Inexpensive Privacy Trellis for the Deck

When we were designing our new deck, which I revealed in my last post, we designed it without a railing, because we wanted it to feel very open to the outdoors and not closed-in.  But the far end sits pretty high above the ground thanks to the slope in our backyard.  A 5-foot fall could be pretty painful!  Also, we didn’t have much privacy from our neighbor’s deck. Thanks to a few things I’d seen on Pinterest, we had an inexpensive solution:

The Cattle Panel

A cattle panel is a section of fencing that farmers use to keep the cows in, and it only costs about $30 for a 16′ long section! We did have to trim it to 12′, which took a steel-cutting blade on the power drill, protective goggles, and fire-proof elbow-length gloves, all of which we already had in the shop.  It sure did throw some sparks!  Heavy duty bolt cutters probably would have worked, too.  Here it is when we first added it to the deck.  

cattle panel trellis deck


We’d planned to add some nice framing to the top of it to finish it off, but the morning glories and moon flowers we planted grew so fast, we never had a chance to do it.  Here’s how it looks after just a few weeks. 

Cattle panel trellis deck


Now we’re safe from falling and we can’t see the neighbor’s backyard at all. 

cattle panel trellis deck flowers


Here’s how it looks from the back:

Cattle panel trellis on deck with morning glories and moon flowers


Notice that we planned for this from the beginning of the deck build.  We left the posts on this end several feet high so we’d be able to attach the panel.  I have plans for the leftover piece to create a 4′ trellis somewhere else in the yard.

Cattle panel trellis on deck with morning glories and moon flowers


Blooms ‘Round the Clock

Morning glories and moon flowers are a terrific combination because something is blooming literally 24 hours a day.  When you catch it just right in the morning, both types of flowers are open at the same time.  

The morning glories we chose are a lovely blue color:

morning glories blue trellis


And the moon flowers are such a bright white they look like porcelain. They really do show up well in the moon light!

white moon flowers trellis


We had never grown moon flowers before and really didn’t know anything about them except they show well in the moon light.  We’ve discovered that they smell terrific and they’re super popular with hummingbird moths!  Every evening we’re treated to acrobatic acts by these huge moths that flap their wings so fast, you’d think they were hummingbirds.  And the flowers have a sweet, clean-soapy kind of fragrance.  Here’s the best photo I could get of the quick hummingbird moth in the low light of evening:

moon flowers hummingbird moth


Bonus: Lighted Vintage Planter

Just one more thing to show you.  I’d picked up a terrific ceramic planter at a thrift store a while back, and judging by the color and finish, I think it’s from the 1940s.  I planted lemon thyme in it and (using another idea from Pinterest) added a solar landscape light.  It makes a wonderful centerpiece for our big patio table.

vintage planter plant solar light


We’re so glad the hot summer weather is cooling off now that it’s fall, so we can enjoy our deck again, but we’ll miss the privacy when the morning glories and moon flowers die back for the winter.  I’ve heard they re-seed like crazy, so we should get a good covering again next summer.  Actually, I’ve heard they can be invasive, so I may have a real jungle on my hands next year!


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7 thoughts on “Inexpensive Privacy Trellis for the Deck

  1. Beautiful, isn’t nature wonderful. Just add a simple trellis with flowers and nature will provide the entertainment.
    I love the way your tellis turned out and the privacy it provides you.

    1. Hi Donna, yeah, good ole’ Pinterest giving me the cattle panel idea. We’ve now decided to use it all the way around, feeling a little sketchy without a railing….

  2. How lovely, Dawn! I actually gasped when I scrolled from your first picture of the empty frame to the one with the glorious blooming morning glories! What a special space you have created. Thanks for sharing! Rosie

  3. You and family will have so much enjoyment on your deck in several ways it looks like. How wonderful to have the flowers to give privacy. Maybe at some point will want to cover your deck, put up a pergola at some point, then could enjoy deck even more.
    Love pot you found at thrift store, looks like it’s paying you for buying it after all with pretty flowers in it and light.
    We have back deck, not enclosed at all so don’t get as much enjoyment out of it. We live few miles west of Grand Junction, CO, in summer it’s so hot on our deck have to use something to open back door, too hot to touch door knob. Our deck faces due west and boy is it a cooker up by house.
    We’d love to have pergola but just can’t afford it. With way wind blows out here has to be something quite strong or it would be ruined. Hope you don’t have to deal with wind. Have wonderful Fall week

    1. We have thought about a cover, maybe just a pop-up canopy, though your idea of a pergola sounds soooooo nice! We’re lucky our deck faces north, so gets at least a little shade in the summer 🙂

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