How to Make a Garden Obelisk

Build this garden obelisk to add sculptural beauty to your outdoors.

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Photo By: Photo by Sam Henderson

Tall and Handsome

Add some elegance to your garden with this garden obelisk.

Gathering the Materials

You will need: (1) 4"x4" fence post with finial / pencil/ hand saw / table saw or circular saw / measuring tape / (4) 2"x2"x8' boards / (1) 2"x4"x8' board / (3) 1"x2"x8' boards / 2" wood screws / 1 1/4" wood screws / clamps / sisal rope (120 ft.) / staple gun and staples / wood putty / sandpaper / paint or stain as desired

Making the Top

Cut the fence post straight across at 6 3/8" below the curved part of the finial. At 3" below the curved part of the finial draw a straight line across. Measure 1 1/2" in from the side and make a mark on the line. Repeat for the other side of the line. On the bottom measure in 1 1/4" from the side and make a mark. Repeat for the other side. Connect the dots from the top line to the bottom on each side creating a piece in the middle which is wider at the bottom than at the top. Use a saw to cut away at these lines creating a tongue. If using a power saw cut only close to the points without going over. Finish the cuts with a handsaw.

Getting the Angles

You will need to make a compound cut on the ends of the 2"x2" standards. Using a carpenter's square, cut the ends at a 6 degree angle. Also, adjust your table saw or circular saw to a 6 degree angle. When that cut is made, measure 7' from the lowest point of the cut. Make a straight cut at that mark. All of the remaining pieces should have a 6 degree cut on the end to match the angle of the legs, but will not require the saw blade to be tilted at 6 degrees.

Attaching the Standards

Place the highest point of the angled end of the standards against the tongue and toward the center. Pre-drill holes and secure with 2" inch wood screws. 

Attaching the Supports

Cut the 2"x4" into (4) 22" pieces. The 6 degree angle will make the bottom approximately 22 3/4" wide. The 1"x2" boards should be cut into (4) 15 1/4" lengths, (4) 9 3/4" lengths, and (4) 6 1/4" lengths. Attach the 2"x4" supports with the top of the supports about 18" from the bottom of the legs. Note: you may have to pull the legs into place and clamp them to the supports until the 2"x4"s are attached. Attach the 2"x4"s with two 2" wood screws in pre-drilled holes on each end. Attach the 15 1/4" boards at 22" above the 2"x4"s with one 1 1/4" wood screw in a pre-drilled hole on each end. Attach the 9 3/4" boards at 19" above the 15 1/4" boards with one 1 1/4" wood screw in a pre-drilled hole on each end. Attach the 6 1/4" boards 12" above the 9 3/4" boards with one 1 1/4" wood screw in a pre-drilled hole on each end.

Finishing the Frame

Sand away any rough edges on the wood. Fill the screw holes with wood putty and sand when dry. Paint or stain as desired according to manufacturer's directions.

Between two of the 2-inch-by-4-inch supports start the sisal rope by securing it with a few staples.

Between two of the 2"x4" supports start the sisal rope by securing it with a few staples.

Creating the Pattern

Wrap the rope around the edges of the supports, pulling tightly, in a zig zag fashion from the bottom to the top of the first side. When you get to the top, cross over the top support and zig zag down the other side. At the bottom, cross under the bottom support and start up the next side. When you have completed the first round you will be positioned to cross over the first pass creating an "X" pattern in the same manner. You will finish where you started. Secure the end with a few more staples.

Tying Up The Corners

Cover the corners by wrapping with more sisal rope. Begin by securing the rope the to back with a couple of staples. Wrap the rope over the front and then in the opposite direction creating an X. Repeat the X and then wrap the rope once around the top and once around the bottom. Finish in the back and secure the end with a couple of staples.

Wrapping the Top

Starting just above the spot where the standards are attached, secure the sisal rope to the obelisk. Wrap the rope around the top tightly covering the starting point and then down past the bottom of the tongue. Secure the end with a couple of staples.

Garden Beauty

This charming obelisk commands attention. Standing over 7 feet tall, it is sure to get it.

Architectural Appeal

This obelisk adds structure and elegance to your garden.