How to Build a Trellis From Two Fence Boards

How to Build a Trellis From Two Fence Boards

Woodworking courses taught by master craftsman Brain Benham
How to build a garden trellisBuilding a trellis from two fence boards came about from a trip to the garden center with my wife. The trellises they sell just seemed overpriced for something I could build using two $2 cedar fence boards. So armed with two fence boards and an ultimatum from my wife that this better not take me all summer to get around to, I was off, back to the shop.

I didn’t really have much of a plan for how I was going to build it; it seemed pretty straightforward, so I just started cutting up the boards.

The fence boards we bought were dog-eared on the top, so I first started cutting the top off, which determined the height of the trellis to be about five and a half feet tall.

Cutting the vertical slats for the trellisNext, I ripped both fence boards into sticks about a 1/2 inch wide, leaving the last piece about 1 inch wide to be used as the horizontal supports.

Since I didn’t have any plans on how to build it and I didn’t pay that close attention to the one in the store, I had no idea how many vertical sticks I needed to build a trellis. To determine this, I just started fooling around with different configurations until I came up with a number of sticks that felt appealing to my eye.

clamping vertical slatsI clamped the base together and clamped the clamp to my workbench to hold it all in place. I then started spreading out the sticks until I had a nice fan shape and the sticks were evenly spaced. I held the sticks in place by clamping the ends of each one to the workbench until I was ready to nail them in place.

Nailing horizontal trellis slats Once I had the top brace secured, I started filling in the rest of the horizontal braces by eyeballing what looked like a nice placement, cutting them to length, and nailing them in place.

All in all, the build took less than an hour and resulted in a larger trellis than what I could buy at the store. I just hope the little plant my wife picked out will grow into it. I did have enough pieces left over to build a smaller one, which I will save for another plant or, better yet, sell it at a craft show.

I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.