Build a cheap, wooden trellis that lasts!

For the past few years we’ve tried a variety of garden trellises to help keep our plants off the ground, but none of them worked as well as advertised.  Most were either too thin, to fragile, or just collapsed under the weight of our harvest.  So this year I did some digging, and decided to construct strong and solid trellises built purely out of what we had laying around the house.

Branches and twine

Branches and twine. Doesn’t get any cheaper than that.

Items Needed

3 medium sized sticks or branches

Roughly 10 feet of twine

Something to cut the twine (scissors, knife, teeth, etc.)

Step 1: Find 3 medium sized sticks or branches

You’re looking for sticks that are roughly the same thickness and length.  You can always cut them to size if need be.

3 Sticks

3 Sticks. No more, no less.

Lay the sticks so they line up next to each other, like in the picture above.

Step 2: Attach the twine

Tie one end of the twine to one of the outer sticks, using a simple double knot.

Double knot

Knot! Double knot!

Step 3: Wrap the twine around all 3 sticks 10-12 times

There’s no science to this.  Simply wrap the twine directly around all 3 sticks.  Don’t wrap it so tightly that they “bunch”, you still want them to lay side-by-side once they’ve been wrapped.

That's a wrap

10…11….12. Done.

 Step 4: The loopdy-loo

This is where it gets slightly tricky, at least to describe.  See the picture below, and then read the description that follows…

Loopdy-Loo 1

Wrap the wrap

Take the twine and tightly “wrap the wrap” that’s between the first 2 sticks.  To do this, consider our first “wrap” to be from Step 3 above, and to be “vertical” as seen in the picture above.  You want to take the twine and wrap it “horizontally” around the wrap from Step 3 above so that you’re pulling the wrap from Step 3 tightly around the first stick.

Still with me?  Hope so…

Step 5: The loopdy-loo part 2

Just like in Step 4, you’re going to do the exact same “loopdy-loo” around the wrap that’s between sticks 2 and 3.

Loopdy-Loo 2

Same loopdy-loo process, except between sticks 2 and 3

Step 6: Tie it off

Take the end of the twine and tie it securely to stick 3.  I used a simple double knot, but you can use whatever you’d like.

Tie it

Like a bow-tie, except… not

Cut the excess twine from the knot and…

Step 7: Stand it up

That’s it!  Take the three sticks and spread them out so that they form a sort-of tee-pee shape.


Look’n sturdy…

Let’s take a look at how the twine is holding up…

Twine 1

Looks good and tight…

Twine 2

… I don’t think that’s going anywhere.

Step 8: Grow!

I know, I said we were done at Step 7.  But what good is a trellis without something hanging from it?  Our tomatoes did EXTREMELY well this year, much better than with any other trellis we’ve ever used.


Mmmmm, tomatoes…

And that’s it!  Following the steps above and using things that you probably have lying around your house, you can easily make yourself some super trellises without shelling out money for the flimsy store-bought versions.

Lessons Learned

  • These actually worked REALLY well.  I made 5 of them this year, and the harvest of all of our plants has been substantially better than before.  I’ll be making more next year.
  • You’ll need to somehow tie the growing plants to the trellis so that they can take advantage of its stability.  I’ve used cotton wraps (shreds from old t-shirts or rags) and also twine, and both seemed to be equally effective.
  • For the plants that don’t grow as high as the trellis, I simply ran a line of twine from the top of the trellis to the base of the plant, and gently wrapped the plant with some of the twine to help “guide” it up the twine.  This worked well with our jalapeno plants this year.

Have any helpful trellis tricks?  Share them in the comments below.



Mr. Fox