How to Build a Pyramid Trellis

A garden trellis is a structure used to support climbing plants and provide an attractive architectural backdrop for garden displays. Some trellises also make useful screens in garden design schemes or introduce height into a planting scheme. Trellises are available in a number of materials, but if you want to build your own, you’ll find that a wooden trellis is probably best for making a pyramid.

Steps

  1. 1
    Choose your materials to begin building. Choose your material wisely, depending on the aesthetic and functional qualities you desire for your trellis.
    • Although a metal trellis can look very ornate and attractive, metal isn’t always the best choice because it can heat up in the sun and burn the plant.
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    • Wood is easier to work with and paint, and is more sympathetic to the plant's needs.
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    • When selecting wood, make sure you use kiln-dried wood to avoid warping. Cedar is a popular choice.
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    • Consider treating the wood with wood preservative before you work with it: this will prolong the life of your trellis.
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    • Get 4 pieces of 2x2 wood, all about 8 feet (2.4 m) in length, plus another 4 pieces of 1x3 wood about 5 feet (1.5 m) in length.
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    • Get some shorter lengths for making horizontal cross pieces like the slats on a ladder.
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    • Remember that the wood may be roughly finished, so beware of splinters and use work gloves when handling it.
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  2. 2
    Use instructions to cut your wood. You can make a garden pyramid trellis using pre-cut wood or by cutting your own wood, depending on your skills, experience, and available tools.
    • Cut your wood to size if you need to, otherwise, move to the next step.
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    • You can download free cutting guides for woodworking that may make the job easier by telling you how and where to cut.
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    • A mitre saw will probably be essential if you are cutting your own wood to size.
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    3
    Pre-drill and paint your timber. It’s best to pre-drill any nail holes in order to prevent splitting in the timber when sinking nails.
    • Additionally, if you plan to paint your pyramid, you should do so before assembly to make it easier to cover every surface.
    • Dark green paint always looks good, or you can try using a contrast color such as bright blue, deep red, or white.
    • These colors will look good against any green foliage you have in your garden.
    • Remember that it’s hard to repaint once foliage is climbing up the structure, so paint your trellis with primer or undercoat, then apply at least 2 coats of a good quality weatherproof paint so the paint lasts and looks good over the years.
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    Assemble two V-shaped frames with your long wood pieces. Use the 4 longer pieces of wood that you cut or purchased to make 2 V-shaped frames.
    • Start by cutting the 4 longer pieces of wood on their joining edges at a 10 degree angle.
    • Make sure they fit flush against their partner at the pointed tip, then nail them together.
    • If you are unsure about cutting at an angle, or don’t have a mitre saw to do so easily, consider building a tall oblong shape, as this lets you retain the square edges and join the pieces at right angles.
    • This may be slightly less stable once finished, so it will need a sheltered position out of strong winds.
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    5
    Attach the crosspieces to the shorter lengths. Nail the crosspieces of increasing lengths up the length of the shorter pieces, like making a ladder with only one central vertical length.
    • The shorter lengths of wood should be used to hold up the horizontal crosspieces.
    • Use stainless steel nails (or brass) and make sure you sink them slightly beneath the surface of the wood.
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    Assemble your pyramid. Start by joining the 2 V-shaped longer pieces. Then, add the shorter lengths along all 4 sides of the pyramid, joining using the crosspieces.
    • It may be helpful to have a second person to help support the pyramid whilst you secure the pieces together.
    • You might like to place the nails where they aren’t so visible, i.e. on the inside surfaces of the pyramid.
    • This isn’t essential, and can be a little more fiddly.
    • You can add a finial (decorative wood top).
    • You can simplify the design by adding crosspieces to the 4 long pieces and skipping the step where you add shorter vertical lengths to the structure.
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    7
    Anchor and arrange your pyramid to prevent damage. If you are in a windy area, you should anchor your pyramid to prevent it toppling.
    • If the pyramid moves, it may cause damage to any plants that are growing on it.
    • You can achieve an attractive look by shaping garden canes or willow rods into a pyramid shape and attaching them to the trellis with garden twine to keep it in place.
    • Remember that climbing plants will eventually add their weight to the structure, and may topple it if it becomes too heavy on one side.
    • Consider planting on both sides to balance your trellis and anchor it to the ground.
  8. 8
    Prepare the ground to ensure the stability of your trellis. If you plan to keep the structure in place for a while, consider preparing the area before placing it.
    • Dig some manure or compost into the ground.
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    • Remove stones and weed the area before placing your pyramid trellis.
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    • Be aware that if you dig first, the ground may settle and the pyramid may sink a little over time.
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    • If the feet sit in damp ground, they are more likely to rot or crack.
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    • Soaking the lower part of the structure (or all of it) in wood preservative overnight will help prolong the life of your trellis.
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    • If possible, place it on hard, free-draining ground because the trellis won’t last as long if it sits in wet earth or a puddle.
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    Plant climbers on your trellis. After choosing a position for your pyramid trellis, you can plant climbing perennial plants such as Clematis, Ivy, Passionflower or Climbing Rose against it.
    • Some climbing plants will benefit from being lightly tied onto the pyramid structure; others will be able to scramble up by themselves.
    • Also consider annuals such as Black-eyed Susan, Sweet Peas or Morning Glory.

Article Info

Categories: Landscaping and Outdoor Building