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Make a rustic trellis

Norman A. Plate Make a rustic trellis
A simple trellis from prunings or stakes

Bentwood trellises are pretty, but most of us don't have access to the green willow saplings you need to make them. Dry wood, on the other hand, is fairly easy to come by, since trees get thinned and excess bamboo gets harvested. You can make a simple trellis from such prunings, or substitute 1-by-1 stakes from the nursery or lumberyard. The finished structure is 7 feet 41/2 inches tall and 3 feet wide.

TIME: about 2 1/2 hours (plus pruning)

COST: $5, $30 if you buy stakes

Tools and materials

• 12 straight branches, limbs or canes, each approximately 1" in diameter. These include (letters correspond with those on drawing):

• Three pieces, each 3 feet long (A)
• One piece, 6 feet long (B)
• Two pieces, each 5 feet long (C)
• Two pieces, each 25 inches long (D)
• Two pieces, each 221/2 inches long (E)
• Two pieces, each 391/2 inches long (F)

• One box 13/4-inch nails

• Hammer

• Spool of floral wire



1. Trim from the prunings any side branches.

2. Lay the crosspieces (A) horizontally on a flat surface, with two of them 18 inches apart, and the third 16 inches above the center one.

3. Lay the centerpiece (B) vertically across the crosspieces. The bottom end of the centerpiece should overlap the lowest crosspiece by 4 1/2 inches. Nail centerpiece to crosspieces at center joints.

4. Lay side pieces (C) vertically over crosspieces as shown, setting them about 3 1/2 inches in from the ends of the crosspieces. Nail to crosspieces at the joints.

5. Place D and E pieces diagonally between crosspieces, slightly overlapping the horizontal crosspieces as shown. Nail them to the horizontals at the joints.

6. Place top pieces (F) so they cross behind the centerpiece (B) and on top of the side pieces (C).

7. For additional stability, turn structure over and nail joints from the back side, then wrap wire several times around the main intersections.