How to make a wire espalier for a garden wall

Use these 5 steps to provide an elegant structure for climbing plants

Wires on Walls Espalier

What you'll need

  • Masonry shields
  • Eyehooks sized to fit the shields
  • 14-gauge or thicker galvanized wire
  • Turnbuckles
 

Drill holes

Drill holes

For a masonry wall, drill holes using a masonry bit sized for your masonry shields. On some walls, it is easier to drill through brick; on others, mortar. Work slowly and take breaks to avoid overheating the bit and the drill. On tough surfaces, use a hammer drill. Check that the holes are at least 1⁄4 inch deeper than the shield.

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Add the shields

Add the shields

Use a vacuum (a screw or a piece of wire will also work) to remove most of the dust from the holes. Tap in the shields so they are recessed slightly below the wall surface. If the shields slip in easily and are loose in the hole, tap lightly using a screwdriver or narrow piece of wood to wedge the shield in place.

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Screw in eyehooks

Screw in eyehooks

Push against the wall as you screw in the eyehooks, first by hand and then using a screwdriver for more leverage. This causes the shields to expand inside of the holes, making for a tight connection. If a shield starts to pull out, remove the eyehook and shield, drill the hole a bit deeper, and start again.

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String the wire

String the wire

Wrap the wire twice around the first eyehook, then wrap the end around the wire in a noose-like arrangement. Run the wire from eyehook to eyehook, pulling as taut as possible as you go.

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Tighten with a turnbuckle

Tighten with a turnbuckle

Stretch the wire from the end of one run to meet the next wire. Where they meet, use a turnbuckle to make a tight fit. Plan to use a turnbuckle for every three or four turns of the pattern. You may need to retighten the turnbuckles from time to time as the wire stretches slightly.

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A less formal espalier

A less formal espalier

For an organic-looking arrangement like this, allow a plant to grow freely for most of a season. Then prune it to achieve a pleasing shape and position eyehooks or other attachments at critical points. For espalier created this way, you may choose to attach branches to separate eyehooks rather than running wire between eyehooks.

More:  where to start and what you'll need

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