Friday, April 27, 2012

bedspring trellis + shipping crate planters

Here's a little story about a project using recycled materials and inspiration from Bring.

You might remember that the last time I wrote about Bring, some of the items I'd considered bringing home were these beat up old shipping crates, which I imagined would be awesome as movie props.

You might further remember that they were free, which made them a pretty good deal, considering that the hinges and handles cost a couple of bucks apiece at the hardware store. Since I was in the market for some gate hinges anyway, I ended up going back and picking up a couple of the crates after all. In the end, I needed a couple of planters for a little area of my yard that's been neglected.

Why, here's that neglected area of the yard right now! It is terrible. Weeds, chain link fencing (I hate chain link fencing), old windows leaning against the carport . . .

And here it is, looking better already, after I removed the chain link from the front, weeded (you can see my yard waste bin filled to the brim in the foreground), and put two treated fence posts in place.

Your next question might be, "Why do you need posts for planters?" Well, I don't. But since I took down the chain link fencing and planned to use the alley space to store my recycling cans, I wanted to put in a recycled trellis and some vines to keep that area of our yard private and somewhat secure. So I moved back the fence line about six feet, and used our post-hole digger to dig two post holes about 18 inches deep. Luckily, the ground was soft from recent rains, so digging only took an hour or so during the kiddo's nap time. Then I put the treated timbers into the holes. (I used treated timbers to help prevent damage from rot and termites.)

Next, I used my handy-dandy heavy duty wire cutters (which I also used to remove the chain link) to trim down my bed spring. Yes, I said bed spring. I've had this sucker sitting around for awhile, another inspiration from Bring, where they use them as trellises, and sell them for that purpose, too.

Then I used zip ties to temporarily attach the bedspring to the fence timbers. The posts sandwiched perfectly between the outer edges of the springs.

Here's what it looked like, temporarily held in place by zip ties. This is a good way to make sure your posts stay the right distance apart before you permanently set them in place . . .

. . . using Sakrete. I used one-and-a-half 60-pound sacks. Since the ground was already wet, I just poured the dry concrete into the holes and added a little water to the top. Then I let them set for a couple of days, so that I wouldn't upset them if they got bumped or knocked around.

Getting back to the crates, here they are in front of the trellis-in-progress. Looking funky and old.

I had my husband remove the lids for me. We set those aside so I could take the hinges off later for my gate project.

Then, I drilled some holes in the bottom for drainage.

This isn't the best picture, but it shows five holes in the middle and three holes along each edge of the bottom of the crate, drilled with a 1/2-inch drill bit.

Then I took off the remaining bits of box labels and staples, and hit the outsides of the crates with a palm sander. You can tell the one on the left has been sanded, while the one on the right still needs a little 60 grit.

Late last year, I picked up this free sample jar of Arborcoat in a cedar color, using a coupon off of Benjamin Moore's Facebook page. It's good stuff for exterior areas; I used it to coat the benches of our picnic table, but primed the top to receive paint; the primer, this spring, is all peeling, but the Arborcoat held up to a fall, winter, and early spring of heavy rains. Anyway, I had some leftover, so I used it on these planters.

First coat.

Second coat.

Here they are in place, stained and ready to fill. They sat overnight to let the stain set.

I had a plant pot full of pea gravel from a bottle tree I got rid of, so I used the now-recycled pea gravel to fill in the bottoms of the planters to aid in drainage.

I added dirt, evergreen clematis vines, and bark mulch. You might notice something else is different, too!

In those earlier shots that there are some big old windows leaning at an angle against the side of the carport, behind the trellis. Here, I'll show you an earlier shot so you don't have to scroll back.



Luckily, I hadn't wired the bedspring in place yet, so I just clipped the zip ties on one side and pivoted the trellis out of the way while I dragged the old windows out of the alley and into the driveway.

A couple of caveats: because I don't know what, exactly, was shipped in those crates (or whether they'd been treated with anything), I decided it was safest not to plant food plants in them. The evergreen clematis was specially selected for it's climbing habit, but also because it can take part sun/part shade and remains green all year long (unlike regular clematis, which dies off in winter).

I also ended up digging out some space beneath the planters to put in some old pavers we had leftover from tearing out the broken fireplace. This was because, when I moved the old windows, the frames had begun to rot and there was some insect damage, and I really didn't want my planters meeting a similar fate. It's best to keep wood off of the ground.

Thanks for dropping by! I'd love to see your recycled projects, too! Give me a link in the comments section if you have something to share.

(p.s. you can make these photos bigger by clicking on them . . . but you probably knew that!)

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Anonymous said...

This is so great. I love the step by step details and photos. Thank you for sharing! Look forward to seeing pictures after the clematis takes hold of the bed springs. Happy Spring!

Night Garden Design said...

Happy "spring" to you too! ;)

Christa said...

These are great! What a nice addition to an outdoor space.

Amy* said...

Oh what a transformation! How clever to use an old bedspring! I think it looks so artful as a trellis...will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for discarded bed springs on junk week :)


Anonymous said...

What a great way to spruce up a yard!

Amy said...

The bedspring as a trellis? Awesome. It's so pretty. I never would have thought of that. I wish I lived near "Bring"; it seems like a terrific place to find some inspiration. I'll just have to follow your blog instead. :)