The ipomea or morning glory is a flowering plant that makes a great choice for decorating a patio or deck. It is a climbing vine that grows very quickly, so build a large lattice that will accommodate the spread of the plant. Because it grows so quickly, ipomea is perfect to create living walls around a deck or porch. This article will show you how to build a lattice around the half rails of a deck, and will only take a weekend to install.
Step 1: Lattice Material Preparation
You can train ipomea to grow on regular lattice made from 2-inch slats. Start with 4x8-foot sheets and cut them to fit the half-wall when laid sideways. Always cut the lattice to break on a stud. As you cut each piece, number it so that you will be sure to get the correct pieces in the right places.
Cut 2-inch flat slats to place along the top and bottom edges of the lattice. Measure the distance between the top and bottom slats at every stud, and cut a piece of material. Number the pieces, as this measurement will change from one stud to the next.
Step 2: Installing the Lattice Sheets
Use tacks or finish nails to attach the lattice. After the first piece, make each successive piece either on a corner, or butted up against the previous piece, or both. Always place the tacks through lattice slats which are directly touching a stud or top or bottom plate. The process is neither difficult nor physically taxing, but you should take care to keep the lattice square, with all of the square holes beign the same size and shape.
Step 3: Installing the Trim Slats
Put on the trim work. Install the bottom line of trim first, and then the upright pieces. Finally, put in the top strip of trim. The only visible nail holes should be the nails in the trim work. Fill these with a paintable wood putty, and your lattice is ready for painting.
On corners, butt one edge up against the other edge so that the trim wraps around the corner and one piece exactly overlaps the edge of the previous one.
Step 4: Painting the Ipomoea Lattice
Using a spray primer, give the entire lattice an even coat. Allow the primer coat to dry for at least an hour. Add 2 to 3 coats of spray paint to fully seal the lattice, and help add strength to it by bonding the many individual slats together.
Step 5: Planting Ipomoea
Space out your morning glory plants around the perimeter of the deck. Allow at least 2 feet between each plant, but the distance can be as large as you want. As the plants grow, you can train the climbing branches to lace through the lattice, filling in an ever-expanding area from only a few well-placed vines.