An exterior Trellis: design concepts and ideas

The full weekend is in front of us, spring is finally coming and I find myself working with 3 clients on exterior living spaces, sunrooms and even an orangery. As we shift our focus to the outside of our homes, I wanted to share some of my early design inspirations and talk through my approach to design and construction. Good trellis-work is a hallmark of Timeless Building. When done properly it can transform a space, as it does in the picture below.

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Where do you start? Well the most important thing is to find good Inspiration. Pinterest, Houzz and HGTV are ok to browse, but the best resources comes from the past. The black and white scans in this post come from a wonderful portfolio of work titled “Garden Ornament” by Gertrude Jekyll. Miss Jekyll lived from 1843-1932 and is most famous for her gardens and collaborations with the architect Sir Edwin Luytens. These 2 created some world-famous homes and gardens and a tour of their work should be a part of any trip to England.

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It is clear from these scans that there was an extensive use of trellis and lattice-work in historic gardens. They even used trellis material to form up classical elements like columns and pedestals. Today we have a gaping lack of quality lattice and trellis material. My company is often forced into making custom elements just because good basic details are so hard to find. Truly, the proper use of lattice and trellis-work is a lost art.

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The next key to success is to insure proper construction techniques. You do not want to go to this level of effort only to see your work fall apart (literally) in a few years. Construct the trellis from long-lasting woods, mahogany, Spanish cedar, white oak, and then plan on treating the wood with paint or some other preservative. I would also go to the extra effort of designing the construction details so that they shed water. Standing water is the enemy. Joints should be constructed to drain water, and all flat surfaces pitched away from the structure.

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The goal of this is always beauty. Have fun and enjoy your weekend.

-B

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