Tag Archives: courtyard

Build a Fence or Trellis – “Court”-yard Garden Project

I’m not sure what the weather is like in your neck of the woods, but it got up to 108° here in Austin today, the 49th straight day over 100°. Having to pace myself in this heat is making my progress on the “Court”-yard Garden project a little slower than anticipated.

I got a good start on building the raised beds by getting seven of them done. I’m using the same technique to build them that I detailed in an article I posted in April titled Raised Bed Gardening.

I also got a good start on building the cedar 2×4 and cattle panel fence and trellis sections. I spent a little extra time developing the techniques and processes for building these in a modular fashion while minimizing waste of my raw materials. Here is a look at the project as of today.

The structure, and method of building both a 36” high fence section, and a 6’ high trellis is the same.

What You Need
– 2” x 4” x 8’ cedar boards
– 50” x 16’ cattle panel fence sections
– Galvanized steel deck hanger brackets
– Table saw
– Bolt cutter
– Hammer
– Level
– Nails
– Deck screws

Determine the Desired Size
Determine the desired outside dimensions of the fence section to be built. I left 36” between each row of raised beds, and I wanted each fence section to be 36” high, with the bottom being 5 ½” off the ground. That resulted in each fence section between raised beds having an outside dimension of 36” long by 30 ½” tall. Each trellis was 6’ tall by 4’ wide.

Design Considerations
I decided to use the 2x4s on edge, with the wider side of each board being vertical. One of the most time consuming aspects of the build was my decision to use the table saw to cut a 1” deep by ¼” wide groove on the inside edge of each 2×4 into which the cattle panel fence piece would seat. You could always just use staples to nail the cattle panel fence section onto the 2×4 pieces, but I really liked the more finished look of my method.

I also used galvanized steel deck hanger brackets to support each horizontal 2×4. You could just toe-nail the horizontal piece to the vertical piece, but again, I liked the look of the bracket when used in conjunction with the galvanized steel cattle panel fence.

Here’s a look at a completed fence section:

Measure Twice, Cut Once
Cut two vertical supports to the desired height, 6’ for a trellis, and 3’ for a fence section. As the horizontal pieces will be mounted on the inside of the vertical supports, subtract 7 ¼”, the width of two 2x4s, from the total outside wide of the section to be built. For a trellis that will be 48″ wide, that results in a horizontal piece that needs to be cut to 40 ¾”. The horizontal fence pieces will be 36” long.

Cut the Groove and Assemble
Use the table saw to cut the groove into which the cattle panel fence section will seat. Nail the deck hangers to the vertical supports at the desired height. Use deck screws to mount the vertical pieces to the outside of a raised bed being sure to check for plumb and level.

Use the bolt cutters to cut a piece of the cattle panel fence that will fit in the grooves cut in the 2x4s and insert the piece into the grooves. Finally, fit the horizontal piece into the deck hanger while fitting the cattle panel fence section into the groove in the horizontal piece, check for level, and nail into place.

Get Creative
This modular method can be used in many applications. Make fence sections that can be mounted to 4×4 posts set into the ground for an attractive fence. Combine two vertical trellis sections with a smaller fence section mounted across the top and between the two for an arbor.

That’s where the project stands now, I’ll keep you posted.