Monday, July 14, 2014

DIY Ugly Fence Fix

Each time we moved, we've bought a fixer-upper house. And most of the things we've had to fix ourselves. But sometimes, what I don't like isn't "broken," it's just ugly.

One thing I hate is that a lot of the fencing around the house is chain link. So no privacy and super, super ugly. At first I planted climbing roses. They were beautiful. A wall of roses. And then, they got rose rosette disease (also known as "witches broom"), which is untreatable and kills the plants.

So once again I had an ugly fence. And because of the residual effects of the disease, I couldn't plant more roses. But I needed something that formed a wall. Something beautiful that would turn a minus into a plus.

And then it hit me. Grapes. But we'd tried grapes before in a different area of the yard. It was a disaster.So I researched grape growing on Google. And bought plants at WalMart (I amended the soil--which is clay and pebbles with top soil and composted steer manure, i.e., cheap fertilizer). And my husband built a double cordon system. It sounds fancy, but it's basically eight feet posts buried about 16 inches into the ground with two levels of heavy gauge wire strung between them.

Last year, we followed simple double cordon guidelines and cut off extraneous vines as the plants grew. This summer, we had grapes. It was a lovely surprise because we weren't supposed to get grapes until next year.

To the right are Concord grapes, which we've already eaten. Small (probably because they weren't supposed to bear this year) but delicious.

To the left are red flames grapes. I can't wait for them to ripen.

And there's nothing more wonderful than seeing a wall of grapes. So bless that ugly chain link fence, without it the grapes wouldn't have the free air circulation and heavy sunlight that they love.

BTW, If you read last week's post about the 52 year old towels, one Facebook commenter mentioned that she has towels bought in 1945 that are in great shape. Wow, that's 69 years!


  1. Wow, Connie- they are gorgeous. We had an ugly chain link in the back yard. They're the worst. My husband eventually added wood planks to it-- just on top. It sounds weird but it worked beautifully (and no post-hole digging required). I wish I could post a pic!

  2. Thanks, Katharine! I'm really enjoying them. It makes me wish I had more chain link. :)

  3. Years ago, we had Concord grapes growing on the side of our house. The grapes were oh-so sweet and wonderful, but there was one problem. Bees. The grapevines attracted bees by the semi-tractor truckload. Many stings later, the vines had to go.

  4. Lovely! What a brilliant way to make something ugly both beautiful and useful. We used to pick wild grapes to make jelly every fall from the side of the road, but the vines went when the state widened the road, and there also went our wild grape jelly.

  5. The grapes look lovely, and what a treat that they came in early. Sorry about your roses though!

    Also, I just read your towel post, and omg, the 50 year old towel looks amazing. It's all bright and fluffy!

  6. Hello Connie, nice to visit with you again! Re: your chain link fence, when life gives you lemons, grow grapes! Hope your next harvest is delicious.