Monday, February 21, 2011

You TOO Can Build Your Own Trellis in just 30 Minutes!

I've been looking for a trellis for a climbing rose I planted back in May.  As one might suspect, it did quite a bit of growing since May and is now in big need of a trellis.  A big, substantial, tall, won't be bullied by a monster rose-type trellis.

But here I have had several problems and no, none of them have been from laziness.  I know, its always a possibility, but not this time.

First, as do a lot of houses in coastal flood plains, my house sits on 3 ft. tall brick piers.  This makes my doors, windows etc etc, (other visual clues) 3 feet taller than one would suspect just by a casual glance.   Basically, meaning a 6 foot trellis just ain't gonna cut it, it will just look stupid from the back step only 3 feet higher.  Not only that, but the climbing rose itself grows along the lines of 15 feet or so.  I needed a taller trellis than I could find available around here, which was 86 inches, for those of you who are counting. (7 ft 1 inch, for those who can't do math).

Also, the space I'm trying to fill against my house really needed a 3 foot wide trellis.  Not 2, not 4, not a fan.  3 foot wide.  Apparently nobody else in the world has a commercial need for this product.

And finally, online I found a few in the 96 inch plus area that I was hoping for, but they were 100 dollars plus shipping!  I am waaaay too cheap for that.   So finally fed up with fighting that rose to get out of the back door I drove myself to Lowe's and built me a trellis.   It was a piece of cake and I'll never buy a trellis again in my life.

Here's what you will need:

*5 pieces of 1x2x8 (or x10 or whatever height you want) in cedar (or any rot resistant wood)
*a drill, with a drill bit
*16 aluminum or stainless steel 1.5 inch-ish screws.  Aluminum/stainless or you'll be pulling out rusted ones within the year.
*tape measure
*a cat or child to make the process 3 times as long and more dangerous for all involved

You won't even need a saw, because what you are going to do is walk your 5 sticks over to the saw area in Lowe's, bat your eyelashes, and ask the guy there to take 2 of those pieces and cut each of them into two 3ft pieces, 2 six inch pieces, and whats left will be a one foot piece (which you will not use but maybe your dog will like).

The guy will probably smile and ask you a stupid question such as whether or not you know to use aluminum/stainless steel screws.  Stick your tongue out at him.  How dare he. You know this. Just because you are wearing very cute 3 inch heels and awkwardly dragging 10 ft boards around in Lowe's does not mean a damn thing.

Take all this home.  Total cost: $15.68 (assuming you don't have to buy a drill)
Lay out your design on your living room floor. Such as this:

Take a tape measure and decide the midway point (for me at 1.5 feet) and decide how much side overhang you want (for me it was 4 inches), for you it might be none.  Line up your four 3 foot long cross boards and draw a line through all of them where those 3 upright stakes are going.. straight is best but close enough is close enough.

Now take your drill and put your drill bit in and drill pilot holes in the middle of each line.  Do not drill into your hardwood floor.  It is tempting, but much better in the end if you avoid it.

Repeat the process for the 3 longer pieces - just don't drill all the way through.  Figure out where you want the cross boards to go and then measure it out, stickem together, draw a line and then drill.   Make sure you leave at least a good foot at the bottom to sink your trellis into the ground.  You could measure each one of these out individually but its a total waste of time.  The lines work just as well.

Once all drilled get out your trusty screws and if you haven't messed up all the holes will align and you will have a nice pretty cedar trellis.   I would suggest securing the top and bottom cross bars first to make the thing easier to square. Unless you are going for that drunk parallelogram look, of course.

I attached the 6-inches pieces to the back of the uprights to allow me to attach this to my house without having the trellis directly beside the structure.  Into those I'm going to screw in a hook screw which is going to attach to the side of my house with a matching eyehook screw.  If you don't live in a windy place and never get hurricanes, I guess you can skip this step all together.  I take no chances here.

I painted mine with 2 coats of leftover latex white paint so that it matches the architecture of my house and the white picket fence, but being as it is cedar, if left alone it will get that pretty weathered look in a year or so.

So a reminder why we are doing this:  similar substantial trellis, if you could find it: $100++, this structure: $15.68 plus one half an hour.  That, folks, is $85 dollars that can be spent on plants, while telling significant other you finally bought that trellis.  And no, you don't know how that drill hole in the living room floor got there.


  1. I love how you make it seem so easy to do this...I might have to give it a try...the look and read of your blog is wonderful and I am glad I have found it...I certainly will be back..and thx for visiting my blog as

  2. Hi Jess,
    Great job! It looks great right by the door a perfect welcome!! Our house colors are almost the same too:-)
    Thnaks for stopping by! I am your newest follower, and look forward to visiting:-)
    I don't have an easy answer on the statuary.. I have collected for alot of years... I think they always look beter when they get patina and plants are around them... they all seem stark at the statuary shops:-)

  3. you seemed to be a great in these handy works!
    And for the love of roses!
    Thanks for the comment & dropping by.

  4. Well good job. It looks wonderful Jess and goes so well with your home. Who said women couldn't build? LOL! I did the same thing when I couldn't find a potting table I liked. Same thing, too pricey and shipping costs were so high. So I made my own. It feels good to build something you need to. Much more satisfying than just buying one.

  5. Money for plants! All the more reason to do it on the cheap. Looks fabulous on the side of your house.

  6. How great is it going to look when that Madame Alfred Carriere rose gets its teeth into it! I can't wait. ;)

  7. Great job, Jess, and thanks for making me laugh:-). Your trellis looks so professional it is intimidating... What rose will grow there?

  8. Masha - but you see thats just the point! I'm not professional in the least about it. It really is very simple and the results are hard to get wrong. The rose is a MAC. I can't wait for it to bloom!!!! (and grow up the rest of the trellis).

  9. Very clever, Jess. When I first scanned down your photos, I wondered what the role of the cat was in the process; but when I read the text, I thought, "But of course!" LOL. -Jean

  10. A quicker way is to see someone's house with nice trellis, wait until it gets dark, drink some tequilla, and go steal it.

  11. IG - The fact that I think you are highly entertaining not withstanding, I'm pretty sure that I'm glad that there is an ocean between your house and my house. Just saying.

    Jean - yes, just what would life be without em? (I know, a lot easier)

  12. dear jess, thanks for demonstrating how to make a trellis and giving me a good laugh at the same time. i love your blog (first not last visit) and also enjoyed your post about how you recognize a weed. cheers, c

  13. jess, i'm glad you've been posting again! i got especially excited when i read this post. i happen to need a big trellis! and yours is such a great idea with such a lovely result. i'm thinking one might even magically appear on my house if i show this post to my husband and bat my eyelashes at him, so i'm going to try that first. :D