How to Make a Diamond Pattern Espalier: Creating a Belgian Fence

Have you ever wanted to grow vines along a fence or wall in that pretty diamond pattern espalier? In this post I’m sharing the step-by-step plans as well as all the details you need to create one, too!

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diamond pattern espalier on wall on front of house gorgeous landscaping idea

This is a post that I’ve been dying to share with you guys ~ and one that’s been over a year in the making! It all started when I wanted to grow some vines in a diamond pattern on a blank wall in our front yard. I’m sure you’ve seen them. They’re a form of espalier, which simply means to grow vines flat against a wall. And in this case, they’re done in a diamond pattern.

They’re elegant and very European looking. And I thought they’d be the perfect thing to fill the empty wall we have on the front of our house. However, when I started to look online for instructions on how to do it, it was actually hard to find them!

Because this involves math. Yes, math! You can’t just guess where to put the wires. You need it to be symmetrical, and you need math in order to figure out how many diamonds you’ll be making. Which leads to how much wire you need, which then leads to how many plants you’ll be buying. You get the picture.

 

before photo of blank wall on front of house

As you can see, we have a weird asymmetrical wall in the front of our house that was completely blank. It’s asymmetrical in the fact that it doesn’t exist on the other side of the garage. There’s just one, to the right of the garage. Other people who have our same house have planted larger shrubs there (trying to cover it up!), and I’ve even seen decor hanging there (not my favorite look). But once I got it into my head that I wanted this diamond pattern espalier, there was no changing my mind!

And this espalier thing? It originated in France. Of course it did! Apparently everything I love is French! 😉

So a Belgian fence is just an espalier that is done in a diamond, or criss cross pattern. And it’s actually relatively easy to recreate in your own garden. It’s the perfect way to add vertical visual interest, and in case you have a big blank wall, disguise that, too!

 

Supplies You’ll Need

200 ft 16 gauge galvanized wire
Concrete screws
Needle nose pliers with wire cutter
Measuring tape
Cordless screw gun
Set of masonry drill bits (if you’re doing this on a fence, you can just get wood drill bits)
Chalk reel
1 tube of clear 100% silicone caulk (you only need this if you’re doing it on a wall, not a fence)
Shovel
Gloves
(3) creeping fig plants
Soil amendment

 

Picking a Vine

As far as picking a plant, there are tons of climbing vines that will work. I chose Creeping Fig because we love it, have it in the backyard (it’s covering all our fences) and it’s a super fast grower. I’m not patient and in this kind of situation, I didn’t want to have to wait years for it to fill in. It’s also basically maintenance free after the first year – yay!

 If you want something that will bloom, trumpet vine, jasmine, or bougainvillea can all work. 

 

How to Install Your Diamond Pattern Espalier

1. Measure your wall or fence space you want to cover. This will determine how many diamonds you’re making and how many plants you’ll need. Typically, a Belgian fence pattern has vines planted 2 feet apart, but you can adjust that slightly if you need to. Ours are planted 28″ apart because of the size of the wall. Adjust so that you’re as close to 2 feet apart as is possible with the distance you’re covering.

2. Plan out the measurements on paper with a grid to determine spacing and anchor points like we did below.

3. Chalk the same grid you have on paper onto the wall. We used a chalk reel to do this and it made it so much easier to implement!  This also is a time to tweak what it looks like and make sure you like it.

Mark your diamond bottoms (where the vines will be planted).

 

chalk markings on wall to create belgian fence diamond pattern trellis

markings on wall for belgian fence

anchor screw in wall

 

4. Drill pilot holes at each of the points. We used 2 screws per anchor point to run 2 strands of wire. Two strands just makes it easier to weave your vines in and around it – and it’s more secure. But you could definitely use just a single wire.

5. Fill hole with silicone caulk just before setting the screw to protect against water getting into the wall. If you’re doing this on a fence, you can skip this step.

 

showing anchors and markings on wall for belgian fence

wires forming belgian fence on wall
wires used for diamond pattern espalier

 

6. Leave about 1/4” of each screw exposed for wrapping wire around it. Run wire taut to each anchor point creating the diamond pattern, wrapping the wire around each screw to secure.

 

wires on wall all ready for plants creating a diamond pattern espalier

plants and shovel

 

7. Plant one vine at the bottom point of each diamond (for us that was 3), separating and pulling out some of the vines and weaving them onto the wire to guide the growth. I like to give them a head start 😉

8. Add soil amendment and water thoroughly.

 

creeping figs planted to create belgian fence

creeping figs planted in ground

 

9. For the first season, water once a week, more frequently if it gets really warm. Once established, Creeping Fig plants don’t need any additional watering and can survive on rain water alone (even here in sunny Southern California!)

