The New Home Economics

How to: inexpensive garden trellis

6 Comments

We made a trellis for the garden last fall, but my post about it was rather light on details. We built 3 more of them during our spring break, so here are detailed building and installation instructions.

Materials for 1 straight trellis:
Three 2 in. x 2 in. x 8 ft. pieces of cedar
Welded wire fencing (like this or this), 4 ft. x 6-7 ft. (we bought a whole roll)
Two 3 in. pieces of copper tubing
Two 6 in. heavy duty wood screws (like these)

Materials for 1 corner trellis:
Above materials, plus one more cedar 2x2x8

For the straight trellis, cut one of the pieces of cedar into two 44 in. lengths. Using a power miter box (chop saw) cut a 45 degree angle into the bottom of each of the other two 8 ft. pieces (to make them pointy at the bottom). Lay out your pieces like this:

Fasten the pieces together with standard decking screws:

Next, roll out your fencing and cut to size with a wire snips:

Staple the fencing to the cedar posts:

Finished straight trellis:

(see the pointy bottoms?)  Now for the corner trellis variation:

For this, you have three 8 ft. pieces and four 21 in. pieces. Lay it out and fasten the outside corners with the decking screws, but only fasten one side to the center piece.  It’s much easier to staple the fence on when the structure can be laid out flat on the ground.

After you’ve stapled on the fencing, flip the whole thing over and fold it up.  Fasten the final screws and you’re done building.  We had to then store these in the garage for two more weeks while we waited for the snow to melt.  Today we finally installed them!

Pound them into the ground about six inches with a mallet, about 4 inches from the foundation.

Make sure they fit in the spot where you want them because this is a permanent installation!  Attach them to the house using the copper tubing and 6 in. screws, like this:

The copper tube protects the screw and makes things look a little nicer.

Total cost for the straight trellis: around $30. Corner trellis, about $36, depending on the price of cedar. Please, use cedar if you plan to grow edibles on these!  It’s significantly more expensive than green-treated, yes, but you don’t want any chemicals leaching into your vegetable garden.  I’m not 100% anti-green-treated lumber — can’t afford to be — but where edibles are concerned it’s worth it.

So, so jazzed about these trellises. I plan to plant cucumbers, two different varieties of pole beans (including Christmas Lima Beans!) and hops on them. Yay!  Questions? Bonus points to anyone who guesses correctly how many drills Adam actually owns.

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6 thoughts on “How to: inexpensive garden trellis

  1. I’ll guess four drills. I see two in these pictures.
    I think I have six, but two are probably ready to be thrown away. Two were purchased in the last five months: one when I went to the store to get one cordless and saw how expensive they were so I got a real cheap one and committed to figure out what battery size my cordless had, and just replace that. Then once I was out to get just the battery, I noticed that the current version of the same drill was on sale for $5 more than the battery pack.

    I have a hammer drill that I ruined a few years back, but I wonder if my dad can fix the trigger.

    • This just in: Adam *thinks* he has five, but he’s not totally sure. And he wants a new cordless for his birthday, which would mean at least 6.

  2. looks great! i was planning on building something similar– do you think that zukes/melons would be able to climb on something straight up like that? i was hoping to just attach some chicken wire/netting to our existing almost solid fence, but i wasn’t sure if it needed to be at an angle, or if totally vertical would hold it. thanks!

    • Hey Julia! I have never personally grown melons on a trellis, but friends of mine had luck as long as they added extra support when the melons started to get more than, say golf ball size. One friend of mine actually used nylons that she stapled/tied onto her trellis just to hold most of the weight of the melon. And apparently it worked. Within reason, of course — I wouldn’t try it with watermelons!

      As far zucchinis go, are there zukes that grow in a vine habit? Whenever I’ve grown them they’ve been real bushy and not conducive to climbing up anything.

      I love growing cucumbers on trellis though, it really saves you a ton of space and helps prevent some of the fungal problems they can be susceptible to. Good luck!

  3. Thanks for sharing! Making one of these for my yard. Question: Is there a reason you mount these to the wall with the stapled side facing out? Thank you, Mike

    • I think you could go with the stapled side on the inside—but if a staple came loose it would be much harder to make repairs if it was facing the wall, yes? Also they really need to be mounted or they will not be sturdy enough to support heavy vines, especially if you get wind. Hope that helps!

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