A fence offers extra space to hang plant baskets, adding beauty to the yard. Regular plastic plant baskets tend to be less than attractive, and both plastic and wire baskets are limited in their shapes and sizes. Rather than settle for something that doesn't quite suit your tastes, make your own plant baskets with chicken wire, metal snips and needle-nose pliers. Before planting and hanging on the fence, line the baskets with sphagnum moss, wetting it first and pressing into the basket, or with preformed liners -- a natural variety is the type made of coir, also known as coconut fiber. Work gloves help prevent the inevitable skin punctures that come with working with chicken wire.
Basket Creation Basics
When working with a piece of chicken wire, cut any loose or sharp pieces off the sides, trimming the wires down to the nearest row or column. This prevents skin punctures and makes the wire far more manageable. A basic square basket is made in similar fashion to a box made of paper or card stock: Cut the wire into a giant plus sign or cross shape with all sides equal. Fold up each appendage to create a square box with square bottom. A roll of thin wire twisted through the sides of each piece stitches the sides together. Folding the top edge of the basket down inside the box on each side makes the rim sturdier and easier to hold without changing the basket's shape. Sturdy craft wire holds the basket on the fence.
The shallow basketlike shape of a canoe makes it a suitable model for a plant basket. Cut the shape of a canoe's perimeter from chicken wire; the wider the shape you cut, the deeper the basket will be. Then push down on the center of the shape while pulling up the sides but not the ends, or the bow and stern. Once you have the chicken wire molded into a rough basket shape, curl the pointed ends inward to create the canoe basket. Roll and fold the sharp end points inward to add strength to the boat. Secure the areas near the ends with wire, leaving the center or top part open for a plant.
From Shade to Shapely
Repurpose a lampshade frame into a support structure for a chicken wire basket. Tear the fabric off the shade. Flip it upside down so the widest part is on top. Then wrap the sides and bottom with sheets of chicken wire, securing it all with craft wire. To decorate it, place glass beads on the craft wire before using it to secure the chicken wire. The glass beads add a pop of color that illuminates when light hits it. A series of shades-turned wire planters along a fence creates a cohesive, playful look. For more fun, transform a sturdy old floor lamp base into a tall bird bath stand for display near the shades.
Chicken wire on its own is not very sturdy, so if making the basket large, brace the structure with strips of wood in the bottom, or add a few thicker wires along the bottom so the weight of plant and potting mixture, and especially after watering, doesn't ruin the basket's shape.