10. As the plant grows, continue to weave it up the wires to fill in the diamond pattern. Trim any shoots or tuck them in so they grow into the pattern.

 

gorgeous belgian fence diamond pattern espalier on front of home

I love how it turned out!

Our house is still a terrible 1970’s architectural mess. And the wall is still asymmetrical. But the Belgian fence is so pretty that it distracts from all that. Or at least I like to think so! I’m so in love with it, in fact, that I’ve been looking for places to add another one ever since!

 

diamond pattern trellis on wall espalier

close up of espalier of creeping fig plants on wall

This is absolutely one of my favorite projects we’ve done. I love the charm and interest it adds to the front of the house, and I can’t think of another project that literally took so little effort for so much results!

 

espalier on wall of front of house charming european landscaping

diamond pattern espalier trellis on wall of front of house

Depending on your climate, it usually takes one to two growing seasons to see it fully grown in. For us, it has been about a year and a half since we planted them and they are completely filled in! 

 

gorgeous Belgian fence on front of house diamond pattern trellis

And there you have it! A Belgian fence diamond pattern espalier that wasn’t hard to install and gives you a lot of bang for your buck – and time! I hope if you’ve ever thought about doing it that this gives you the confidence to try it!

 

Shop Diamond Pattern Espalier Supplies

 

And I’d love to know if any of you try it. If so, be sure to send me a note or leave a comment here!

Happy Spring!

Sheila
xo

 

PIN THIS FOR LATER!!

Do It Yourself Garden Espalier trellis Belgian fence

 

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out some of my other outdoor and landscaping posts below:

Backyard Pool and Landscaping Renovation Reveal

How to Liven Up Your Outdoor Space with Color

Backyard Update: Gorgeous New Outdoor Chandeliers

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81 Comments

  1. I absolutely love your wall!! I’m trying to plan for a large wall on my home to do the same thing-how did you figure out the vertical spacing? My wall is 348 inches wide by 104 inches tall-I can space 12 plants equally 29 inches apart, but I’m stuck on how to get the vertical proportions of the diamond correct.

    1. Hi Carey! I’m so glad you love it and found it helpful! You just need to decide how many diamonds you want. If you want them close to the size of mine, then use my diagram (I have 3 diamonds high). Your 104″ height doesn’t divide exactly evenly so you’ll need to adjust for that. Lay out your chalk marks FIRST, then stand back and decide if you like that. If you don’t, then redo it with less or more diamonds – whatever looks good to you. There is no rule, they just need to be evenly spaced.

      Hope that helps!

      Sheila

  2. Looks so cool!! I have an undercover wall area that could do with that.. would it look any good with the plants growing up out of pots though?

    1. Thanks so much Anne! And yes I think you could do it with pots, too!

  3. Thanks for the great tutorial!!
    Wondering maintenance wise to keep it tidy in the diamond shape, do you have to spend a lot of time trimming and guiding the plants?

    1. Hi Crystal! No, not at all. We trim the stray branches that are spreading out every couple of weeks in summer, and in the winter when it grows more slowly, less often than that. Hope that helps!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Sheila

  4. Beautiful! I’ve thought of attaching wire for the vines we have to climb but have never seen a good tutorial, until this one.
    We have creeping fig but over the winter it froze so hopefully it will grow back and fast. The wall looks bare without it. I

    1. Thank you Elizabeth! Sure hope your creeping fig comes back!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Sheila

  5. Oh I’ma lovin’ this Sheila!!! I live in Northern Illinois so winters can be excruciating. I imagine your vines are green all seasons of the year. I would need to research what would work in my zone. In my front house area and walkway, I currently have larger ball-shaped dogwoods, smaller ones in front and with hydrangeas bordering the back of them. I am a warrior when it comes to trimming and so particular I need to shape them myself. I think I will utilize a western exposure and trial out a moveable flat arbor initially. Can”t wait to try this! I love it! Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

    1. You’re so welcome Sheryl! I hope it works out for you!

  6. Do you have any concerns about the roots upsetting your foundation? I’ve been looking for a way to cover a brick pony wall at our house here in San Diego, but from my quick research creeping fig sounds like it might cause foundation issues. Did you have concerns about this?

    1. I haven’t had any problems, and I was assured at our nursery that creeping fig doesn’t have issues. Also, since we’re keeping it trimmed, it’s not growing aggressively which should make that not an issue. Hope that helps!

  7. Hi. Can you tell me, is there a risk that the vine will grow out of control? Like how often do you find you have to prune it? I love the look but our other experiences with vines have not been good, maintenance-wise.

