Wooden You Know: Trellis!

You pull up in the driveway of the magnificent waterfront home, eager to join the others by the lake across the yard. But to get there, you have to follow a worn, muddy trail past the garage and HVAC compressor. Then, once you get there, you happen to catch the view from across the manicured lawn:  dreary, white, garage siding, a double-door storage closet and a procession of utility boxes. Then, there’s a massive brick wall that is the backside of the two-car garage.

Not the look our client and her family were going for.

A huge, covered, outdoor kitchen, bar and entertainment area with a sunny patio overlooking the lake had already been added to the home. We had designed and nearly completed the backyard landscaping and plantings, and we were mid-way through creating a lovely courtyard sanctuary when we set out to tackle the last outdoor frontier—the unsightly approach to the property.

Our plan was a natural extension of the courtyard design. The huge expanse of brick, directly across from a shaded porch, functioned as the third side of the three-sided courtyard, and it needed to be integrated into the design. We staked out a pad for seating along a new path from the door to a planned focal point inside the inner circle of gravel.

Around the corner from the courtyard, where visitors get their first impression of the space, any type of screen we chose would have to relate to the other design elements in the space. Stone, rock and brick anchored the property.

The solution was a custom-built, wooden structure of trellis panels and pergolas. Running alongside the garage, the structure helps define the path while camouflaging the drawbacks behind it. Notice how the courtyard focal point, a striking pond fountain, punctuates the end point of this side of the structure.

Heavy-duty hardware pieces support this beefy, substantial structure. They also make handsome, contrasting accents.


A gate provides access to the large, double-door storage closet that is now concealed behind the trellis panels. Details like gate hinges might seem insignificant, but these solid, black hinges were chosen intentionally. They’re the right scale for the large property—they can actually be seen from all the way across the back yard. And they complement the “hardness” of the stone, rock and brick that are integral to the overall design.

As for that massive, imposing brick wall, it’s been put in its place. It’s now an attractive background element, softened by the airy wooden structure. The trellis panels and pergola work together to create a cozy alcove in the courtyard, occupied by a comfortable swing across the path from the covered porch. A couple of vines are already beginning to climb the trellises.

Now, the client and her family feel proud of their entire lake front property, coming and going—or catching a few quiet moments in between.


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