Garden trellis
Robbie Caponetto

Getting Started

Build your own trellis to work from season to season for planting summer tomatoes, fall baby luminia pumpkins, and spring edible peas or sweet peas. When the season ends, either untie and store the trellis or leave it in place year-round for visual interest.

Shopping List

  • 6 (10-foot lengths) 2 x 2 cedar (for verticals)
  • 9 (8-foot lengths) 2 x 2 cedar (for horizontals)
  • 2 large balls of green twine
  • Wooden finials (optional)
  • Powdered gypsum (or flour)
  • 6 (4-inch) tomato plants
  • Measuring tape
  • Shovel or post hole digger
  • Mallet or hammer
  • Scissors

measuring area for a trellis
Robbie Caponetto

Step 1: Take Measure

Select a flat, level location in full sun (if growing tomatoes); clear out any debris. Measure the length and width to suit your particular space (ours is 8 feet by 3 feet) then mark the four corners with gypsum or other powder.

Our trellis required a third vertical post, so we marked the midpoint on each long side with more dots of powder. You will now have the outline of your trellis and the points where posts will go.

Note: You can change the size of the trellis to suit your needs, but be sure to have your lumber cut accordingly.

pounding posts into the ground for trellis
Robbie Caponetto

Step 2: Hammer and Shape

Loosen the soil where dots are marked with a sharp shovel to a depth of 1 foot for each of the six posts. Using a mallet -- or even a large rock -- pound the vertical posts into the ground.

Measure 1 foot down from the top of each vertical post, and then tie opposite sides together to make three teepee shapes.

Tying trellis posts together
Robbie Caponetto

Step 3: Tie It Together

With strong twine and sturdy knots, tie the horizontal rails at 2-foot intervals on each side of vertical posts. Snuggle the remaining horizontal post into the crossed pieces at the top of the trellis, and secure. (We added screw-on wooden finials for a final flourish.)

Trellis planted with tomatoes
Robbie Caponetto

Done: Ready for Plants

Simple, natural, and ready to plant, your new cedar trellis will age soon to a nice silvery gray. We planted six varieties of tomatoes on each trellis, training them up as they grew. In fall, either cut strings and take down posts or leave over winter for a decorative accent, planting with sweet peas in early spring.

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