Make a Trellis for Your Garden

What you’ll need

  • Wood or PVC lattice
  • 2×4 rot-resistant lumber
  • Channel lumber
  • 4, 4 inch angle irons
  • nails
  • Saw
  • hammer
  • Post-hole digger

step 1: Gather Materials

Lattice is available from lumberyards in wood or plastic. Either will work for this trellis, and both will look good. Lattice usually comes in 2×8 sections. To make a wider trellis, use more lattice sections. Select rot-resistant wood for the 2×4 posts and rails. The posts should be as high as you’d like the trellis, plus 2 feet for burying in the ground.

step 2: Cut and Pre-assemble

Decide how high you would like the trellis, and cut the lattice to that length, less 6 inches so the bottom will clear the ground. You can cut either wood or plastic lattice with a wood saw. Cut wood lattices just below a line of staples to keep the bottom from unraveling. Cut the two side channels the same length as the lattice, and the top and bottom channels the same width less the width of the 2 side channels.

Lay the posts on the ground and fit the lattice and channels inside them. Cut the top rail to go over the top of both posts, and the bottom rail to fit between the posts.

step 3: Put it Together

Nail the channel to the centerline of the flat side of the posts and rails. Fit the lattice into the groove in the channel of one post, and fit the other post and rails into place. Nail the posts and rails together and reinforce the joints with angle irons inside each joint, next to the channels. If you want to stain or paint the trellis, do it now.

step 4: Mount the Trellis

Dig post holes 18 inches deep and 8 inches in diameter where you want the trellis to go. Set the trellis in its holes and brace it in an upright position. Fill in the holes 4 inches at a time, tamping each level firm with an iron pipe or a shovel handle. Finish filling the holes, leaving a slight mound to drain water away from the posts.

step 5: Plant Vines

Plant vines at the base of the trellis. Select a clematis or a climbing rose for perennial vines, or use the trellis for annual sweet peas in the spring, followed by morning glories in the summer.