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How To Build A Simple Custom Sized Wood Trellis

Our outdoor project is finally underway! We’ve been working on our exterior in phases through the nine years we’ve been here, and despite the fact that we just renovated our kitchen there was no denying that our rotting deck had to be addressed this spring. Mark tore off the rails and deck flooring 8 weeks ago while the construction dumpster was parked in our driveway, but we’ve had so much rain that the rebuild was put on hold until some drier weather was in the forecast, and it finally started today! We hired out for this project because the rot had actually made it’s way into our clapboards and the corner of the house and needed more expertise than our skills, but we are tackling some hefty landscaping projects out here ourselves.

It’s been three years this summer since I installed the pea stone patio and stone veneered fire pit right off the deck in our backyard and we enjoy this space so much. We’ve been adding to the landscaping a little each year, with the hope that someday the plants on the perimeter of the patio will offer some privacy from the driveway and street and make this space feel more like an outdoor room.

Neon Flash Spirea


Here is the patio and old deck in the fall (the deck looked good from afar, but up close it was a rotting mess!). You can see more of our exterior before-and-afters so far here….it’s come a long way!  On our landscape wish list this year is a large flowering tree like a plum or a cherry that would cascade over the edge of the patio, and I’ve also been thinking of adding a trellis to the garden bed by the garage, to the left of the 4 windows.

An 80s-era colonial in Massachusetts in renovated one project at a time.


Our front yard has an overgrown clematis plant, which is a flowering vine perennial that grows willy nilly all over every plant in its vicinity and is in dire need of relocating. Even though it is wild and invasive to every other plant near it if it’s not tamed, clematis is SO hardy, coming back year after year despite our long, cold winters and my obvious neglect, and blooming for months on end!

The back of our garage facing the patio is perfect for a trellis for this climber!

There are tons of pretty and affordable trellises on the market, but none that suited my space just right, and since the theme of the At Home DIY challenge this month is “Make It Pretty Outdoors” I decided to build my own. Don’t miss all the other inspiring outdoor project tutorials this month too!At Home DIY Challenges

This was a super easy project! I especially love that I could customize the size to take advantage of the space I had available for the clematis to grow free!


Here’s how to build your own custom sized wood trellis.

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Cedar or pressure treated 8′ 2″x2″ lumber*
2 1/2″ Outdoor wood screws
optional: 4″ Outdoor wood screws for installing to a structure (like the back of my garage)

Cedar garden stakes*
2″ Outdoor wood screws

• The length and amount of lumber and stakes you will need depends on the size of your trellis and your lattice design. For my 80″x40″ trellis, I used (4) 8′ 2″x2″s to build the frame, and 14 6′ garden stakes for the lattice within the frame. 

• These lumber and stakes are commonly found at big box home improvement stores and stakes are also available at garden centers.


Square (you’ll see I didn’t use mine religiously!)
Saw (I use a miter saw but a miter box and saw works great for this project too!)
Drill bits
Specific screw bits depending on screws you are using (star or Philips head)


• ONE • Build the frame.  Measure your space and cut 2″x2″ framing lumber to size. For reference, my trellis is 80″ tall from the ground to the top, and 40″ wide. I attached my trellis to the garage so legs on the frame are not really necessary – if you are hanging your trellis on a structure you may consider omitting them. 

• TWO • Set two vertical side pieces on the floor and overlap them with two horizontal pieces, one at the top and one about 12″ from the bottom. The horizontal pieces will lay on top of the vertical pieces. 

• THREE • Using a drill bit slightly smaller than 3″ screw width, drill pilot holes through the horizontal pieces into the veritical pieces. Use a square to make sure the inside corners are 90° before tightening screws. 

Note: this side of the frame is the back of the trellis, with the front of the trellis face down on the floor.

• FOUR • Add the “lattice”. Layout the horizontal cedar stakes on top of the vertical (sides) of the framing and decide on your design and how far you want to space the pieces that will be inside the frame. Mark the back of the frame with the location of the stakes.

• FIVE • Mark your cut lines on the stakes, then cut with saw.

• SIX • Lay the stakes on top of the framing again and drill pilot holes, then insert and tighten screws through the cedar stakes, into the vertical side pieces of the framing, using a square tool to ensure they are straight.

• SEVEN • Layout the the vertical cedar stakes over the horizontal pieces. They will sit inside the top and bottom frame pieces when cut. Mark cut lines, then cut vertical stakes.

• EIGHT • Lay these vertical long stakes on top of the horizontal stakes again so they fit between the top and bottom framing. Drill pilot holes through these pieces into the horizontal stakes, then insert and tighten 1 1/2″ screws through the cedar stakes, into the vertical side pieces of the framing, using a square tool to ensure they are straight.

Here’s the finished product. Clearly I need to use the square more often! 🙂

To install the trellis I drilled pilot holes into the frame and installed four decking screws into the siding.

And after I relocated the clematis, which has already grown buds all over it!!

Fingers crossed it survives here – it’s not optimal to move a plant after it starts growing in earnest in the spring, but my window of opportunity was short with all the torrential rain we’ve had!

A couple quick notes on building a trellis!

• Check your frame boards and cedar stakes for warping. In general, pressure treated wood and cedar wood are both resistant to warping and rotting but it’s always good to check before buying your lumber (one warped stake found it’s way home with me – I used it anyway.)

• Use a square. As you can see I eyeballed the placement of some of these boards and some of them (a lot of them) are crooked – but not quite crooked enough that I care 🙂 especially since this will soon be covered with climbing vines hopefully!

This is an easy project that you can bang out on a weekend afternoon!

You may also enjoy these popular posts……

Wine Cork Herb Markers

How to make herb markers by recycled wine corks with a skewer.

How To Set A Stepping Stone Path

….or visit the Outdoor & Gardening Gallery for more hands-on projects including the pea stone patio and fire pit series!

For more great outdoor projects don’t miss May’s DIY blogger challenge!


I’ll be back soon with our kitchen (!) plus more scoop on these outdoor spaces!


Weekender | Vol. 6
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Friday 24th of May 2019

this is awesome and I'm IN LOVE with the exterior of your home!!!


Wednesday 22nd of May 2019

Love this idea of adding a trellis!! Thanks for sharing this how to build a custom trellis!


Monday 20th of May 2019

Hi there. Can you share where you found 6 ft cedar garden stakes? I’ve been calling around to the major stores near me (including Lowe’s and Home Depot) and they keep telling me they don’t carry cedar stakes. In addition, I looked at ordering some online but the ones I found have awful reviews that seem to indicate they’re not actually hardwood (they snap way too easily to be hardwood, according to multiple reviewers).


Tuesday 21st of May 2019

My Lowes had them and also Ace Hardware!

cassie bustamante

Monday 20th of May 2019

i love this idea! we have one side of our home that has no windows and once we paint it i was thinking of adding a trellis there. this is perfect!


Sunday 19th of May 2019

What a perfect tutorial for a cedar trellis! The details are just right for any type of DIYer. Thanks!