Monday, April 2, 2012

Trellis Post Caps

I am in need of some creative brainstorming...

My privacy trellises are made from hollow pipe, so I need to put caps on the top ends to prevent them from getting wet inside and to give them a finished look.

I bought some caps that are made to fit the end of the pipe I bought, but their design is meant to be funtional not decorative so I need to transform them somehow. 

Here is a handful of views of them (see what I did there?  har har)

I could just paint them to match and string a top wire through them.

They could be the fixtures for a stabilizing cross-post, which I hope I do not need.

I could cut off the flange, paint to match and just have caps.  Boring.

I could use the flange as a support underneath something cute - of course that's what I really want to do - but what?  I thought about crafting felt birds to sit on top, but they wouldn't weather well.

I thought about affixing some object of colored glass that would catch the light...

I thought about carving some little wooden widget of some kind...

Do you have any ideas for me?  I need 4....

Privacy Trellis Construction Begins

With prime Spring planting time upon us, Red and I got started on the construction of my privacy trellises.  My house sits on considerably higher ground than my next door neighbor, and I feel as though I am towering over them, looking down at them.  I actually am looking down at their driveway - and we are friends and they claim they don't feel like I am looking out at them all the time, but nonetheless, we agreed some privacy screening would be nice.  The trellises will provide the extreme height that is needed, and also will be quite narrow - perfect for the sideyard.

We are building two; one to go outside my dining room windows, and one to go outside my living room windows.  If they turn out as fab as I expect, I will likely want one at the end of my porch as well, but probably using cedar 4x4's as in the photo below instead of pipe.

I dreamt up the design for the trellises by looking a ton of trellis photos and privacy screens online.  Ultimately this design became the basis for my design:

Photo Credit:
Mine will be out of galvanized fence top rails, painted (copper color) to match my gutters, set in concrete, with braided fishing line (it's green!) strung between the posts.  Mine will also be an astonishing 10 feet tall...

And so we begin.

First, I scrubbed down the pipes with detergent to remove the oily coating.  I rinsed them, and dried them, in preparation for priming for painting.

Next I brushed on primer.  I had primer especially for galvanized metal left over from my corrugated pipe project. (You can read about that here: )
I bought the primer in a gallon can at Sherwin Williams.

Here are the pipes primed, and clamped down for the next step:

Next we marked off the bottom 20 inches, which is the portion that will be sunk underground in concrete.  Then we marked off every 6 inches up from that.  Each six inch mark will be a row of fishing line strung between the posts for vines to climb on.  We marked the lines, with a hash mark to mark the middle of the pipe:

Red drilled a hole into the pipe (not all the way through to the other side, just through the top side) and I followed behind him with self tapping screws.  His drill hole was just slightly smaller than the screw diameter for a tight fit.

I didn't screw the screws in all the way - allowing us to later wrap the fishing line around the screw post, and then screw it in the rest of the way to hold it tight.  This will also allow us to paint the screw heads when we paint the posts:

We then took a 5th length of pipe and cut it into lengths to add to the 4 posts to increase their lengths to 10 feet (above ground length.)  I forgot to take photos of that step...

We brushed off the metal shavings, smoothed the cut ends with a file, spot painted primer on a few new spots of raw pipe, and began spray painting the copper colored paint:

You can see that by that time we needed a cold beer... but hey!  I can multi-task...  : )

It turned out that the paint color is too orange.  I completed one coat of it for consistency, and I'll need to go buy a different color and go over them again.  The color the pipes are now would make everyone at UT very happy...

New paint color tonight, and then hopefully installation sometime this week! 

So far, so good.  The next challenge will be to get them set into the ground so that the holes and ends of the posts line up with each other.  We've learned that my house is notoriously not square, and I know that my yard is sloped...

And then we will learn the answer to the great debate of whether or not we will need a cross post for stability. I'm hoping we do not, as it would take away from the very clean look.  I guess we will find that out when we start installing the fishing line supports.  Up on ladders... with fishing line, scissors and a drill... We could probably sell spectator tickets for that day!

But overall?  I'm very excited.  I need to start thinking about plants.  I know I want jasmine, as it blooms and it is green year round.  I'm also thinking of Dutchman's Pipevine which is a host plant for butterflies.  I think I would have to order those plants online, and I don't know if they would be evergreen in my climate.  Must do evergreen vine research this week!

Also coming up - brainstorming for the pipe cap design.  Stay tuned.