For a while now we have been discussing our options how to partially hide our wheelie bins from view with some form of trellis and maybe a vigorous climber or vine (passion flower/clematis would work well). Instead of purchasing a plant for the purpose, we could have always taken a cutting of one of our numerous climbers from the back garden. The initial downside was the lead time in which to get a cutting to take root and plant out was too long as we are already 4 weeks into summer. Plus any cutting would take many months to completely take up residence in advance of winter.
For a couple of weeks we have been deliberating where we could grow our runner beans this year, as you cannot grow them in the same location two years running.
How about growing our runner beans in place of a climber?
Eventually we came to the conclusion that we could kill two birds with one stone and visually screen our bins and grow our runner beans in a new location. Obviously they will only occupy the trellis during the summer/autumn months, but next year we will grow something else up the trellis.
To really scrimp we could have built our own trellis from scratch, but we decided to source materials cheaply and make it look more ‘professional’ (not that we are by any means). We tried to be frugal and save where possible, but we also wanted it to look half decent and made a compromise.
Quickly noted our basic requirements
The all-important brief, just what do we want?…well it had to be:
- wide enough cover the area
- tall enough to look in place (almost inline) with the hedge
- strong enough to hold the weight of the runner beans
- strong enough to withstand the wind
- as cheap as possible
How much did it end up costing?
Surprisingly not as much as I would have thought, we did a quick look around the web to find the DIY store with the cheapest trellis panels or special weekend offers and then hopped in the car to investigate further.
We ended up making our purchase from B&M, they seem to be one of the cheaper stores that sell pretty much a bit of everything, but specialise in nothing. We ended up purchasing the following:
- Full size trellis panel – £19.99
- Half size Trellis panel – £12.99
- 6ft Fence post – £4.99
- Fence post support spike – £6.99
Sub: £44.96 before discounts.
We always look for damaged items that we can fix up and if there are any special offers available. We were lucky enough to save another 20% rounding it down to £35.97. You don’t ask, you don’t get.
We deliberately purchased one fence post and support spike, where normally you might want two of each to ensure stability, but as we are scrimping we try to shave off the non-essentials.
Come on Tom and Barbara; give us one of your DIY guides
- Measured out the dimensions and turfed the area
We marked out the width of the trellis panels and the depth required for the runner beans, then got the old trusty edging spade to go round the edge, digging in only a couple of inches. Then to reduce the size of each piece of turf we edged the area into 3 pieces before gently pulling the space back to lift up the edge. I made sure the spade head was almost horizontal before pushing it under the grass, effectively prying it apart from the soil. Once separated it comes up in nice easy pieces to use elsewhere, especially if you have a dog creating bald spots in your lawn.
- Install the fence post support spike
We deliberately purchased a fence post spike that would not require digging any holes or mixing any cement. After working out where we wanted the fence post to be in line with main trellis edge, I got our rubber mallet and a piece of old wood and began ‘bashing’ it in (making sure I kept it lined up vertically as I went). You can purchase a fence spike driving in tool for £5, but a piece of solid wood is more than sufficient so long as it can take a pounding. Once bashed into position, I put the fence post into the spike support and tightened the bolts, there is a hole for an additional screw to make sure it’s held in place.
- Attaching the trellis panels
Once I knew the post was straight and sturdy, we got out the trusty drill and wood screws and began attaching it to the post, making sure to leave enough space for both panels (almost forgot). I think we ended up using 12 screws per panel; I wanted to make sure it would not come off. As we were cheating by only purchasing one post and spike to support both trellis, I decided to make a small support steak from a strong branch around 2 foot long to support the rear spine of the large trellis panel. I used my Mora knife to cut the end into sharp spike before knocking it down nice and deep to stop the panel from moving.
- Planted out our runner’s beans
They were starting to outgrow their pots rapidly and we could see they were desperate to get going in position and who were we to hold them back! We planted them out a little late, but with our seasons being out of sync, we were not too worried.
It did not take more than a couple of hours to do, once we had the materials and it’s now starting to look good. The runner beans have still got a lot of growing to do, but the wheelie bins are now out of sight! Yay!
Any comments, suggestions or improvements please comment
If you have any thoughts or ideas on what you have done or things we could do better, we are always keen to hear about and of course learn from and evolve our ideas.