How to Build a Garden Trellis

A trellis adds structure and beauty to your garden. image by Photo by August Norman;, Illustrations by MJ Logan


Climbing vines of all sorts love a trellis to climb on. Clematis, honeysuckle, morning glory and ivy just name a few of the plants that grace a trellis. Using a trellis and climbing plant to create a screen can turn a corner of the garden into a separate room. Plant annuals alongside the perennials the first year or two until the perennials take over. This trellis screen is easily adapted to any size and a number of uses and locations.

Step 1

Dig two post holes 30 inches deep. Add 6 inches of gravel or crushed stone to the bottom of the hole. Set the 10-foot 2-by-4s in the holes so the wide sides face each other and level them. Fill in around the 2-by-4s with the excavated dirt. (See illustration.)

Step 2

Cut two of the 2-by-2s in half, 4-feet long each. Cut the 1-by-4 in half to make two 4-foot long pieces. Drill pilot holes and screw two 2-by-2 pieces to each 1-by-4 piece, leaving a gap equal to the thickness of the panel, 3/8 inch. Make one for the top and one for the bottom.

Step 3

Mount the bottom piece between the two upright 2-by-4s by drilling pilot holes through the 2-by-4s into the ends of the 2-by-2s and adding screws.

Step 4

Cut the remaining 2-by-2s to 93 inches. Mount one to each upright 2-by-4 making it flush with the edge. Drill pilot holes through the 2-by-2s and screw them to the 2-by-4s.

Step 5

Set the lattice into the channel on the bottom piece and hold it flat against the two 2-by-2s. Screw the remaining two 2-by-2s to the 2-by-4 sides to hold the lattice securely in place.

Step 6

Fit the channel in the top piece onto the lattice. Screw the top piece between the upright 2-by-4s the same as the bottom piece. The lattice trellis is complete.

Step 7

Give the trellis a coat of water sealer to keep it from rotting.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear safety glasses when using power tools. Always wear a dusk mask when cutting wood.

Things You'll Need

  • Two 10-foot 2-by-4s
  • Six 8-foot 2-by-2s
  • One 8-foot 1-by-4
  • One 4 by 8 foot by 3/8 inch thick lattice panel
  • Tape measure
  • Post hole digger
  • Crushed stone or gravel
  • Spade
  • 4-foot level
  • Saw
  • Drill with bits and driver bits
  • Two-1/2 inch deck screws
  • One-1/2 inch deck screws


  • Trellises, Arbors and Pergolas; Better Homes and Gardens; 2004

Who Can Help

  • Trellis Ideas
  • Garden Trellis Design and Construction
Keywords: make build, trellis arbor, wood frame

About this Author

Michael Logan is a writer, editor and web page designer. His professional background includes electrical, computer and test engineering, real estate investment, network engineering and management, programming and remodeling company owner. Logan has been writing professionally since he was first published in "Test & Measurement World" in 1989.

Photo by: Photo by August Norman;, Illustrations by MJ Logan