Creative Ideas for Daily Living

Building a Trellis

Building a Trellis
Tomato plants in tomato cages.

Tomato cages are a type of trellis.

The plants growing in my garden include tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini.  All three of these are vining plants that, if left alone, have a tendency to sprawl all over the place.  We have always used tomato cages to hold up our tomato plants but in the past we have allowed the cucumbers and zucchini to grow unsupported.  This year I wanted to do something a little different and decided to try building a trellis for my cucumbers and zucchini.

So now you’re probably wondering why use a trellis.  A trellis can be used with any vining plant and may help them grow more successfully.  By getting the stems and leaves up onto a support you’re exposing them to better air circulation, which in turn can help to prevent certain diseases.  Secondly, growing them on a trellis means the fruit will not be sitting on the ground and will be much less likely to rot.  And finally, using a trellis will help to keep these plants growing where you want them so they will not take over your entire garden.  This doesn’t mean you should plant them closer together though, they will still need their space so they aren’t competing with each other for nutrients.

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to complete this project on my own so I enlisted the help of my dad.  He found a number of relatively straight sticks that we could use for building a trellis.  We needed two sticks that were approximately the same length for each end and one to serve as a crosspiece.  Because our trellis was going to be fairly long we decided that we also needed two additional sticks to support the middle.  The stick we chose for the crosspiece was bowed so we opted to use longer sticks in the middle than on the ends of the trellis.

Building a trellis - collect long sticks to use as posts

Some of the sticks we chose to use in our trellis.

Cut the sticks so they are all about the same length

Some sticks had to be trimmed.


After we selected our sticks and trimmed them to the length we wanted it was time to begin assembling the trellis.  Starting with one end I dug a small hole where each of the posts would go and then we inserted them into the ground.  I held both ends in place while dad lashed them together with some old twine.

Building a trellis - place the stick in the hole

One post is in place.

Building a trellis - lash the two pieces together

The two end pieces are lashed together.


The first end is in place.

The first end of the trellis is in place.


With the first end was in place it was time to assemble the opposite end.  After that things got a little tricky.  When both ends were up and standing on their own we balanced the crosspiece on top of them.  I held the crosspiece in place while dad placed the first of the two middle posts.  Then I held the middle post and the crosspiece while he placed the remaining post and lashed the two middle posts together.  Once that was done he was able to start lashing the crosspiece to the supporting posts and I could let go.

Add a crosspiece and lash in place.

The crosspiece gets lashed to the supporting posts.

The frame is finished

The frame of the trellis is finished!

With the frame done it was time to fill in the trellis.  I had some cotton yarn that was left over from another project so that was what I used.  I started by wrapping the yarn horizontally between the posts.

Building a trellis - wrap from side to side

Wrapping the yarn from side to side creates triangles that will help stabilize the trellis.

Building a trellis - wrap from side to side

Continue wrapping side to side.


Then I wove the yarn vertically in and out of the horizontal wraps.


Weave up and down through the horizontal strands.

Weave in and out and don’t forget to go over the crosspiece.

Building a trellis - The first side is completed.

The first side of the trellis is completed.


Building a trellis - the completed trellis.

Both sides are now finished and the trellis is completed.

The finished trellis viewed from the end.

The finished trellis viewed from the end.


Zucchini plants.

These zucchini plants aren’t tall enough to need a trellis yet but they will be soon.


Are you building a trellis for your garden this year?  For another idea be sure to check out Amy’s post on installing a fence that can double as a trellis.

Melinda (29 Posts)

I am a musician and lifelong crafter. When I'm not playing flute or piccolo I am often reading, crocheting, knitting, or making my own jewelry. I am always looking for new techniques to learn and interesting patterns to try.

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