    1. Hi Leanne! How fast the vine grows depends on what you pick. I chose Creeping Fig and while it does need regular trimming (about once a month) it’s never grown out of control. However, I can’t speak for whatever vines you’ve used in the past. The growth will also depend on water and sun conditions where it’s planted and due to the design, you’ll want to keep it trimmed otherwise, you’ll lose the look. But the Creeping Fig is a great choice!

      Hope that helps!

      Sheila

  8. Vesselina says:

    I loved your informational post about how to build this beautiful, creative and mathematical fence. I just want to add that I agree with you in that it adds that charm you speak of. It adds a little something extra to your already lovely home. I only see what a beautiful little abode this is, nothing else. I believe the house and walls are great as they are, I’m glad you’re excited about upgrading them and they never needed it to be better. Again; thank you for sharing. I hope to be able to help beautify my home a little as well. I can only do what I can 🙂

    1. Love what you did – totally changed the look of your home. Could you please give further instructions about running the cable – do you keep it running or tie it off at each anchor site? Thank you!

      1. Hi Lisa and thank you! All the instructions are in the post – if you scroll down to the part explaining the wire I wrote that we wrapped it around each screw and then ran it to the next one – no tying off.

        Hope that helps!

        Sheila

  9. Hello Sheila,
    Very helpful tutorial, I thought it sounded like too much work and maintenance bit I’m inspired to do it too now to cover my plain fence… if I can: Do you think I could make it work on a colorbond fence taking into account the heat off it? Not sure how to do the fixings on to the sheet metal either yet… Can I ask how far off the wall ate the wires sitting?
    BTW, I’m from Australia where it gets quite hot in summer.

    1. Hi Tom thanks for your note! I’m not very familiar with Colorbond – it is steel or metal I believe? So it could be attached with heavier duty screws I’m pretty sure, but the heat may be a problem. I think I would ask at a local garden center in your area. They know your climate and will have a better idea of whether or not there’s a vine that can survive on a metal fence like that. Good luck!

      Sheila

  10. Heather C. says:

    I just wanted to compliment you on your post. It was very detailed and informative and i really feel like i can tackle this project that i had planned already. I have been holding off because it was very overwhelming and i thought i would mess up but not now.
    Thank you again

    1. What a lovely comment – thank you Heather! I’m so glad you found it helpful!

      Good luck to you!

      Sheila

  11. Beautiful! I would love to be able to do this but would have to find a vine that twines and won’t attach to our stucco. We live in zone 4 and had a trumpet vine on one wall and Boston Ivy on an outside brick fireplace and found that they attached into our stucco and brick, creating some moisture issues. Sadly they both had to be removed but oh how I miss the look!

  12. This is absolutely a dream! Do you happen to know the plant framing the window? Is that attached the same way the diamond espalier is?

    1. Thank you so much Damaris! The plant framing the window is a Bower vine. Hope that helps!

      Sheila

  13. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Curious what the bushes are that you had already planted on each side of the wall? Is this yew? Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much Wendy! I’m actually not sure what those are – they were here when we bought the house and I’ve actually wanted to replace them and have never gotten around to it, haha!

      1. Hi Sheila-to answer Wendy’s question, those plants are called Podocarpus.

  14. Maci Hobby says:

    Hey Sheila!
    I’ve spent the day drilling the holes and putting screws in. I used eye hooks.
    Up next is running my wire. I have 5 points on each side and 5 on the top/ bottom. How on earth do you know how to run the wire to make it one continuous wire that doesn’t cross over the same area? That part is throwing me off

    1. Hi Maci,

      I asked my husband and he said he did a mix of boxes and rectangles – it wasn’t just one continuous wire. If you look at the photos again you can see in some earlier ones there are boxes and a few direct lines of wire, too. He says he isn’t sure the exact mix but he did do some boxes/squares, some rectangles, and some straight lines to cover the wall in the diamond pattern.

      Hope that helps and that it makes sense! Good luck!!

  15. Love the fig espalier, I have the fig growing over a bridge and at the end of a shed , they both look great. I think I’ll try your idea out the front of my house.
    Thanks

  16. Sheila this is beyond beautiful, I would love to do this on a open area on our honeymoon, love it! Thank you for the tutorial!

  17. Thank you so much for the info and detailed instructions on the Belgian Fence. It looks fabulous. The front of my house is so similar to yours, so I will be doing this in the same area. Many years ago we installed a wrought iron fence in front of our pool, and I grew swags of ivy between each post. A bit of work to maintain but so pretty. Love your blog !

