Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Hinged Fold-Down Trellis

Six years ago I decided to put up a trellis to break up a large expanse of wall and make it a bit more interesting.  I made a sort of art nouveau wireframe trellis.  It wasn’t my greatest design but I was considering this an experiment and wasn’t greatly concerned about that.  I didn’t want to invest a lot of time and work as I believed it would be changed later.  One thing I particularly wanted to try was a fold-down mechanism to accommodate periodic house painting without destroying the trellis vine.  

I fabricated a tube and rod hinge for the bottom.  Each rod end is attached to the house siding at about the level of the sill plate.  The trellis frame is attached to the tube so it can rotate from horizontal to vertical.  In actual use it won’t need to fold gown more than about 45º.  When the trellis is folded into the upright position there needs to be a keeper mechanism at the top.  A couple of eye screws and some wire will work.

I installed the trellis and decided right away that I didn’t get the visual scale large enough but that could be remedied later.  I planted a honeysuckle vine and it quickly grew up onto the structure.  While the plant was still relatively small the trellis could be folded away and the vine was not damaged. 

At that point I felt like I had demonstrated the feasibility of using the fold-down design.  However, there was more to be learned here.  First, the vine growth will soon totally obscure the structure of the trellis so no fancy design is worth making.  In the future I would plan to just make the frame simple and light in weight.

Also, I didn’t envision the vine jumping to the siding and using it as a climbing aid.  Now that the vine is doing that I’ll have to deal with it.  One thing I’d consider in the design is making the standoff from the house a greater distance - perhaps a foot or more.

The experiment didn’t turn out to have nice visual result I had in mind but it gave me the experience to develop a few opinions about trellis design and some birds seem to like it just as it is.

1 comment:

  1. Are you producing these for sale, it's exactly what I was looking for, for the same reason you state. Break up a large wall on the south side of the house, and provide shade, but allow for maintenance.


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