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Training climbers to screen a fence

Established Contributor
Established Contributor

A wonderful idea to enliven any fence, this simple project uses Star Jasmine and cable to train the plant to cover the area. Other Bunnings Workshop members have since been inspired to replicate the project to create living screening over their fences.





The project


Easy little project at my brother-in-law's place. Took about 5 hours and cost less than $100 to cover 10m of fence: plants $68, wire $20, screws $8.50.


Really makes a difference.


The fence is all you can see from one of the bedroom windows, so it needed something to make it less bland. However the fence is very close to the house so we wanted to do something that wouldn't take up too much space.


I planted Chinese Jasmine Star because I know they work well in the climate and grow really fast. Added bonus they have a pretty white flower in spring. They were only $5 each too so no complaints.


I used a roll of stainless steel cable around 3mm diameter. Ordinary fencing wire would also work. I also used some small type 17 self tapping roofing screws.


To get the cable to tighten, I wound it around the screws in a clockwise direction so that as the screws tighten down they grab the cable and pull it tight. 


I made a quick video with a time lapse camera just for fun. 



Tools and materials



  • Tape measure
  • Pen or marker
  • Battery powered drill or screwdriver
  • Correct drive piece for your chosen screws
  • Cable cutters
  • Gardening spade.



  • Cable or wire
  • Screws (make sure the screw head is wide enough to clamp your wire)
  • Climbing plants (species dependant on your climate and personal preference)
  • 4-5 hours of you precious time.


How to


1. Measure and plan


FLSH8RMJF8IU6TR.jpegMeasure your fence panels so you can work out the layout of the trellis.


Sketch your fence panels on a piece of grid paper and work out what you want it to look like. From your sketch you can work out the dimensions you need the cables to work to. When sketching think about how far apart you want your plants to be and how many you want to plant.


I decided on a simple diagonal checker pattern because it fitted the look I was after and suited the size of my fence panels.


Note: Depending on your climate these metal fences can get really hot in the sun, here in Australia a dark coloured metal fence will burn your skin if it’s in full sun. If there wasn’t something on the other side of the fence shading it, I wouldn’t be planting this close to it as it will also burn the plants.


2. Mark out


Take the edge dimensions from your sketch and mark them onto the fence panel, this will tell you where to put screws. Put a screw into the fence at each mark, but don’t wind it right in just yet, leave enough room under the screw head to wind the cable around it.


3. Fit cables


Now the fun bit, thread your cable around the screw heads and do them up as you go to help with the tensioning of the cable. It doesn’t matter how many times you stop and start your cables, the pattern I did was possible with a single length of cable so there is only one termination. When you get to the end point, screw it off and cut the cable nice and close to the screw head.


Tip: Wind the cable around the screws in a clockwise direction, that way it will tighten the cable for you as you wind the screw in.


4. Plant


Select a climbing plant that you want to use for this project and plant them at your chosen interval depending on your design.


I have planted Star Jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides) because they suit the local climate, grow fast and have a really nice flower in spring. There are myriads of climbing plants to choose from.


Once you’ve planted it out, train the runners up the cables. You will need to continue to do this down the track if you want the plants to follow the trellis neatly.


Water the plants and throw some mulch around them to keep the moisture in. Train the vines on the cables, and in a few months your fence will look a million bucks.


Before and after





Other plant options


Bunnings Workshop community member and experienced horticulturalist Noelle suggests Wonga Wonga Vine (Pandorea pandorana). "As well as the white species, there are several named varieties with flowers ranging from cream and yellow to pink," she says. "Bower Plant (Pandorea jasminoides) is related and also available in many varieties with flowers from pink to white."


Other options include Sarsaparilla Creeper (Hardenbergia violacea) in either its natural mauve or selected white form as it is spectacular when in flower. Other options include Pink Trumpet Vine (Podranea ricasoliana), Trumpet Bush (Tecoma), the white flowered Potato Vine (Solanum laxum) and Bignonia.


More inspiration for fence screening


 Bunnings Workshop member leighq was inspired by Roy's project. 





Bunnings Workshop member rexilla99 was also inspired by this project to create their own version. "It took about 1 hour," says rexilla99. "The measuring up is the part that takes the longest. Once you do one panel its gets easier. I also did the trellis with a border and just used the Colorbond fence screws to hold the cables in place. The plant is Pandorea. We have the fence going from east to west and gets sun most of the day."








Check out our Top 10 most popular screening projects for more ideas for your home.

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