    1. Thanks so much Yvonne! I’m so glad you found it helpful – and good luck!!

      Sheila

      1. Really beautiful! I will definitely copy your idea— thanks so much for the plans!

  18. Bonnie Andrews says:

    Thank you for sharing this with us. I have been fascinated by these for years and wanted to create one.
    Love your design ideas.
    Bonnie Andrews

    1. Oh I’m so glad Bonnie! I hope you try it!!

      Sheila

  19. Gina Bernstein says:

    I am beyond excited that I found this post – thank you so much for sharing this and for all the detailed info! I’m going to show my husband and hopefully we will be installing one very soon!

  20. Cindy Fraser says:

    I’ve been wanting to do this for quite awhile now and am so happy you shared this post! Going to attempt it and hoping it turns out as good as yours!

  21. Tamara Gold says:

    So happy to have found you when googling for info on doing this very thing! Yay – can’t wait to try it!!

  22. You have made my day!
    We have an ugly wall facing the street which I just can’t get right.
    Showed my hubby, he said let’s do it! He is good with numbers
    Thank Goodness). So come spring we on it!!
    Thank you so much.

    1. Oh my gosh, I LOVE hearing that! So glad you’re doing it – good luck to you! I know you’ll love it!!

      Sheila

  23. Rosalind Murray says:

    Lovely! I have small fruit trees that I want to espalier on my backyard side fence. I have been wondering how to do it and fortunately found your post today. Thank-you!

    1. Oh my gosh, I love that!! I hope you do it Rosalind – send a photo if you do!

      And Happy New Year to you!

      Sheila

  24. Rhonda Clement says:

    My landscaper just planted a bunch of these along my fence wall. I would like to break up the wall so it isn’t solid. I wonder if I can let it go until it reaches the top two feet and then do this diamond across the top. Your thoughts? Otherwise if I want to create a column of diamond every so often it seems i should create that between two plants and not right a above one so that i can have the filled in area as well right?

    1. Well I’m no landscaper but I think the columns would be more practical from a growing stand point. The diamonds across the top can be done (and might be prettier) but you would have to grow your 4 feet of solid wall cover first (below) and then add the wires and train it to go up those above that, kind of doubling the time it will take to get to the top. If you do the columns, you can plant everything at the same time and just have your columns that you’re ‘training’ in between the solid sections that are also growing at the same time. Hopefully that makes sense. I think either way it will look pretty! Good luck to you!

  25. Marjorie Johnson says:

    Can this be done with white star jasmine?

    1. I’m sure it can as far as the growth and training of the vine, but you should check your zone to make sure the jasmine will grow successfully in your area. But if it grows there, it would work great for this!

      Sheila

      1. Mary Jane says:

        HI Sheila,
        I am getting ready to do this on the outside of my courtyard wall. Our house is made of DryVit. Do you have any experience with that material and attaching wires for espalier designs? I have an espaliered pyracantha on the front of the house that is doing great.
        I am in zone 8 in Mississippi and will use confederate jasmine.
        Thanks for the detailed instructions.

        1. Hi Mary Jane! I’m so sorry but I have no idea about DryVit! Mine is stucco so I can’t speak for attaching anything to another material. Maybe call a local masonry company and as them, or your local Home Depot might know too. Googling may give you info as well. Hopefully you’ll be able to do it – good luck!

          Sheila

          1. Mary Jane says:

            Thank you for your speedy response! I look forward to following you and your work.

  26. Tracey Kupfer says:

    Love it!! What direction does that wall face?

    1. Hi Tracey and thank you! That wall faces north.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Sheila

  27. Kim Friel says:

    I love it – thank you so much for the tutorial! I have been looking for a tutorial on how to install this on a vinyl sided wall. I am going to give it a try. Fingers crossed that I don’t have to re-side my home. 😉

    1. I’m so glad you found it helpful Kim!! And good luck to you – I’m sure it will look great!

      Sheila

  28. Audrey Biloon says:

    Your idea is fabulous but wouldn’t it be possible (and easier) to just get diamond patterned latticework (already made), attach it to the wall with bolts and grow the plants, training them to go up and onto the lattice work?

    Thank you

    1. I actually think the ready-made lattice is usually much smaller diamonds, though I’m sure you could try that! I’m not actually sure it’s easier, to be honest, and it would definitely be more expensive as the cost for this is just some wire. For me, this was way easier as I can make the diamonds any size I want and have it fit the wall perfectly which I’m not sure would work with the ready-made lattice.

  29. Love this, Sheila! It is just what that spot needed! I have always wanted to do this and am thinking about around my wall fountain which means more math. I know my sweetheart can figure it out. 👍Thanks for sharing this tutorial! I’ll save it for when the time comes. Happy 4th to you and yours.

