How to Make a Rustic Garden Trellis


Rustic garden trellises are a stylish way to recycle your pruned twigs, vines and branches. Rustic decor complements ranch, Federal, Colonial and log cabin-style homes. You can connect trellises to form arbors for grapes and other fruits, and to provide supports to vine flowers such as clematis and morning glory. Trellises can also serve as improvised shade structures.

Step 1

Sort all of your tree, shrub and vine prunings by diameter. Cut same-diameter twigs and branches as long as possible. Compost the tiny bits.

Step 2

Lay your thickest-diameter branches vertically or diagonally, depending on whether you prefer square or diamond-shaped openings in your trellis sections. Space branches one to three inches apart, depending how close a weave you want.

Step 3

Weave vines or thin-diameter twigs over and under the larger branches, like a willow-withe fence (See reference two).

Step 4

Tie vines or twigs where they cross the branches you laid in step two, using an overhand knot. An overhand knot is what you make when you cross your shoelaces and pull one lace through the "X," before you make the loops for your bow when you tie your shoes (See reference three).

Step 5

Use a carpenter's try square and a chalk line to mark straight lines with 90-degree angles along each edge of your trellis sections.

Step 6

Cut along the chalk lines to make straight sections of trellis. Reinforce the sides of your trellis with half-round split sticks by nailing them like a frame, using one-sixteenth-inch diameter paneling nails.

Things You'll Need

  • Pruned twigs, sticks and vines
  • Sisal or jute twine
  • 1/16-inch diameter, 1/2-inch, 1-inch and 1.5-inch long paneling nails
  • Tack hammer
  • Carpenter's try square
  • Chalk line
  • Pruning shears or folding saw


  • Meg Smith: Rustic Trellis Tutorial
  • Mother Earth News: Make Simple, Beautiful Garden Fences
  • Photo: Overhand Knot: Row 9, Column 1

Who Can Help

  • Make a Willow Obelisk
Keywords: make rustic garden trellis, recycle pruned twigs, plant support structures

About this Author

Jane Smith has provided educational support, served people with multiple challenges, managed up to nine employees and 86 independent contractors at a time, rescued animals, designed and repaired household items and completed a three-year metalworking apprenticeship. Smith's book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in 2008. Smith received a Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995.