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The answer is a steel I-beam sandwich.

Wood wants to sag over long horizontal spans--and the longer the run, the more a wood beam deflects. Keeping the Wood straight and level requires supports along the span, or strong, large-dimensioned timbers.

Neither of those solutions seemed right for this long, patio-bordering trellis, since owners Carol and Clelen Tanner wanted an unobstructed view of their garden and the hills beyond.

For an open and slender profile, landscape designer Susan Ayers of Walnut Creek, California, used 6-inch-deep steel I-beams to span the 24 feet between the supporting 8-by-8 posts. (Without the steel beams, she would have had to use timber beams more than 14 inches deep-far too heavy for the look of this trellis.)

To mask the 1-beams, Ayers sandwiched each one between a pair of 2-by-6s, their edges beveled to fit the beams' contours and their ends extending slightly beyond the ends of the beams. From below, you see a hint of steel; from the side, the structure appears to be solid wood.

The slender but extremely heavy beams rest on pairs of 2-by-8s bolted to the posts. Spaced 4 feet apart, the clad 1-beams support a top layer of 6-foot-long 2-by-2s and a child's swing in the middle.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:trellis
Date:May 1, 1989
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