Repurposing an unused clothesline: The $50 instant patio!


The summer sun in my neck of the woods is crazy intense. I can usually work outside for about an hour when I begin to hear and smell what can only be described as sizzling bacon. That, as it turns out, is my skull cooking my brains. Now, I love bacon so I just keep on working.

Having a yard that was only a dirt lot not more then three years ago means that there is little in regards to shade. I’m waiting on my trees to grow, but in the meantime, I need some other options to avoid frying myself as well as my more tender greens. I have a huge section in the back yard where the previous owners poured a giant concrete slab to facilitate a massive clothesline. Here’s what it looks like in full operation…

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The dryer is on the mend…

Please, don’t look at my undies! That’s private. I used this line about 3 times in as many years and I usually use it only for large items like blankets. I have an energy efficient dryer that works so well and I usually do my dreaded laundry tasks at night, so the line was just taking up space.

Then one day, while my bacon brains were a’sizzling, the heat stroke gave me an idea. If I were to remove the clothesline and replace it with strong braided wire, I could lay some lattice on top! I also had a big problem with my grapevines at the time. They were growing so fast and thick that they were blocking both access as well as sun to my veggie garden. Something had to be done. I figured, if I set up this lattice roof, I could let the grapes go crazy on that and not my garden! Genius right? I thought so.

So I took some measurements and made a Home Depot run (conveniently located a block away). Now, I don’t own a truck, although I should. Hell, I don’t even own a four seater. I have a coop. A lovely V8 Thunderbird that gets my heart racing every time. But, I’m not one who is willing to wait for things. I get an idea in my head and I have to run with it. It’s impulsive, but also the reason that I’ve accomplished about 6 years of yard work in only 3 years. It serves a purpose in other words.

So, what do you do when life gives you challenges? You crush those challenges under your mighty heel of course. Thusly, I give you the convertible that acts as a truck…

Sorry about the Duran Duran. Actually, no I’m not! You’re welcome for the Duran Duran! Here I am in the parking lot of the Home Depot getting head shakes from all the other customers.

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Smug and stupid. That’s my Modus Operandi.

I got back home and whipped up a central support structure out of some unused 4×4’s from another project and attached eye lags to receive the braided wire. Each wire supports 250 lbs. and I used three. So, plenty strong for the lattice and soon to be bushy grapevines. I attached the lattice with some zip cords. The 4×4 support structure was then bolted into the cement for stability. The whole project took about and hour and the costs were minimal. In the end, I had a 30′ x 8′ covered patio for chillaxing and chicken observation. It also produces grapes that will simply drop into your mouth from above. Very Roman feast like! I’m taking applications for people to wave giant fans made of peacock feathers while I lounge and eat grapes. Any takers?

Here it is before I began shuffling grape vines around…

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As you can see, I kept two of the clotheslines in action for drying blankets and the like. Then I started arranging the grapevines…

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On the far end I planted another concord grapevine so that they may meet in the middle. The vine took to this new arrangement quite well and I was able to reclaim my veggie garden again! And sure enough, a late season arrival of the Chardonnay grapes…

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Almost there…
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…Ready to eat!!

Next spring, I anticipate that the vine will explode with growth. And now it has room to do so and the more it grows, the more shade I’ll get next summer. Then, who knows, the Gielow vineyards may produce a nice Mind Your Dirt 2015 Chardonnay! I’ll let you know if there’s enough to share 😉


0 Replies to “Repurposing an unused clothesline: The $50 instant patio!”

  1. What a brilliant re-use for a massive clothes line and glare-inducing concrete slab. Here in Australia, I’m at a similar latitude to SoCal, so I know how blisteringly unforgiving the summer sun can be…it’s a case of ‘what were they thinking?’ when pouring vast amounts of brilliant white concrete! Your grapes should love the reflected light and heat though, especially in the June Gloom. Oh, and by the way, your car sure is a beauty 🙂

    1. Thanks Matt! Yes indeed, until my trees take shape, I am very exposed. The grapes do very well tucked in their sunny corner. The heat bounces off of the garage, fence and the cement. That’s why I picked that corner for the garden. Thanks also for the compliment on my impractical car! I do love it so. It’s very laughable though when driving with the top down to accommodate a bail of hey.

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