Ladder Trellis

moonwolf_gwDecember 13, 2009

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum and I had an idea for the garden next year. There is an old wooden ladder (the old fashioned leaning-against-the-wall kind, not a stepladder) that was my great aunt's (we had to clean out her house when she passed away) that I would like to use for a trellis. What do you treat it with so it won't rot? What do I put on the ends that I stick into the soil? I know not to use creosote as I read it's harmful to plant roots.

As for the plant to grow up the trellis, I'm still deciding on it. Maybe a honeysuckle (my favorite outdoor vine) would look nice? The ladder is a decent size.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

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Welcome! This is a GREAT forum of friendly, encouraging people! You'll love it here! :o) I've done several ladder trellises. I drilled holes in the bottom and placed rebar in the holes. That way they stay up off the ground and won't rot. I also added a grapevine ribbon netting I found at the dollar store to give the vines something to grow on. One of the trellises has a climbing rose on it. I used honeysuckle on the others. I also have a clematis on a screen door trellis. I made these all a few years back, and they're holding out well.

Good luck! Bear Hugs! Kirk

Here are pictures before I planted some of the trellises up. The trellises are under the eaves which protects them a bit. :o)

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 3:31PM
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Hi Kirk,

Thanks for the welcome! Unfortunately, the ladder is a stepladder, but I may be able to still use it as a trellis!
Would a honeysuckle still work on a stepladder? What kind of honeysuckle did you plant?

You have a nice setup! Now I know what to do with unused ladders if I ever find one. The screen door is very unique!
I'm not sure where to place the ladder if I do use it.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 4:10PM
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Marlene Kindred

Hi Moonwolf...and welcome!! If you type in ladders in the search bar at the bottom or our GJ page, you should see lots of step ladder and regular ladder ideas. You can use a product called "wood life" on the ladder to help preserve it from rotting....very water, but it stinks and will definitely set your eyes on fire if you get it in them, so wear goggles! My DH and I learned the hard way!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 5:26PM
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It's a great idea Brad and I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with it!
Kirk, I love your trellises!! And I love that thing in your 2nd photo on the right hand side with the plant climbing up, that's great!!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 7:00PM
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Brad, I planted native honeysuckles from our property in the woods. Don't know what kind they is but they have taken off!!! :o)

Tracey, Thank you for the kind words. That's an obelisk I made for my wife Carol for Mother's Day. I used scrap tree limbs. It's lasted quite some time. :o)

Bear Hugs! Kirk

An up-close photo of the obelisk:

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 7:52PM
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Marlene, where do you get the wood life that you use? I don't need it until spring, but I would like to know where to get it when the time comes.

Tracey, unfortunately I don't have a camera but I'm hoping I get one for my birthday (in the spring).

Kirk, I like that look of honeysuckle (I would love to get a smell of fresh honeysuckle right now!)! I'm guessing that it's never flowered for you? If it has, are the flowers fragrant? Native honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) are very beautiful but the flowers have no fragrance. The only honeysuckle that grows wild/in the woods around here is the Japanese variety. It's a weed but does it ever smell good!

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 8:18PM
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Hey Brad! You're right! It flowers beautifully but there is no fragrance. BEAUTIFUL flowers though! I love native vegetation in my gardens. There is a greenhouse/nursery near us that sells only native vegeatation. LOVE THAT PLACE! Bear Hugs! Kirk

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 8:23PM
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I wish I could take credit for these but alas, I can't. I found these in the Garden Junk Inspiration album.

Here are two arbors made from old step ladders:

I love the color of this old step ladder used as a plant stand:

You can click the link below to see the Garden Junk Inspiration Albums put together by our own very talented Purplemoon.

Welcome to an incredibly inspirational and friendly group, Brad!

Here is a link that might be useful: Garden Junk Inspiration Albums

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 10:49PM
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Hi Luna,

I like the moonflowers growing on the arbor you made! I grow them every year. I love their fragrance (second to honeysuckle) and I enjoy watching them open. I like all the ideas for the ladder, but do you think a honeysuckle will be too big for the stepladder? I could always prune it though.

If I had the room, I would use the ladder inside to let some of my hoyas (favorite houseplant) ramble all over it.
The ladder's in the storage shed and probably needs some TLC.

BTW, I got this idea when watching P. Allen Smith. On his set, there was a ladder leaning against the wall and I thought a ladder would make a neat looking trellis.

Thanks everyone for welcoming me here! I'm usually over on the hoya or vine forums. Talk to you all soon!

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 11:13PM
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Thanks for all the photos, they're all fabulous!! I'm going to show my hubby when he gets home from work, he'l love all the ideas too!!

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 12:40AM
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Marlene Kindred

Hey Brad~

You can get wood life at Lowe's, Home Depot or any good hardware store...not sure if it would be in the deck staining/preserving section or in the paint section.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 9:04AM
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Sorry Brad, I wish I could say those ladders were mine but they're not. I got them out of our Inspiration Album. They are some of my favorites. I'm not sure who they belong to (maybe someone can help me out by recognizing them).

The honeysuckle might be a little heavy for an older ladder. I'd stick with something like clematis, sweet potato vine or morning glories.

P. Allen Smith has some wonderful ideas. I love his show on PBS and his web site.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2009 at 11:15PM
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Brad, ask your local hardware if a Marine Spar varnish is ideal for what you are looking for.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 6:08PM
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Luna, I think I might try some cup and saucer vines on the ladder. Moonflowers and morning glories would work too. I'll think of something.

Marlene and Kim, thanks for telling me where to find the wood life. I'll keep an eye out for it.

Brad AKA Moonwolf

    Bookmark   December 15, 2009 at 10:17PM
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Hey Brad,
Welcome to Garden Junk! Yep, I'm a ladder person too. I have 3 of them, an old chain link gate (free standing) and an umbrella trellis. Here is a link to my webpage with photos....scroll down to the 1/19/09 photos and click on see all 75. I have them there.....
Love, Jules

Here is a link that might be useful: Jules' Website

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 12:07AM
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Jules, I love your umbrella trellis too!

    Bookmark   December 16, 2009 at 12:54AM
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