Lawn + Garden Projects
Sandwich Trellis Boards
This trellis design is incredibly easy to build and just as easy to customize.
BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 121 Projects
Inspired by the ingeniously simple and stable structure of a sidewalk sandwich board sign, the A-frame trellis has, in one form or another, proved a trusty workhorse for many backyard gardeners. Its basic design offers several advantages. It’s portable, so you can move it between beds and quickly set it up wherever plants need support, as well as store it away for winter. And, like a sidewalk sign, the trellis is hinged at the top, allowing you to spread the two frames any distance you need to fit a bed or accommodate plant growth.
This trellis design is incredibly easy to build and just as easy to customize. Simply change the lengths of the frame pieces to make your trellis taller or shorter, wider or narrower, or any combination to fit your needs. The other optional feature is the material used for the webbing within the frames. Here, jute or hemp twine is threaded through holes in the frame to create a roughly 6½" square grid for supporting climbing plants. What’s nice about the twine is that you can snip it off at the end of the season and compost it with the old vines—there’s none of that tedious work of picking off the dried tendrils from the webbing. Other popular webbing materials that you can use on this trellis are chicken wire and yard fencing, as shown below.
All of the trellis frame parts are made with 1 × 4 cedar boards (or other naturally decay-resistant wood). These can be rough or smooth and don’t need to be high-grade. You can even use unstained fence planks, which come in 6-ft. lengths and tend to be cheaper than 1 × 4 dimension lumber.
Variation: You can substitute chicken wire for the twine for a permanent webbing. Cut each wire panel to size at 46 × 70", using wire cutters or aviation snips. Center the panel over the front face of the frame and secure it with staples along one stile (use galvanized, stainless steel, or other corrosion-resistant staples). Pull the panel taut and staple it along the other stile, then along both rails.
Variation: Vinyl-coated wire fencing on a short frame makes a great trellis for melons, tomatoes, and other sprawling varieties. Cut the fencing about 2" shorter and narrower than the outsides of the trellis frames, and fasten it to the outside faces with galvanized heavy-duty staples or poultry staples (U-shaped nails).