How to Build Your Own Decorative Garden Trellis


A garden trellis is an ideal addition to any garden or landscape, as it can be used in several ways. With a trellis, you can grow and train fruits, vegetables or flowering vines vertically or horizontally. This can save landscape room, and provide an architectural element and beauty to your garden. It can be built as an arbor, fence or gate to add a transitional layer between the gardens and the higher trees and buildings in the yard. There are some key things to keep in mind when building a trellis, and remember: the sky is the limit when adding a personalized touch or decoration to the trellis.

Step 1

Decide what type of trellis you want to create. The most common is a wide, criss-cross trellis that can be secured to a wall or fence. Make sure to measure out the area before starting, where it is at least 6 feet wide by 6 feet tall.

Step 2

Lay out the five pieces of wood that are 2 inches wide by 5 1/2 feet long. Line them up side by side with their edges even. Use the tape measure to space them 5-7 inches a part. The distance depends on what type of plant you want to grow on the trellis (fruits and vegetables, larger; vines, smaller).

Step 3

Lay out the wood boards that are 2 inches wide by 5 feet long. Start at the top, and lay the first board perpendicular across the set of boards that is already spaced apart. Lay this first board about 6 inches down from the top edges, starting to make a tic-tac-toe effect.

Step 4

Place the second wooden board about 5 inches down from the first perpendicular board, repeating this procedure with the rest of the wood. Keep the edges lined up and even.

Step 5

Secure these boards together with the hammer and nails, nailing into the center of the top board through the bottom one. Once complete, flip the trellis over and nail into the center of the bottom board, through the top board.

Step 6

Use a stain finish on the trellis, or paint it to match your house or garden flowers. Add embellishments if desired like fake butterflies, hummingbird or bird feeders, or sparkling holiday lights. If desired, you can add onto the trellis in the future once it is lush with plant growth. You can also choose to not secure any plants to the trellis, and have it purely as decoration.

Things You'll Need

  • Gardening gloves
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • 5 planks of wood, 2 inches wide by 5 feet long
  • 5 planks of wood, 2 inches wide by 5 1/2 feet long
  • Hammer
  • 1-inch roundhead nails
  • Embellishments and decorations
  • Paint or stain


  • Different Types of Trellises
  • Trellis Woodworking Plans
  • Decorating With a Trellis
Keywords: building a trellis, garden design, decorative trellis design

About this Author

Lauren Wise is a journalism major from Arizona State University with over forty published magazine and media articles and over 400 Web site articles. Wise owns Midnight Publishing with over eight years experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food and wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in magazines including Runway, A2Z, Scottsdale Luxury Living and True West.