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How to Build an Overhead Grape Vine Trellis

By Barbara Fahs ; Updated September 21, 2017

Grapes are a fruit you can grow in your backyard. Some varieties, such as Thompson seedless and red flame, are delicious, nutritious snacks, but even one grapevine can become unruly, with its multiple, lengthy “canes,” which grow every year and spread 15 or 20 feet in length. Building a trellis, or arbor, can be a fairly simple task that you can complete alone in under one day, and this project will not break the bank because it requires only a few supplies.

Measure the area where you want to build your trellis. If you have four grapevines spaced 3 or 4 feet apart, you can build a trellis that is 2 feet wide, about 12 feet long and 6 feet tall. A trellis this size will be all they need to support their rampant growth and make it easier for you to harvest their fruit.

Dig four holes with your post-hole digger at the corners of the area where your trellis will reside. Make your holes 1 1/2 to 2 feet deep.

Cut your corner two-by-fours to the length you want—if each is 8 feet long, it will rise at least 6 feet above the ground level after you sink it into its hole.

Insert the first two-by-four into the first hole. Begin sprinkling a ready-mix concrete into the hole. Slowly add water to the concrete in the hole and poke it through the loose concrete with a screwdriver or stick. Continue adding more dry concrete and water until the hole is full. Repeat for the other three corner posts.

Nail or screw two two-by-fours horizontally between each set of end posts for support. Cut your support boards 2 feet long, the same size as the width of your trellis. Place one board at the very top of your trellis and the second about 3 feet above ground.

Cut six 2-by-2-inch boards to measure 4 feet longer than your trellis. Nail or screw them equal distances apart along the top of your trellis to form a series of parallel horizontal boards that hang over both ends two feet. The grapevine will twine around these smaller boards when it reaches the top of your trellis.


Things You Will Need

  • Ready-mix concrete
  • Post-hole digger
  • 4 or 6 two-by-fours, 8 feet long
  • Hose
  • Water
  • 4 or 6 two-by-fours, the width of your trellis
  • Nails or screws
  • Hammer or screwdriver
  • 6 two-by-twos


  • If your trellis will be more than 8 feet long, install a third set of upright two-by-fours in the center, halfway between the end posts. Add two horizontal two-by-fours for support as you did with the end posts.
  • Hand train your grapevines up the trellis as they begin to grow long.
  • When summer is over and your vines begin to lose their leaves, prune all canes back. (See Resources.)
  • Certain types of wine grapes need to be espaliered, requiring a different type of support system.
  • Paint your trellis to protect it from the elements if you wish.

About the Author


Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens" and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to "Big Island Weekly," "Ke Ola" magazine and various websites. She earned her Bachelor of Arts at University of California, Santa Barbara and her Master of Arts from San Jose State University.