• In this video, This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook shows how to hide—and beautify—an ugly concrete-block retaining wall.

    Steps:
    1. Drill three 3/16-inch-diameter pilot holes through each end of every trellis panel.
    2. Hold trellis panel against the concrete wall and about 8 inches off the ground. Check it for level with a 4-foot-long level.
    3. Use a hammer drill and 3/16-inch-diameter masonry bit to bore holes through the pilot holes in the trellis and into the concrete wall.
    4. Fasten the wood trellis to the wall with 2-inch-long masonry screws and steel washers. Drive the screws into the concrete with a cordless drill or impact driver.
    5. Repeat to install the remaining trellis panels.
    6. Dig holes for the climbing vines along base of the wall. Dig each hole two to three times larger than the pot diameter.
    7. Remove the vine from its pot and loosen the roots with a three-tine claw.
    8. Set vine in hole, tipping it slightly back toward the trellis.
    9. Mix one handful each of super-phosphate and starter fertilizer into the topsoil dug from the hole.
    10. Backfill the vine with the amended topsoil.
    11. Repeat to plant the remaining vines.
    12. Weave the long vine stems between the trellis, then tie them in place with jute string.
    13. Water the vines thoroughly and once a week throughout the summer.
    14. Spread a 2-inch layer of pine-bark mulch around all the vines.
    • Difficulty: Easy
      Only basic carpentry and gardening skills required
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      Tools List

      • four-foot level
        4-foot level
      • hammer drill
        Hammer drill, for boring holes in concrete wall
      • drill
        Drill/driver
      • trenching shovel
        Shovel
      • hand cultivator
        Cultivator, used to loosen root ball
      • pocket knife
        Pocket knife
      • metal garden rake
        Garden rake
      • wheelbarrow
        Wheelbarrow

      Shopping List

      4-foot x 6-foot wood trellis panels

      2-inch masonry screws and steel washers

      Climbing vines

      Super-phosphate and starter fertilizer

      Jute string

      Pine-bark mulch