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DIY Warrior: Build a Garden Trellis

Filed Under: Exteriors & Facades, Outdoors

garden trellisMrs. FIXIT

Add whimsy to your home's facade by adding a simple latticework trellis adorned with decorative or fruit-bearing vines.

Along the side of my house, there's an expanse of facade that would make a perfect home for a garden trellis. I headed to my local home improvement store in search of one of a simple, latticed trellis, but couldn't find the right size.

Just as I was about to give up, I passed a big bundle of pressure-treated 1 x 2 lumber. Why not try to custom build one to fit the space, I thought, rather than spend so much time looking for the perfect trellis? And so that's what I did, and you can too. It's easy!

This project gives you the flexibility to make your trellis any size you want so you can play around with spacing and placement of the boards.

Tools & Materials

Pressure-treated 1 x 2 wood boards: This chemically preserved wood is resistant to rot and insects, so it's a great choice for outdoor use. It should be noted that the safety of pressure-treated wood has been debated, so be informed before you decide to use this material instead of traditional lumber.
Scrap wood to use as spacers: I used the scraps from 2 x 4s to space the pieces of the trellis apart as I was creating the layout.
Measuring tape
Pencil
Power chop saw or crosscut hand saw
A glue gun and glue sticks
Safety glasses
Nail gun, or hammer and finish nails

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Build a Garden Trellis

Do a dry run, and lay out the pieces of the trellis on a flat surface to figure out how many uprights and cross pieces you'll need. I used scrap pieces of 2 x 4 as spacers to evenly space the boards (but you can use any size spacer you want). Why spacers and not measuring tape? I find they're faster than measuring and you don't have to worry about the boards sliding around as you set them in place. For this project, I wound up used three uprights and seven cross bars.

Build a Garden Trellis

Once you've decided on the layout of your trellis, you need to measure and mark each piece of wood to the height and width you desire. Remember the old adage: Measure twice, cut once. Be precise with your measurements so you can be sure that the trellis will be even and symmetrical even once you hang it. A tip: When you mark a board to cut it, use a "V" to mark the measurement on the board; it will be easier for you to see than a line when you go to cut it.

Build a Garden Trellis

Once all of your boards are measured and marked cut them all to length. I used a power chop saw to cut all of the pieces, but a simple crosscut hand saw would work just as well. Hold the board tight to the saw and set the blade for straight cuts. Whenever you're using tools, make sure that you wear your safety glasses to protect your eyes from any flying debris.

Build a Garden Trellis

When you're finished cutting all of the pieces, lay it all back out the way you want it to look when it's finished. Again, I used the scrap wood as spacers to save time; they work like a charm!

Build a Garden Trellis


Working on projects by myself over the years has forced me to come up with some innovative solutions to act as an extra set of hands. This project is no exception. Using a hot glue gun is a simple and effective way to hold a project together until you can nail everything in place. It's fast and easy. Simply secure all of the horizontal strips over the vertical strips with your glue gun. It dries super fast and it is strong enough to hold all the pieces firmly in place while you nail the boards together

Build a Garden Trellis

Once you've got the entire trellis glued together, use a nail gun or hammer and finish nails to secure all of the pieces in place. You want the nails secured in the center of each point at which your boards criss-cross. Don't forget to pull your safety glasses back on before you start nailing.

Build a Garden Trellis

Now pick a spot on your facade and attach the garden trellis to the side of house.

Build a Garden Trellis

Once your trellis is in place, you can use twine, rope, or wire to train vines to grow and climb through the latticework of your trellis.

Build a Garden Trellis





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