The challenge? Create a low-cost fence using predominantly reclaimed material. The upcycling solution? Innersprings from mattresses discarded on the streets, and careful planning.
The client – friends, Simon and Naomi May – liked this idea. Simon is an accomplished industrial designer and took on the duties of layout and detail. To our knowledge, this type of fencing had never been done before so we had no reference and needed to work from scratch.
The first step was the concept stage, when we focused on the layout. The first innerspring frame was placed to assess the scale and general aesthetic – we were going for a slightly industrial look. We then established how the ground would be prepared, selected the plants appropriate for the type of soil (maidenhair) and established final details.
Preparation work involved levelling and planting the maidenhair-hedge. Naomi and family did the planting.
In total we would be installing 16 meters of mattress innerspring frames, which meant we needed to find 8 mattresses! We expected to be shopping on the streets as there are always mattresses to be found left on nature strips around town. It turned out, though, that the best place is the local waste transfer station. They have no use for them and mattresses are difficult to compress for recycling.
90 x 90mm galvanised metal posts and star pickets were chosen as the vertical supports. The design includes three openings, which allows for the addition of gates in the future, made from reclaimed timbers.
As we started to build the fence, there were many complements from passersby. The construction seemed seamless, but this is because we spent so much time on the initial design. However, with a drop of around 3 degrees, the driveway proved quite challenging – but again, with a clear and concise plan, everything worked.
Simon is an industrial designer, so things had to be done to a very high standard and look professional. He devised a very simple clip from bracing strap (a standard building product that comes in a roll) to attach the innersprings – with the idea that anyone can make one. Here’s how.
Then we needed to find 5 metres of timber to build the infills and gates. We discovered a supply not far away. When we asked for permission, the owner allowed us to take as much as we wanted – but we only took what we needed, leaving some for the next person.
After collecting, sorting and measuring the wood, we were able to start on the frames for the gates. These gates add an element of style and functionality. Cladding for the gates was made from shipping pallets. Disassembled and de-nailed, they worked effectively and we used spacers to ensure the gaps were equal gaps.
We are very pleased with the outcome. Over time, the vines will grow up and through the mattress springs to create a clean and subtle visual block that will improve privacy and use of the front yard.
UpShop can assist with the supply of innersprings and designing your fence – contact us.