    1. I’m so glad you liked it! It’s super easy and would look great around your fountain -I hope you do it!

      Sheila

  30. Jauquetta says:

    I love this so much! Years ago I did an espalier of pears on my wall. It was wonderful, got the idea from Sunset Magazine. It did bear some fruit but I planted it for the leaves. What you did was PERFECT for your space, a true show stopper!

    1. Oh my gosh, that sound so lovely with pears – very European!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words – so appreciate it!

      Sheila

  31. Sheila, I just love this tutorial! I’ve always wanted to do it and now I am inspired! What a great solution to an odd space. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I love hearing that!! I was also wanting to do it for YEARS and am so glad we finally did! I hope you do!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Sheila

  32. Sheila, I just love this tutorial! I’ve always wanted to do it and now I am inspired! What a great solution to an odd space. Thank you for sharing!

  33. I love this so much! I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do this! We are in our 4th house rental in 7 years…sigh. I could never do this anywhere else, but here…there is one possibility. I live in the Pacific Northwest…in upper Washington state. I adore creeping fig. I’m not sure where you live. Do you think the creeping fig will survive where I am? My kids in California have it creeping all over their garage and I love it so much.

    1. I love creeping fig so much! And yes, I think it would grow there as it can grow in full sun all the way down to full shade. I would still check if it works in your area, but I’m pretty sure it could! I hope you get to do it!

      And thanks for your kind words 🙂

      Sheila

  34. Stumbled upon your site while looking for a tutorial on how to make an espalier on a large concrete fence. Your instructions were so helpful! I’m presently trying to decide on which plants are best to use in Central Florida. Do you have any problems with the creeping fig trying to attach more to the wall than the wire?

    1. Hi and thanks so much Julie! I’m so glad you found me, and that you found the tutorial helpful!! I LOVE the creeping fig because of it’s ability to fill in quickly and the fact that it can live almost anywhere – it’s very undemanding. I do trim the vine every couple of weeks to keep it climbing on the wire vs. going on the wall but that’s not a lot of work and to me, it’s the perfect vine for this. I hope that helps!

      Good luck!

      Sheila

  35. THANK YOU!!! I live in Orange County and bought the creeping fig before I saw this post and even before I really figured out how to do this. Your tutorial is the best I’ve seen. I also have a 1970’s house so I can’t wait to tackle this project. How long did it take for the vine to completely fill your pattern?

    1. Oh gosh, I’m so glad to hear this! One of the reasons I posted this was to help others, because when I was looking I couldn’t find any helpful articles on how to do it! Ours took about a year to go 3/4 of the way up the wall!

      Good luck to you – and thanks for stopping by!

      Sheila

  36. It’s lovely! We’re in Canada, so I don’t think the creeping fig would grow here, but I think it would possibly work with ivy… I’m going to give this a try and thanks so much for your clear and detailed instructions,,, wish me luck!

    1. Aww I’m so glad to hear that you liked it! Good luck to you – I hope the ivy works!!

      Sheila

  37. Wow, Sheila! This is just gorgeous! You and your husband did such a great job. I’m already wondering where I could do something like this in our yard or on the house,lol. So beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration. 👍

    1. Aww thank you so much – I so appreciate that! And I’m so glad you were inspired – I hope you do it!!

      Sheila

  38. This looks amazing!! I’ve always wanted to make one and this tutorial inspires me so much. Thanks for sharing the details, it’s been added to “the list”‘of projects .

    1. I’m SO glad to hear that Deborah – yay!! Do it! You will be so glad you did!

      Sheila
      xo

  39. That is so beautiful!!! It looks like the architect designed that spot for exactly what you did. It should be featured in Veranda magazine. 😊 Do you have to trim it very often to keep the shape?

    1. Aww that is so kind – thank you so much!! We just trim it every couple of weeks, or really if I’m just walking by I’ll clip any that are shooting out. It’s not a lot of maintenance at all!

      Sheila

  40. Alice Genzlinger says:

    I love it and have always wanted to do this. Thanks for the tutorial.

    1. You’re so welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed it and I hope you decided to try it! If you do, send a pic!

      Sheila

  41. I was wondering do you have to trim it often for the new growth that comes on ?
    Thanks. I think it looks really pretty and filled in that wall so nice .

    1. It really doesn’t take much maintenance at all. My husband simply prunes any shoots he sees every couple of weeks – that’s it! If you have a gardener you can have them do it every week, but we just have my husband and he definitely doesn’t do it more than twice a month. Sometimes I will just pluck them out if I walk by and see some!

      Glad you like it!

      Sheila