Wondering how to cover an exterior concrete wall? See how Erin created an easy DIY climbing rose trellis along her porch foundation.
Ideas To Cover a Concrete Wall
But how do you cover up a concrete wall that’s needed but ugly?
Well, you can paint concrete or cinder block like we did to help it blend in.
You can add some lumber and planters to make a gorgeous garden slat wall like this.
Or, you can do like today’s guest tutorial and build a trellis to make your own rose garden that will look something like this later in the summer:
When Erin purchased her home three years ago, the side of her front porch was damaged from years of neglect and ivy growing unchecked.
See how she transformed a cement foundation wall into a beautiful trellis garden for climbing roses!
This post contains affiliate links. Learn more and read our full disclosure policy here.
How to Cover a Foundation Wall with a Plant Trellis
by Erin from Top Shelf DIY
Hello Remodelaholics! Spring is here and so are the fun outdoor builds!
My name is Erin and I’m visiting from Top Shelf DIY, where I blog about home remodeling, woodworking, and delicious cocktail recipes. I love raising the bar around my home and at the literal bar.
I’m excited to be here sharing how I transformed an ugly cement wall into a climbing rose feature garden for a little over $100 in materials! It’s the perfect spring project for woodworkers and gardeners alike.
Why I chose to upgrade this space
About a year ago I inherited a bunch of lattice from a neighbor who was giving them away. I’m all about free materials so I swooped in for the goods.
Unfortunately, my lattice wall dreams were temporarily put on hold while dealing with a colicky newborn. Fast forward to a happier baby and warm Spring temperatures in southern Georgia, and you know which project was at the top of my list.
Not only have I been able to free up a chunk of precious garage space, but I’ve also added curb appeal to my house.
In the next year or two there should be gorgeous, fragrant pink roses spilling over the side of our front porch.
I was able to keep the costs down for this project by repurposing the lattice and other scrap wood in my garage. A few of the tools were loaned out to me from neighbors (who were repaid in the form of rum cake).
Side tip: before investing in a new tool, consider renting from a big box store or a neighbor. You can test run different brands this way and save money if it’s not a tool you’ll be using again anytime soon!
Tool and materials needed for this project
Prepping the cement wall and railing
The cement wall for this trellis is located on a side hill to the right of our front porch. When we purchased our home three years ago this area was completely overrun with English ivy.
We had professional landscapers cut everything back, but there were still traces of vines when I started this project last week. Those babies are ruthless!
Once the vines were removed things were looking a bit better, but the landscaping was still much to be desired.
I manually scrubbed off as much vinery as I could with a scrub brush and hot soapy water. Then I used a Lysol bleach spray, which in retrospect probably wasn’t very eco-friendly but it did kill some of the lingering vines.
Finally, I gave everything a good power washing. Let me tell you, power washing is LIFE. It is Fraulein Maria twirling on a mountain top good.
If you don’t own a pressure washer, you can rent one from a home improvement store for around $25-$40.
I have a girlfriend in the neighborhood who also loves DIY projects – she borrowed my Ryobi multi-tool in exchange for loaning out her power washer. Perfect win-win.
Once the cement and deck were clean I gave the railing a fresh coat of white exterior paint.
How to secure lattice to a cement wall
Lattice on its own is pretty flimsy, so attaching it directly to the cement didn’t seem like a great option.
Plus, I needed there to be a bit of breathing space behind the lattice for the rose vines to grow.
My solution was to build a framework consisting of 1×4 cedar. These were drilled into the wall using concrete anchors. Once the framework was up, all I needed to do was attach my lattice with brad nails.
This was my first time drilling into concrete. Here are a few lessons learned:
- Pre-drill your holes using a hammer drill and masonry drill bit. Advance slowly and make sure your bit is fresh and your battery is 100% charged.
- Your drill bit should be slightly smaller than your concrete anchors so your screw teeth have something to “grip” into.
- Drill your hole roughly ¼” longer than your screw. The easiest way to do this is to mark a spot on your drill bit with painter’s tape so you know when to stop drilling.
- Use a regular drill bit to pre-drill the holes in your wood. I used my masonry drill bit, and it worked okay, but it was a bit clunky.
- Once all of your holes are drilled, secure your studs to the cement using an impact drill.
- Singing “I GOT THE POWER!” at the top of your lungs while using your impact drill makes the process less tedious.
Building the cedar framework
After making a quick sketch of the wall I started cutting my 1×4’s to length.
One of the angles measured 110 degrees, so I needed to make two mitered 35-degree cuts.
If you’re interested in learning more about mitered cuts I go into greater depth on using a protractor in this post on Top Shelf.
Moving along, I pre-drilled each hole with a hammer drill following the tips above. Each piece was secured with 2-3 cement anchors.
Once the framework was up, the rest of the job went pretty fast!
Securing your trellis
Measure your space and mark your cuts on the lattice.
Slowly cut away the excess with a circular saw – be sure to wear proper safety gear, as lattice tends to catch in the blade and cause a bit of kickback.
Once the pieces were cut to size, I sprayed them with exterior spray paint; three bottles were enough for the entire wall.
I let each piece dry in the sunlight for about 15 minutes before securing it to my framework.
Continue nailing lattice to your frame until the entire wall is covered. I applied wood glue to the back of the lattice in places where it was in contact with the cedar.
When possible, use the pre-existing pattern of your lattice to fit your pieces together. This will give your lattice the appearance of being all one large piece instead of several sandwiched together.
I know, some of mine look choppy – mostly because I was working with scrap wood from another project.
Lattice is great for covering outdoor eyesores — see how Heather used lattice to make an easy but beautiful outdoor screen to hide her AC unit!
Adding trim to the garden wall
This last step is totally optional, but I added 1×2 cedar trim along the top and sides of the lattice to cover up the exposed ends. I could have painted these beams white, but I really liked the contrast of the wood tones with the white.
Secure your trim using cement anchors as before.
Plant your rose garden!
I have no shame in telling you that I spent more at the nursery than I did at the hardware store – about $180. It’s going to be gorgeous!
I planted a “Pretty in Pink” Eden climbing rose bush, as well as two dwarf Butterfly Bushes and a Sky Pencil Holly to cover up our gutter spout.
A nice layer of mulch completed the flower bed. And that was it!
If I could hit the fast forward button on how this trellis wall will look, the end result would look something like this:
I’ll just have to preoccupy myself with other projects as I not-so-patiently wait for these plants to grow.
And that’s it, friends. This build took me two days, with the prep work spread out a few days beforehand. You could easily accomplish this project in a weekend, especially if you have a helper.
I hope this rose garden trellis wall inspires something beautiful in your own surroundings! Be sure to follow me @topshelfdiy on Instagram for updates as this garden grows.
And for another fun build check out my kiddo’s sand and water table that doubles as a beer cooler!
More DIY garden and trellis projects: