Forum home Tools and techniques

Training roses against a fence: What wires, hooks, tensioners to use?

Hi all. We have recently bought a couple of climbing roses to train across 3 x 6-foot fence panels. In current lock-down conditions I'm struggling to find good advice re what to use.

Any advice on what gauge of wire to use, what length vine eyes, do I need to use turnbuckles, etc. would be much appreciated.

I've bought some 2mm galvanised wire, and have some 100mm vine eye screws coming from an online order, but am not sure if that's enough or if I need some turnbuckles for tensioning the wire, and if so how to incorporate these?

If anyone has any links to complete kits (or turnbuckle kits to add to my wire and vine eyes), or good "how to" videos for setting up this structure that would be great.

Many thanks, and happy lock-down gardening, Michael


  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 6,958
    @Mr. Vine Eye  I think is the man you need...
  • jayne10bjayne10b Posts: 95
    I guess you could technically stretch your wires without turnbuckles, but you would never get them taut.  I don't think it matters too much how long the turnbuckles are but at least one end of the turnbuckle needs to have a hook.  It is more the vine eyes that you want to get right.  If they protrude too far, they will bend under the pressure.  My other tip would be to try and get wire that is the same colour as your fence if possible so that the wires blend in.
  • Morning Michael

    I did similar for a friend last week, albeit on a longish brick wall. You’re on the right lines. I used 2.5mm wire (57999), 5mm turnbuckles (63563) and 73mm rawlbolt anchor eyebolts (57683). You’d swap the latter for regular eyebolts as you’re going into wood presumably. All are available from Screwfix (purchase codes in brackets).

    The wall was 145cm high, so three lines set up the length of the wall, first at 60cm high, then 95cm and 135cm approx, drilling into brick not mortar and avoiding the top soldier course. The length of the supports was about 600cm; you probably don’t need a central set of eyes.

    For each support line, an eyebolt was screwed in far left and far right, plus one in the middle as an insurance since the wall was long. Then the fun bit, deploying the turnbuckles. Monty explains it better than me, here’s the video clip:

    Even if it’s a short stretch of fence/wall, I’d be tempted to use the turnbuckles because it’s almost impossible to tighten by hand, it’s surprising how much wire sags after a while and they’re simple, fun items to deploy. Plus it’s all good practise!

    Silly little things to remember: a screwdriver to thread through and tighten each eye once they have been hand screwed in; pliers to cut and tidy the wires at each end.

    A few pics of the finished project below; now to plant the roses this Sunday...

    Hope this helps, cheers Johnny

  • OmoriOmori North YorkshirePosts: 1,648
    Definitely use turnbuckles, it will look sloppy otherwise. 
  • Thanks all, I'll order a couple of turnbuckles. Looks like that's all I'm missing based on jonnypenstemon's pictures and Monty's video.
    Cheers, Michael
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,151
    Another benefit of using turnbuckles is that they allow you to remove the wires easily without having to cut them. Just loosen the turnbuckle and unhook. Done that a few times at the allotment while clearing ground around the posts and I didn’t want to accidentally whack the wires!

     You want to have an air gap, this will be better for the plant and the longevity of your wooden fence. So if you’re screwing the vine eyes into posts then don’t go in the whole way - depends really on your exact set up and whether the posts protrude further than the line of the panels or not.
     Don’t over-tighten the turnbuckles as you want to leave a bit of give in the wire and room to adjust at a later date. They don’t need to be piano wire tight - as shown in that Monty clip he left quite a bit of slack. Also if you tighten too much it’ll bend the vine eyes a way around it is to do this:

    So there’s an anchoring eye on each end and then another eye set further out to space the wire further from the surface. It doesn’t get bent because the horizontal tension is mostly on the anchors either end.

     For my wires across 2x 6ft panels I've got a vine eye in each end post and one in the middle post to give central support. It also gives another anchor point if you wanted to erect additional wires, maybe at diagonals, like I have for a clematis.

     I spaced my wires vertically by a foot/30cm for roses.

    And these wire anchors for concrete posts are a great solution for anyone with hard posts that can’t be drilled easily. They just clamp on and tightened with a bolt.
  • Thanks for the additional info Mr VE, the concrete post anchors are a very handy suggestion.
  • Are concrete posts generally easy to drill into? I had assumed I'd need to fix the vine eyes to the wooden fence panels, but like the idea of fixing them to the posts (gives complete flexibility re the choice of height for the wires, rather than having to fix where the fence panels have supporting battens).
  • Mr. Vine EyeMr. Vine Eye Posts: 2,151
    It'll also be sturdier long term.

    It depends! Fence posts on one side of my garden were quite easy to drill with a standard cordless drill with hammer action and a decent sharp masonry bit. I just drilled a 7mm hole, 7mm plug in and then screwed the vine eyes straight in.

    The posts on the opposite side were impossible!! That's why I bought the wire anchors instead. 

    I'd do a test in an inconspicuous place. Use a small diameter masonry bit and slow and steady try and do a test hole to see what yours a like. If they seem either too brittle or too hard then stop.

    Aim right for the centre of the post, that's the chunkiest bit of concrete and there will be metal rebars in the corners which you don't want to hit. 
Sign In or Register to comment.