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June 29, 2014 10:25 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking to turn a chainlink fence, together with lines up to my roof, into a semipermanent trellis. What material should I use to build it?

As an amateur gardener and homebrewer, I'm growing hops along my fenceline, mostly out of curiosity but with an intent to continue as long as they produce. But hiops, I'm given to understand, want a long ways to climb --- higher than my 4.5-or-so-foot fence, needless to say. But this fence is very nearly directly under my roof's overhang, and there's some hardware up there that I could wrap something around, so here's my idea for extending this short fence into a trellislike thing: take some manner of twine/rope/wire/cable and run it back and forth looped between the top of the fence and various roof-mounted hardware near that side of the house.

The big question I have is: what kind of ropelike thing should I use? I'd like something which can stand weathering (heat, cold, rain, sun, etc.). I worry about rotting in natural fibers and evidently a lot of synthetics degrade in the sun. Would some manner of metallic wire be best? And is there anything else I should be considering about my plan? I'm quite confident the top-of-house mounts are secure, which seems like the biggest concern, but if there's a smarter way to do this, I'm all ears.
posted by jackbishop to Home & Garden (6 answers total)
Without seeing the structure, I personally would use some sort of metal lattice or netting (chicken wire?) and zip-tie it to the fence and then roof. That way you can unclip the zip ties and take the whole thing down if needed. Plus zip ties and metal will hold up to the elements than natural fibers.

I'm unsure how you would weave or lattice rope adequately, plus rope has a tendency to sag. Besides the fact that I'm fairly sure the natural fibers wouldn't hold up.
posted by Crystalinne at 10:38 AM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

Vines and trellises leading to the roof can be a way for pests to get in, and the vines themselves can damage the roof. I don't know about hops specifically -- they don't seem that mighty -- but when I've had house inspections done that's something they look out for.
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:58 AM on June 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you want to avoid connecting something to the roof for pest reasons, I think you'd be best with poles (either bamboo or untreated wood) mounted/zip-tied to the fence.

You could probably use a galvanized hog panel to do the same thing.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:19 AM on June 29, 2014

Hops are full climbers, and grow extremely quickly. When they fruit they are very heavy. This site shows a rudimentary plan for a house eve trellis on a pulley system, and they recommend wire rope, aircraft cable, or heavy twine.
posted by missmary6 at 12:37 PM on June 29, 2014

missmary6: The pulley system seems like a great idea! I'll probably fasten the pulley to roof hardware rather than a lag screw, but that seems very much like what I had in mind.
posted by jackbishop at 1:14 PM on June 29, 2014

How hot does it get where you are? One drawback of aircraft cable is the they can get so hot in the sun that they burn young vines/creepers.
posted by misterbrandt at 6:29 PM on June 29, 2014

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