How to Install a Garden Trellis

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A garden trellis is an attractive way to add character to a garden or outdoor space. Use a trellis to divide a space, cover an unsightly wall or area or as an addition to a garden feature to decorate with climbing vines. Whatever the function, you can build a trellis with just a few tools and little experience.

What You Will Need:

  • Trellis panels
  • Hammer or mallet
  • Level
  • Mounting brackets (if necessary)

Step 1 - Preparation and Treatment

Before building, stain or paint the trellis components. Treat any wood that will be below ground level for insects and water damage. Add a good UV protected paint and sealer to protect from color fading and prevent water damage. Make sure all paint treatments are dry between each coating and installation.

Step 2 - Location

If you are planning to attach a climbing plant or vine to the trellis, make sure the plant will receive adequate sunlight. You can mount trellis posts in the ground or in large garden pots. You can later adjust the location by just moving the pots and reinstalling the trellis.

Make sure the pots are at least 2 feet deep. Place a few inches of gravel on the bottom before filling with soil. The post must have adequate drainage so the posts will not sit in standing water.

Step 3 - Mounting Using Posts in the Ground

If the trellis is to be free-standing, place the posts at a depth approximately 2 feet in the ground. If they are not long enough, add a length of treated wood post or galvanized metal pipe. If the trellis is to be mounted in front of a wall, post or any solid structure, secure the trellis mounting brackets.

Step 4 - Drive Posts into Ground

If the ground is soft enough, you can drive the trellis posts directly into the ground with a hammer or mallet. If using a metal hammer, protect the top of the post by placing a piece of scrap wood over the top of it. Alternate hammering both posts a little distance to lower the structure evenly.

If the ground is too hard, dig the holes with a post hole digger. Pack the soil tight around the post after completed.

Step 5 - Check for Level

Use a level to check that both posts are vertical and the trellis is level horizontally. For vertical level, wiggle the post until you reach leve, and then compress the soil to hold. For horizontal level, drive the higher post in increments until level is reached.

Step 6 - Inspection

After installation, inspect the posts for any damage where the wood might have split or chipped. Since this unit will be outside and open to the natural elements, any exposed wood will be open for absorption of water and sunlight. Repaint and seal all damaged areas.

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