2021 - I dismantled the grape trellis and pulled the
support posts out. Some problems led to this:
Veranda Project" is the label that I put on all of the
outside welding and masonry projects. The "Grape" phase
isn't the first but it is the first one that I actually
completed so here it is.
Although I like the idea of having a vineyard and growing
my own grapes, those who know anything about how well wine
grapes fare in the desert know that it won't work. The
only grapes that do grow well aren't the ones you couldn't
use to make wine. It was this thought that led me to
design a place close to the house where I could plant
In 2009, I built some masonry paving brick borders around
the back patio and planted a couple of Thompson Seedless
grape plants. Next to each plant, I sank a 4x4 post to
accommodate a trellis for the grape plants to climb.
In May 2010, I fabricated two box trellises.
I installed the
trellises, which turned out great because the grapes
started climbing them right away.
I turned to other projects, thinking that it would give me
time before I completed the roof trellis. I didn't realize
how fast grapes grew because only 12 months later, the
grapes were peeking over the top of the trellis, searching
for something else to climb.
My inspiration for the final phase was a hyperbolic
paraboloid that my father built over our old patio when we
lived in California. First, I fabricated the girders that
would span the 4x4 posts. Because of the long stretches
between the posts, I had to build girders that wouldn't
flex under the weight of the trellis material and whatever
grew over it.
In order to avoid welding the whole thing together, I
fabricated each length individually and built hinges to
connect them. When it is installed, the hinge pin is
actually a half-inch lag bolt that screws the joint to the
top of the 4x4 post.
After connecting all the pieces, I cut up some trellis
material to fit the space that the girder segments form.
This will be the "roof" that the grapes will climb.
Finally, the entire contraption is installed. The design
should support 100 pounds of vegetation without flexing.
1) The weight of the vines actually did
collapse the trellis. I should have installed more overhead
2) One of the vines died because the
irrigation broke during the Summer and I didn't notice that one of
the plants was dying of thirst until it was too late.
3) It turns out that grape roots are
very aggressive. Once the paving stones are placed, leaving the
vines may result in paving stone buckling
I was able to save the box
trellises, which will be re-purposed in the Dome Prototype Phase
3 project (in progress).