DIY: Making Backyard Hanging Shelves
Don't you bat an eye at adorning your interior walls with colorful accessories? So why does your fence remain a blank slate? Take advantage of the vertical space your fence provides by enhancing it with potted plants. These simple DIY hanging shelves can easily be dressed up with colorful pots or a bright coat of paint. For the finishing touch, add lawn chairs and a side table to create a festive sitting area.
Materials: 1-inch x 6-inch whiteboard (enough to cut two 24-inch-long boards) measuring tape circular saw or hand saw jigsaw and electric drill 7/16-inch drill bit (4) #8 zinc-plated screw eyes 3/8-inch manila rope weatherproofing wood stain and brush (6) 4 1/2-inch pots with lip 6 flowering plants
Begin by measuring the space between each vertical post in a single section of your fencing. The total length will help you determine the measurements for the size and placement of the two hanging shelves. In the example distance from post to post was 78 1/2 inches long, so we chose to create two 2-foot-long hanging shelves and mount them on the horizontal brace. Hanging from the brace provides proper support and adequate clearance for the hanging shelves to lie flush against the fence, and ensures that the screw eyes won't poke through to your neighbor's side of the fence line. For placement of the shelves, measure and mark on the horizontal brace 12 inches from each post, then 24 inches from that mark. Repeat the process from the second post. For placement of the four screw eyes, measure and mark 1 inch in from each of the previous four measurements and 1 inch from the top of the horizontal brace.
Screw the zinc-plated screw eyes into the horizontal brace by hand or with pliers. Predrill holes if needed.
Next, find a piece of whiteboard. Cut the whiteboard into two 24-inch-long boards using a circular saw. Cedar, which will last longer, would be a great substitute for the whiteboard. Once the boards are cut to length, draw a center line down the length of the board. Place each pot along the center line and make marks at 4 inches, 12 inches and 20 inches.
Measure the circumference of each pot just under the lip. This measurement will aid you in calculating the diameter. With a diameter of 4 inches, measure and mark 2 inches to the left, right, top and bottom of your center points (4 inches, 12 inches and 20 inches.) This will provide you with markers to create a circular template.
To determine rope placement, use your drill and a 7/16 inch drill bit. Drill a hole on the center line. Then drill a hole on the interior of the circle as close to your outline as possible. This will provide an entry point for the jigsaw. To protect your shelf from the elements and to add a rich color to the whiteboard, apply two coats of weatherproofing stain. After the stain is dry, slip the bottom end of the rope through the shelf.
Tip: Wrap duct tape around the end to make it easy to pull through. No need to remove it — each end will be trimmed off. Tie a knot on the underside of the shelf and cut off any extra rope, leaving at least 1 inch so you can remove it easily if needed. Transfer the plants from their temporary plastic pots to the ceramic pots and place the pots into each shelf.
Having difficulty finding colorful pots? Purchase inexpensive clay or ceramic pots and spray paint them. Or stick with neutrals if that works better for your yard.
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