When it comes to backyard building materials, lattice is likely one of the most used supplies. However, it often gets a bad reputation because it is frequently used in hasty home improvement projects. Cheap pressure-treated lattice, installed quickly, and left to weather outside, doesn’t add much curb appeal to any property. On the other hand, lattice can be an excellent way to add aesthetic appeal to your yard without breaking the bank. There are several characteristics of lattice you should understand to make it work for you.
What is lattice?
Contrary to popular belief, lattice is not limited to the diamond pattern wooden panels you see at the hardware store or lumber yard. While most lattice is similar, it can take on many different forms. Think of it more as a category of building products. The most common types of lattice are made of long wooden slats assembled into panels in a crisscross, diamond, or square pattern.
However, lattice also includes panels with the slats mounted horizontally resembling a basket weave. It may also have vertical spindles or other decorative elements incorporated into the overall framework. Thus, the most distinguishing characteristic of lattice is the alternating of slats and open space. It is the creation of this open space that makes lattice so appealing and so versatile as a fencing and screening material.
What is lattice used for?
Panels of lattice can be used anywhere you want to create a boundary without entirely blocking the view or airflow or creating the illusion of a wall.
Two significant advantages of having a fence around your property are the added privacy and security that they provide. However, depending on the fence’s height and style, it can close in your yard, making it feel smaller. It may even block any view that you had from your yard. Building your fence wholly or partially out of lattice softens the feeling of containment and gives you back part of your view. Lattice fencing is also an excellent DIY project, as it is easy to work with using tools that many homeowners already have. It is much less costly than fencing pickets, making it a relatively inexpensive way to define your property tastefully.
While you can easily buy panels of fencing lattice, they are not strong enough to be a standalone fence. You will need to frame the panels with posts and rails to add rigidity to the panels. You may also want to consider doubling up on the lattice panels or constructing your own lattice out of thicker slats for added strength. Adding climbing vines or flowers to the finished product will give you additional privacy and visual interest.
Lattice is also a good way to extend your existing fence. Adding a foot or two of lattice on top of the fence you already have will provide more privacy. It won’t cost nearly as much as replacing the whole fence. Unlike a solid fence, the lattice will give some privacy while still allowing the sun to shine through.
It seems that every home comes with eyesores. For some, it is a large air conditioning unit. For others, it’s the garbage cans or the outdoor tools stored under the deck. Whatever the case, lattice is a great choice for hiding these items from view. With a circular saw, you can easily cut the lattice to the desired size and shape to build an attractive screen around a small area of your yard. The lattice can be stained or painted and adorned with hanging plants. This inexpensive project can significantly improve the view from your deck and increase the appeal of your backyard.
The versatility of lattice makes it a natural choice for outdoor structures such as gazebos, pergolas, and trellises. Lattice can be mounted vertically or horizontally. Overhead it acts like the boards of a pergola, filtering out a portion of the sunlight. Even this small amount of shade makes the porch more comfortable on warm summer days. Incorporated into your gazebo, it can serve as a support for an ever-expanding vertical garden.
What are the different types of lattice?
The most common type of lattice, this style is the one you frequently see used as skirting on a deck or as a fence topper. It is readily available at most hardware stores.
Consisting of parallel slats positioned vertically between two rails, this type of lattice does not have slats crossing one another. All the slats point in the same direction like soldiers standing all in a row.
The most distinguishing feature of open weave lattice is not the slats but the space between them. As the name suggests, there are larger gaps between the slats, allowing more room for plants to grow.
This type of lattice is built with the slats of wood perpendicular to one another, leaving open squares between them. Square hatch lattice is perfect for use in gardens for climbing plants. It is very traditional but appears more modern when sitting atop a fence with horizontal pickets.
More modern in appearance, horizontal lattice can closely resemble a basket weave. Changes in the spacing and size of the slats can change the style of the lattice.
What is lattice made of?
Lattice is made from many different materials. The most common ones are wood, plastic, vinyl, and metal. Plastic and vinyl may initially appear appealing because they do not require painting or staining. The color that you buy is the color you get. Washing them from time to time should keep them looking nice. However, these two materials come with some challenges. Plastic, in particular, is sensitive to changes in weather and temperature. Since the lattice is one big piece of plastic, expanding and contracting with the changing seasons can cause cracks to develop.
Metal lattice holds up much better in cold climates. However, if you choose to add metal lattice to your landscaping, you will likely need to call a professional to install it for you. Lattice made of wrought iron can be quite heavy to move into place, and installation can be tricky.
Lattice made of cedar or redwood is the best choice for the average homeowner. Both of these species are durable even in outdoor climates. Additionally, the wood is easy to cut to the desired size and shape and install without hiring help or buying special tools. It will require regular cleaning and treatment, as does any other outdoor wood structure. With a little care, it should last for years to come.
After examining all of the possibilities that lattice offers, it is clear that it is truly a versatile building product. The options vary widely from the pre-made panels to custom patterns that you design yourself. A little hard work and ingenuity can bring a lot of style to your yard.