How To Build A DIY Wood Trellis

Last Updated February 19, 2021 By Bella Zinti

Trellises are an ideal way to save space in your garden, and thankfully, they're surprisingly easy and affordable to build yourself! To help you upgrade your garden, we've detailed step-by-step instructions for how to build a garden trellis.

How Much Will DIY Trellis Cost?

Before you start the DIY project, you may be wondering how much this DIY project will cost you. It can cost you anywhere between $200-500, with pressure-treated wood being more budget-friendly. Cedarwood is an excellent choice for long-lasting frames but comes with a higher price tag. Redwood is another popular choice because of its durability and lower cost than cedar (price will vary based on your region).

How to Build a DIY Wooden Trellis

Step 1— Measure Your Space 

First, you'll need to decide on the location and size of your wooden trellis. When you've found the perfect spot in your garden, take measurements to determine the size of the boards you'll need to create the wood frame. 

Step 2— Gather Your Materials

Before you get started, you'll need to gather the right supplies. Here are all the materials you'll need to build a DIY trellis: 

  • Five longer 2x2" wood boards— These will be the vertical boards, so they should be the length of your desired trellis height with additional length to secure the trellis in the ground. 
  • Seven shorter 2x2" wood boards— These will be the horizontal boards, so they should be your desired trellis width. Depending on your trellis' height, you may need a few more or a few less boards. 
  • Approx. Fifty coated deck screws— Deck screws have a protective zinc coating that prevents corrosion. 
  • Wood glue— Wood glue makes lining your boards up far easier and offers an added layer of stability. 
  • Power drill— While a power drill isn't absolutely required, it'll make the job a heck of a lot faster and easier. 
  • Saw— If your boards aren't pre-cut to your desired length, you'll need a saw to cut them to the proper size. 
  • Level
  • Measuring tape

Step 3— Create the Outer Frame 

To build your garden trellis, you'll first need to create a sturdy outer frame. Depending on the size of your wooden trellis, you may want to build it close to the place you'll be using it, as it may be difficult to move once it's built. 

Lay two of the longer wood boards on a flat work surface. These will be the sides of your trellis. 

Place one of the shorter wood boards across the top, making sure it's perfectly even and creates two 90˚ angles with the longer boards. This board will make the top edge of your trellis. Secure the three boards with a bit of wood glue and allow them to dry before drilling. 

While the top board is curing, it's time to turn your attention to the bottom edge of the frame. It's essential to leave your trellis with long enough "legs" to secure the unit into the ground while leaving about a foot of space between the bottom of the trellis and the dirt. 

Mark each of the longer boards ⅓ of the way up from the bottom. Place one of the shorter boards across the frame, lining up the bottom edge with the marks you just made. Secure in place with wood glue and let dry. Once your wood glue has cured, secure the boards firmly in place with screws. 

Step 4— Attach the Rest of the Wood Boards

Now that you've created the outer frame, it's time to assemble the pieces in the middle. Start by marking where your remaining horizontal and vertical boards will go, carefully measuring to be sure they're equal-distant apart and perfectly straight. It can be helpful to lay the boards out to provide a visual guide while marking. 

Next, fix the vertical boards in place using wood glue. Allow them to dry before securing with screws. Repeat the process with the horizontal boards until you've finished building your DIY wood trellis. 

Step 5— Install the Wooden Trellis in Your Garden 

First, prepare the area where you'll be installing your trellis. Be sure to position the trellis at least 1 to 2 feet away from any fences or structures. This allows for proper air circulation, easy pruning, and maintenance and ensures climbing vines don't damage your siding. 

Clear the ground where you plan to put the trellis. Measure the distance between the trellis' two legs and mark their location on the ground. Then, dig holes deep enough to clear the frost line. For improved drainage, tamp a small amount of gravel into the bottom of each hole. 

Lay the trellis face down, with the legs adjacent to the holes you just dug. With the help of another person, carefully tilt the trellis into place, using a level to ensure it's perfectly vertical. You may need to fill the holes with a bit of soil or gravel to create an even base. 

Once you're happy with the position of your trellis, have your friend hold it in place while you stabilize it in the ground. Fill the holes with soil and gravel, tamping the mixture down every few inches to make it more solid. And voila, it's time to plant your climbing garden! 

What plants grow best on a Garden trellis? 

Using a trellis saves space in your garden and increases harvest yields by encouraging plants to grow upwards instead of outwards. Plus, they reduce soil-borne disease and insect damage by keeping plants off the ground. Here are a few vegetables and plants that grow well on wood trellises:

  • Pole beans— green beans, lima beans, and wax beans 
  • Cucumbers— pickling cucumbers and lemon cucumbers
  • Peas— sugar snap peas and snow peas
  • Tomatoes— cherry tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, Roma tomatoes, and pear tomatoes 
  • Grapes
  • Climbing roses

Budget-Friendly Garden Trellises

  • Build your trellis using stakes, wire, zip ties, and bolt cutters. This option is the cheapest option, but the remesh wire will get rusty.
  • Build your trellis with a wooden frame with remesh wire using stakes and hose clamps.
  • Build your trellis using lattice panels

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About the author

Bella has a Bachelors degree in interior design, is a master gardener. She designs nourishing outdoor & indoor spaces guided by the practice of Feng Shui.


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