DIY Garden Trellis
A garden trellis is a great way to save space in your garden by growing up instead of out. They also look beautiful with vines growing over them, creating a living green archway.
As well, a trellis elevates your fruit off the ground which improves airflow and helps reduce rot and pests. We have found it much easier to see our squash and pumpkins on the trellis, this has made pruning and care much easier.
Before building this trellis I looked at many different ideas but found a lot of them to be out of my price range. I liked the look of the popular “cattle panel trellis”, however where I live cattle panels can be a few hundred dollars a piece, which was way more than I was willing to spend!
I decided to make up my own trellis design by using materials we already had around the homestead and I love how it turned out! Here I share with you all the steps for building your own natural log garden trellis.
We built our garden trellis to be 53 inches wide, 8 feet high, and 23 feet long however you could use the steps below to build what ever size trellis you want.
I recommend finding a friend to help you build your trellis, so you can avoid a domino situation. My husband and I found out pretty early that one of use needed to keep the structure up while the other secured it in place.
To make this trellis low cost we used small trees for the main structure, which we cut down on our property. Here are all the materials needed to build this garden trellis:
Roll of sheep wire
8 foot long, (small) trees/ logs
1X3 inch strapping
4 inch zip ties
3 1/2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch screws
*I did not include amounts of materials since that will depend on how long you build your trellis.
Step 1: Cut logs
To start we gathered trees that had been cleared for building our cabin to use for the trellis structure. We used whatever species of trees we could find, so just use what you have available. The diameter of trees were around 1 1/2 inches. We chose the straightest logs and cut them to be 8 feet long with a chainsaw.
The amount of logs needed will depend on how long of trellis you want. We used 23 logs for our 23 foot long trellis. If you only want a 7 foot trellis you will just need 7 logs, however a longer trellis may be more stable.
Step 2: Build Triangles
Once you have your logs cut, match them up into pairs and begin forming triangles. Measure 8 inches down from the top of your 2 logs, overlap them, and drill a hole to make it easier to screwing them together. Then, spread the base of the logs roughly 53 inches apart and screw the top together with 3 1/2 inch screws.
Build two log triangles, one for the beginning and end of your trellis. Originally we attached all of our triangle structures together, but found we had to take them apart when assembling the trellis. Therefore, I recommend to start by only building the first and last triangle, then attach the other “triangle” supports one side at a time once the base frame is up.
Step 3 : Put Up Frame
Stand up the two triangles 7 feet apart and place a log across the top for a ridgepole. The ridgepole log should rest inside the “V” at the top of the triangle frames.
Once you have the triangle frames standing straight screw them to the ridgepole with 3 1/2 inch screws. Screw from both side so the frame stands secure.
Once the initial frame is up add another triangle support in the middle, which is 3 1/2 feet from the first triangle. Since the ridgepole is a natural log and not perfectly straight it is easier to put up the middle triangle support one log at a time, instead of making a triangle and then putting it up.
We found it worked best to measure 3 1/2 feet down, take a 8 foot log, rest it under the ridgepole, keep the base of the log in line with the other triangle frames, have one person hold it in place, and have the other person stand on a ladder and screw the log to the ridgepole. After the first log is in place, take another and do the same with it but on the other side to create a triangle frame.
If your trellis is as long as you want move on to step 4. However, if you are like me and want to build a longer garden trellis continue on with adding logs.
Build another triangle frame, stand it up 7 feet down from the last triangle frame, have one person hold it in place while the other adds another ridgepole, then screw them together. Just like before, add another triangle frame one log at a time in the middle.
Continue this process of adding triangle frames and ridgepoles until your garden trellis is your desired length. Ours ended up being 23 feet long.
Step 4 : Add Base Support
To help improve the stability and strength of the trellis we added 1X3 inch strapping along the base. Measure a foot from the ground and attach the 1X3 strapping with 1 1/4 inch screws. Do this along both sides of the trellis.
Step 5 : Attach Wire
Attaching wire to the trellis gives the vines something to climb on. We used 40 inch wide sheep wire since we had some on the homestead. From the wire we cut 6 foot long pieces with wire cutters. You will need to cut 2 pieces of wire for every section of the trellis, therefore we cut 14, 6 foot pieces.
To attach the wire to the trellis we hooked the top corner squares over the top of the triangle frames. Next, one person pulled down on the wire while the other secured it to the 1X3 strapping with zip ties. We also zip tied the wire to the side logs and along the top.
We chose to use zip ties to secure the wire in place because hammering into the logs would have been challenging. The zip ties made the job quick and I find they are not very noticeable once the trellis is complete.
That’s it, you now have your own log trellis that will add function and beauty to your vegetable garden!
We built our trellis early in the summer and now that I have used it for a full season I love it. It has stood up to all kinds of weather, including very high winds that knocked over all the other trellises in our garden. This project was FREE for us and has improved our gardening experience. With the pumpkins and squash off the ground we had no rot or pests and ended up harvesting some beautiful vegetables to store for winter.
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Hey, I’m Maggie. I hope you will join me and my family in getting back to the land. Here you will learn about making things yourself, cooking homegrown food, and beginning a homesteading journey.