Sunset Books

Make your own elegant tower for your favorite climbing plants. Get our step-by-step photos

A garden tower with the crisp geometry of an obelisk adds a stunning focal point and a vertical dimension to your garden. Once vines climb onto the obelisk, the contrast between natural and constructed elements will enhance the appeal.

This obelisk is made from pressure-treated lumber, left to weather naturally.

Get our step-by-step instructions

You'll need the following materials to build the obelisk; see the full article for further details.

One 4x4 fence post with finial, cut about 14" long Four 8' 2x2s for 93 1/2" legs One 8' 2x4 for four 22" spreaders Four 4' pieces of 1/4" x 1 1/2" lath, perhaps rip-cut from a 2x4, for: four 17 1/2" lower crosspieces, four 14" middle crosspieces, and four 10 1/2" upper crosspieces Four 7' pieces of 1/4" x 1" lath, perhaps rip-cut from 5/4 decking, for four long verticals Eight 5' pieces of 1/4" x 1" lath for eight shorter verticals 1/4" and 2" decking or stainless-steel screws
 Sunset Books

Getting Ready

Building the obelisk isn’t that difficult if you have good tools and basic carpentry skills. There are some tricky angled cuts, though, that you’ll need to make to get the legs to splay correctly.

The good thing is that even if you are off a little bit, the tower will still work. Because the legs are long, you can flex them slightly to get everything to line up.

Start with a post top with a pointy finial. Then, rip-cut the lath pieces. The gallery photos show attaching with screws, but you can also use power-driven finish nails and staples; don’t attempt to hand-nail.

You can apply exterior wood glue or polyurethane glue to the joints for added strength.

Next: Materials list

Materials list

 

  • One 4 x 4 fence post with finial, cut about 14" long
  • Four 8' 2 x 2s for 93½" legs
  • One 8' 2 x 4 for four 22" spreaders
  • Four 4' pieces of ¼" x 1½" lath, perhaps rip-cut from a 2 x 4, for: four 17½" lower crosspieces, four 14" middle crosspieces, and four 10½" upper crosspieces
  • Four 7' pieces of ¼" x 1" lath, perhaps rip-cut from 5⁄4 decking, for four long verticals
  • Eight 5' pieces of ¼" x 1" lath for eight shorter verticals
  • 1¼" and 2" decking or stainless-steel screws

 

Pro tip: The importance of pilot holes

Especially when you are working with ¼-inch lath, which splits easily, countersink your pilot holes. Pilot holes seem like a hassle, but are well worth the amount of time they require. Use a drill bit that is slightly narrower than the screw or nail. The pilot holes countersink the screws, so the heads sit perfectly flush with the board for a neater appearance.

Get our step-by-step instructions

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