How to Make a Trellis Planter

Take your plants vertical with a trellis planter. Use this planter as a focal point or as a privacy screen.

Build a Trellis Planter

Build a Trellis Planter

Make a movable trellis planter

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Materials Needed:

  • (4) 2"x10"x8' boards
  • (2) 2"x4"x8' boards
  • table saw or circular saw
  • (2) 5/4"x6"x10' boards
  • 2-1/2" wood screws
  • clamps, minimum 24" long
  • (24) 1-1/2" wood screws with wide head
  • 4 casters, minimum 200 lb. capacity
  • paint or stain and sealer, as desired
  • plastic lining
  • (4) 3/4" galvanized rail flanges
  • (4) 3/4" 3-way galvanized elbows
  • (4) 3/4" galvanized pipe, 48" long
  • (2) 3/4" galvanized pipe, 18" long
  • (2) 3/4" galvanized pipe, 60" long
  • 105' 1/16" galvanized cable
  • 9 turnbuckles
  • (12) 2" eye screws
  • (30) 1/16" cable ferrules
  • wire cutting/stripping tool
  • potting soil
  • 12 trailing plants

Building the Base

From the 2”x10”x8’ boards cut 4 pieces that are 64 inches long and 4 pieces that are 21 inches long. From the 2”x4”x8’ boards cut 4 pieces that are 19 inches long, 2 pieces that are 14 inches long, and 2 pieces that are 57-7/8 inches long. From the two 5/4”x6”x10’ boards cut 10 pieces that are 20-1/2 inches long. (Image 1) Place two of the 2”x10”x21” boards on a flat surface with the long edges butted close together. Lay one of the 2”x4”x19” boards on both ends of the boards making them flush with the outside edges of the boards. Use 2-1/2” wood screws to attach the 2”x4”x19” boards at the top and bottom of each of the 2”x10”x21” boards. (Image 2) Make sure that the top and bottom of the wide boards are flush with the ends of the 2”x4” boards. Repeat to make the other planter end.
Lay two of the 2”x10”x64” boards on a flat surface or saw horses with the long edges butted close together. Clamp one of the planter ends to the 64” boards with the 64” boards extending to the outside edge of the planter end and the 2”x4” boards of the planter end on the inside of the corner. Use 2-1/2” wood screws to attach the 64” boards to the planter end. (Image 3) Repeat for the opposite end of the 64” boards. Turn this wide U shape over and attach the remaining 2”x10”x64” boards to the other side creating a box.
Measure 8-1/2” from what will be the top of the planter and attach one of the 2”x4”x57-7/8” boards along each of the long sides of the inside of the box. Repeat this process for the short ends with the 2”x4”x14” boards. (Image 4) Turn the box with the top side down and attach casters to the bottom with 16 of the 1-1/2” wood screws with wide heads. (Image 5) 

Preparing the Planter Bed

Turn the box right side up and place the 5/4”x6”x20-1/2” boards inside to form the bottom of the planter, spaced evenly. Attach them with 2-1/2” wood screws. (Image 1) Paint or stain and seal as desired. Line the box with heavy plastic by stapling it in place about 1” from the top of the planter. (Image 2) Poke a few holes in the bottom where there are spaces between the slats to allow for drainage.

Building the Trellis Frame

Lay the 60” pipes and the 18” pipes on a flat surface to create a rectangle. Attach a 3-way elbow to each corner leaving the upward facing hole open. (Image 1) Insert the 48” pipes into each of the upward facing holes and secure. Add the rail flanges to the opposite ends of the 48” pipes and secure. Turn the pipe assembly over and place it on top of the planter box. Secure the assembly to the planter box with 1-1/2” wood screws with wide heads. (Image 2)

Adding the Cables

On the ends of the planter box, pre-drill holes for the eye screws 12 inches from outside edge and about 1 inch from the top. On the long edges of the planter pre-drill holes at 11-1/2”, 21-3/4”, 32”, 42-1/4”, and 52-1/2” from the outside edge. Insert eye screws into each of the holes with the hole of the eye screw facing upward. (Image 1) From the wire cable cut 5 pieces that are 10 feet long and 4 pieces that are 13 feet long. Cut one of the 10 foot pieces in half and attach one end of each half to the holes of a cable turnbuckle using cable ferrules. (Image 2) Unscrew the turnbuckle at least 1 inch on each end. Attach one end of the cable to an eye screw on the long side of the planter, drape the cable over the pipes and attach the opposite end of the cable to the corresponding eye screw on the opposite long edge of the planter with a ferrule and wire cutting/stripping tool. (Image 3) Tighten the cables by tightening the center of the turnbuckle until the cable is taut. Repeat for the other 4 pieces of 10’ cable. Cut one of the 13’ cables in half and attach a turnbuckle in the center as you did for the 10’ cables. Attach one end of the cable assembly to an eye screw on one of the short ends of the planter box, drape it over the top of the pipes and attach the opposite end to the corresponding eye screw on the opposite end of the planter. Tighten the turnbuckle until the cable is taut. Attach one end of a 13’ cable to one eye of a turnbuckle, wrap the cable around the pipes horizontally, weaving in and out of the vertical cables and pipes. When you are back at the start, attach the opposite end of the cable to the open end of the turnbuckle with a ferrule. Tighten the turnbuckle until the cable is taut. Position this wire 1 foot from the top of the planter. Repeat the process for the remaining two 13’ cables with 1 foot of space between each.

Adding the Plants

Add plants which will trail such as ivy or jasmine. Plant the base of the plant close to each vertical wire. Run the lengths of the vines up the wires. Initially, you may need to attach the vines with a small piece of wire or fishing filament. Water the plants thoroughly the first time and then maintain as necessary. This planter is great for creating privacy in a small space and if you are planting edibles, it can be moved to where the sun is best.

Build a Trellis Planter

Build a Trellis Planter

Make a movable trellis planter

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Build a Trellis Planter

Build a Trellis Planter

Make a movable trellis planter

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

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