Repurposed Wire Mesh Shelf into a Hanging Garden Trellis


This project was born last summer when we went to the local consignment auction.  At about 2:00 am them auctioned off a wire mesh cube shelf set that was in a box.  No idea how many pieces were there or what we would do with it, but no one was bidding for a dollar…so we jumped in and bid.  Seemed like we could find a use for it somewhere.  Originally it probably looked like this:

Wire mesh shelving unit.

Wire mesh cube shelf that we bought at auction last summer for a dollar.

Wire mesh cube shelf that we bought at auction last summer for a dollar.  There were 25 pieces in the box.  

Fast forward to last weekend.  My wife, Margo, and my dad were talking about a trellis for the front yard vegetable garden.  We like to have veggies in the front yard because our kitchen window overlooks it and it makes it really easy to pick side dishes to go with dinner.  Just look outside and see what’s ripe.  Last year we had three different trellises and it looked a bit junky.  Given that this is our front yard, Margo wanted something that was sturdy, aesthetically pleasing, and cheap.  Cheap being the word that makes her smile with glee.

Tiny little trellis from last year couldn't keep up with our cucies.  This is the wall we need to cover.

Tiny little trellis from last year couldn’t keep up with our cucies. This is the wall we need to cover.

My dad saw the shelving and they started hashing out a plan.  The plan went from a stake-in-the-ground trellis to a hanging trellis.  They perused the garage and found a piece of conduit about 8 feet long for the top bar that we could suspend under the eave.

It took us a few tries laying it out in a pattern that we liked.  We were confined to the garage as stormy weather was on the way.   Margo comes from a family of quilters so she liked how the squares took on a geometric design.  We also made sure the gaps were big enough we could reach between the squares to pick our produce.

Laying out the shelving pieces to get the pattern we wanted.

Laying out the shelving pieces to get the pattern we wanted.

We decided to connect it with hog rings since they are cheap, sturdy, and we could probably find uses for the extras.  We made a trip to the local farm and garden store for supplies.

Purchased supplies.  Cost was 2.59 for the hog rings, and 1.29 each for the hooks.  I bought three of them.

Purchased supplies. Cost was 2.59 for the hog rings, and 1.29 each for the hooks. I bought three of them.

We gathered up tools:

Tools for the project.  Drill with drill bit slightly smaller than the hooks, tiny drill bit for metal screws at the end of the conduit.  Pliers or hog pliers, wire cutters in case you need to remove one, screwdriver.

Tools for the project. Drill with drill bit slightly smaller than the hooks, tiny drill bit for metal screws at the end of the conduit. Pliers or hog pliers, wire cutters in case you need to remove one, screwdriver.

Hog ringing without the proper pliers is easiest as a two person job.  Margo got the hog ring held in the pliers, then I held the wires squares so she could fasten them.  Real hog pliers have little dimples on the sides to hold the rounded ends.  Our farm store sold them for about $14.  We figured we could make do with regular pliers.

In the absence of hog ring pliers, we used regular pliers and  put the hog ring in sideways.

In the absence of hog ring pliers, we used regular pliers and put the hog ring in sideways.

How we held the screens together to hog ring them.

How we held the screens together to hog ring them.

 

Hog ringing is a two handed job.

Hog ringing is a two-handed job.

 

Hog ring in place.  Makes a nice triangle.

Hog ring in place. Makes a nice triangle.

 

We did 4 vertical rows point to point, and one set of horizontal squares between them.  Then we decided it would be easiest to hang what we had so far, and hog ring the rest of the squares in place.

We drilled three holes into studs under the eave and screwed in our hooks.  We had them alternate direction so there is no way it can come out of the hooks.  We slid it in place from the end.  We found 4 cheap carabiners in the kids rooms to use to hold the wire mesh on the conduit.  Sorry, didn’t get a picture of that.

Conduit hanging under the eave.

Conduit hanging under the eave.

We also drilled holes in the end of the conduit and put some metal screws in the end so the carabiners can’t slide off.  Because we used a scrap piece of conduit, the carabiners are right at the edge of the conduit.  If we had conduit a few inches longer than the span of the hanging trellis, we could have skipped this step.

Drilling screws in the end of the conduit

Drilling screws in the end of the conduit as a stop.

The finished project doesn’t quite touch the ground.  Our plan is to use some temporary stakes when we put our plants in with string so they can climb to the first part of the trellis.  This will also limit the amount of sway that the trellis might have in the wind.  We don’t want our wee plants getting ripped out of the ground in a harsh wind.

Side view to show how far it is from the wall.

Side view to show how far it is from the wall.

 

Angle view so you can see the pattern.  From the road it's not very visible.

Angle view so you can see the pattern. From the road it’s not very visible. It has gaps big enough for us to reach behind the mesh grid pieces and pick our produce.  This view shows the diagonal grid pieces best   

 

Another view, still hard to see against the grey wall.

Another view, still hard to see against the grey wall. This angle shows the horizontal grids better.  Impending storm didn’t allow for very good lighting. 

Now the lemon cucumbers and peas have a place to call home.  Just as soon as it’s warm enough to put them outside.

 

 

 

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