An arbor ripe for picking

After a dip in the pool, Jan and Skip Tschantz and their guests can pluck a sweet, juicy snack right off the grapevines that cloak an arbor in their backyard in Rancho Santa Fe, California.

Skip, with the help of two sons-in-law, assembled the cedar arbor, which measures 12 feet wide, 8 feet deep, and 8 feet tall. One April they planted a container-grown ‘Thompson Seedless’ grape at each corner. They paved the area with flagstones, then set out teak benches. “We were surprised by how fast the vines grew: In six months, the arbor was covered,” Jan says. In the second summer, the vines began producing fruit. Now, every August, the couple’s grandchildren eagerly eye the pool and ask, “Are the grapes ready yet?”