Garden Trellis Plans
This easy bentwood trellis will fulfill all your garden trellis needs.
Nothing combines nature’s beauty and functionality more gracefully than a rustic bentwood trellis in your garden. The natural beauty of bent wood, the texture of the bark and twigs, blend perfectly with growing things.
A bentwood project is a great way to recycle materials that would likely otherwise be wasted. Rather than a plastic trellis, which uses fossil fuels to manufacture, or lumber trellises, which use tree resources, why not consider making your own bentwood trellis? If you can use the simple tools listed on Page 25, you can make a trellis. I’ve taught all age groups in my trellis workshops, from children to older adults. Everyone can make a trellis, given the basics of how to put it together.
The first question people usually ask me is where they can find the wood. The answer to that is simpler than most people expect.
It’s everywhere. I’ve found trellis wood growing in empty, abandoned lots in the city. In alleyways and behind stores are good places to look as well. Once I found enough trellis wood growing out of the cracks in the parking lot of a television station in Detroit to make a trellis for an on-air interview.
In rural areas, you’ll find trellis wood growing in fencerows (ask before cutting), and along roadsides (also check local regulations about cutting from roadsides). I’ve found it in areas where farmers were glad to have the “brush” cleared out. When you actually start looking, plenty of trellis wood is available just about any place you live.
For the wood, you need freshly cut, green (meaning live) wood. For the bent sections, pieces should be cut no more than about 24 hours before you are going to use them.
All sorts of wood can work. Some types last longer than others, but the bottom line in making a trellis is to choose wood that bends. You don’t have to be able to distinguish one kind of wood from another – oak from hickory, for example. You just need to know if it will bend without breaking. If it bends, it’s trellis wood; if it breaks, it isn’t.
You’ll need only a few simple tools you likely have around the house:
- A medium-sized carpenter’s hammer that is comfortable in your hands
- A pair of hand pruners for cutting twigs and limbs
- A pair of loppers for cutting the larger pieces
- Some assorted nails that are long enough to go through two pieces of wood with a little leftover to bend
- A pair of pliers for cutting and twisting wire
- Several lengths of black 16-gauge “tie” wire (available at any lumber or hardware store)
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