints is a bit of a pain, but it really made a big difference in having the trellis look like one unit rather than a ton of small pieces, and it will help weatherize the trellis so it will last longer.
Once all the painting and filling was complete, I planted some fan palms and a Peruvian cactus in the planter bed and sat back on the porch to take it all in! The cactus will have to come inside when it gets cold, but the fan palms should be able to live through the winter here in Tennessee…
I LOVE how this trellis came out! It was definitely quite a bit of work with such an intricate design, but the final product is so worth it! It's great to feel like we have a bit of separation from the cars now and we could even train vines to grow up the trellis if we wanted more privacy too. So glad this project turned out so well! On to the next one! xo. Laura
Credits // Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.