Magazine article Sunset

Portable Vines ... Grown in a Barrel Trellis

Magazine article Sunset

Portable Vines ... Grown in a Barrel Trellis

Article excerpt

SCRAMBLING UP A TRELLIS a colorful flowering vine provides a striking vertical focal point for a patio, a deck, or any quiet corner of the garden.

The barrel trellis shown here is portable, making it particularly suitable for frost-tender vines like Mandevilla |Alice du Pont'. Heavy-duty casters allow the barrel to be easily moved to a protected area during winter.

If you plant the container with annuals such as sweet peas, you can roll it out of view when the plant stops blooming, replant it with another vine like morning glory, and move it back out during its prime flower display.

The easy-to-build trellis, put together for $70 without using expensive power tools, can be constructed by any beginning woodworker in less than a day.

All the cuts can be made with a handsaw. You'll also need an electric (or hand) drill, a chisel, a tape measure, a hammer, paintbrushes, wire cutters, and a staple gun.

To begin the project, buy an oak half-barrel at a nursery or garden supply store. If you can't find one, use any large, sturdy wooden container (at least 24 inches in diameter).


Start by tacking the metal barrel rings in place with roofing nails, so they don't slip if the barrel dries out and shrinks. Tack above and below each band on opposite sides.

Turn the barrel over and bolt the three casters into predrilled holes in the bottom. Position casters near the rim and equidistant from one another.

While the barrel is turned over, drill several 3/4- to 1-inch-wide drainage holes in the bottom.

To preserve the barrel from decay, coat the interior with two layers of asphalt roofing adhesive (use a wide brush). Start the application about 2 inches below the rim, so it's not visible when the pot is filled with soil. Allow the first coat to dry before applying the second. Clear the drain holes.

To prevent weathering on the outside, brush on several coats of linseed oil. You can also coat the metal rings with a rust-inhibiting paint. When the coatings have dried, screw on the drawer pulls on opposite sides.


Cut the 7-foot 2-by-2s into 6 1/2-foot lengths. To prevent decay on ends that sit in soil, coat the lower 1 1/2 feet of each post with wood preservative.

To make the cross-support, cut the 8-foot 2-by-2 in half. …

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