Building an Arbor Style Trellis

In the vegetable garden there is always a need for more space.  You never have enough.  The garden is constantly being filled with more plants than you really have room for and you have to find ways to organize it.  That's why going vertical is a great option and the most classic way to go vertical is to use a trellis.  For my March (yep I'm late) Lowe's Creative Ideas post I put together a trellis for growing my edibles with a little bit of arbor style.  This trellis would be an excellent option as a stand alone feature or could be incorporated into a garden fence as I am doing.  Lowe's sent me gift cards to purchase the supplies and I went to work!

To build this trellis I purchased 2 8ft. 4x4's, 2 deck boards, a box of 2" deck screws, a box of 1 1/4" deck screws, a set of  black coated lag screws, 14 - 1x2's, a 1x4, a bag of gravel, and an 80 lb. bag of concrete.  All of these materials together cost about $75-80.

I started by digging the holes for the 4x4's.  My challenge in this was to match it up with last year's gutter planter arbor project.  I wanted the height of both arbors to match.  Then I measured the height of the 4x4's and cut them appropriately.  You can cut them to whatever height you need for your project.  Next I measured the deck boards to allow for an 8 1/2 inch over hang on each side of the posts plus the width of the posts themselves which comes to 72 inches.  The posts needed to be exactly 4' across to match the other arbor.  Then I cut the bottom corners off of the deck boards.

Into the holes I put a couple inches of gravel to allow for drainage.  I put the arbor completely together on the ground before lifting it into the holes.  I attached one side of the arbor top with some black coated lag screws then flipped the arbor over and did the other side.  I like to build arbors on the ground before setting them in the holes since I can get the measurements like I want them without the need for a second person to hold everything.

Once the arbor was built on the ground I raised it up into the holes and leveled it.  Adjust the level of it by adding more gravel or taking it away from the hole.  To help with this I secured the arbor with clamps and sawhorses.  Clamps are a necessity when doing a project like this by yourself!  Once it was all level I put half the concrete into one hole and the other half into the other hole.  I let the concrete cure over night then came back to do the inside lattice work.

For the inside trellis area I secured 1x2's vertically to each 4x4 with enough space to allow the horizontal slats to fit flush with the outside edge of the 4x4s. I used the 2" deck screws to attach them. These 1x2's were placed flat against the 4x4's to give my slats a piece of wood to grip into.  Remember to pre-drill all the holes for any 1x2 you need to screw or you will crack them!  Then I put the top slat just underneath top of the arbor and secured them with the 1 1/4" deck screws. I measured the slat positions at 6" on center and made marks across the top slat.  I attached a 4' long 1x4 to the bottom of the side slats to secure the vertical pieces.  Once the bottom and top were in place I cut and secured the vertical slats to the top bar.  Each slat was centered on the marks I made and allowed to hang.  After they were all hung on the top bar I leveled them and secured each slat to the bottom 1x4 bar.

I marked and measure the horizontal slats also at 6" on center and cut the 1x2s to fit between the posts.  I pre-drilled the holes into the ends and began securing one side, leveling, then the other side.  You only have to measure one side when you do it this way.  Make sure that you are using fairly straight 1x2s for this.  They tend to warp so you will need to inspect each one.  It's not a bad idea to buy a few spare ones just in case!  Then I worked my way down the arbor with the slats until I finished.

I used the same method to continue the fence around the vegetable garden.  A fence not only prevents deer from entering but will also be a great place to grow climbing vegetables like cucumbers and peas.  An arbor like this is not just great for a fence but would be a very nice stand alone project for any climbing plant. Unfortunately it isn't time to plant the warm season vegetable yet so I'll have to wait until after April 15th (last frost date here in our area of TN) before growing on the trellis!

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