Lively Lattice

This 7-foot-tall privacy fence is perfect for any backyard gardener looking for a place to plant climbing flowers and creeping vines (see photo 4). Long, horizontal lattice panels near the top of the fence provide support for clinging plants. Each panel consists of a 2x8-foot piece of diagonal lattice set into a 2x4 frame. The frame pieces are grooved to accept the 1/2-inch-thick lattice.

Construction. To start, set 4x4 posts 8 feet on center. Leave 80 inches of the posts sticking out of the ground. Then screw horizontal 2x4 rails between the posts. Position the upper rail approximately 4 to 6 inches. from the top of the posts and the lower rail about 6 inches above the ground.

Next, cut off the upper corners of the 1x6 fence boards at a 45-degree angle to create the dog ear 3/4 design shown. Fasten the 1x6s to the 2x4 rails with 6d galvanized nails.

With the basic fence in place, cut the 1/2x1/2-inch grooves for the lattice panels into the 2x4s. The quickest, easiest way is on a table saw with a dado blade, but you can also use a router or even a portable circular saw. Prefabricated lattice comes in 4x8-foot sheets; most home centers and lumberyards carry both diagonal and square pattern types. Rip the sheets in half lengthwise with a circular saw or sabre saw.

Assemble the lattice panels by screwing together the three parts of the 2x4 frame, fastening the 26-inch-long end pieces to the 95-inch-long frame top. Then carefully insert the lattice panel, making sure it fits into the grooves. Slip on the bottom of the frame and screw it in place.

To secure the assembled lattice panels to the fence, simply screw through the back of the 1x6 fence boards and into the 2x4 frame. Use at least six 2-inch galvanized deck screws per panel. On the fence shown in the photo, the panels are located about 6 inches down from the top. But you can fasten them anywhere along the fence, including close to the ground for support of creeping ground-cover plants.
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