Last year, I purchased Rosalind Creasy’s book, Edible Landscaping. What a wonderful book chock full of ideas! In one of the pictures of her garden, I saw a teepee trellis covered with a vining plant. What caught my attention is the finial on the top of the trellis. I thought that was such a novel idea – and I wanted a couple of those teepee trellises for myself. I thought they would look great in my front yard as I stretch my garden space. Well, because my beau (aka Garden Wilson) has so much talent, all I had to do was show him the picture and he made me two beautiful teepee trellises! And he agreed to help me write today’s article, so you can build these beautiful trellises for your garden.
HOW TO BUILD A TEEPEE TRELLIS
These instructions are to build one teepee that will be about 8 feet 4 inches tall. The dimensions of this teepee, as well as the shorter one, are listed below the instructions.
- Wooden finial of any design or style
- 8 inch piece of treated 4×4
- Four 8 foot long treated 2×2’s (for uprights)
- Three 8 foot long treated 1×2’s (for cross members)
- Nails or screws
- Paint (optional)
- Tape measure
- Hammer or electric drill
- Circular saw
- Chop saw for cutting cross members (highly recommended)
1. The bottom of the finial we chose measured 3×3, so I cut the piece of 4×4 to a 3×3. You may need to do the same. Attach the finial to the 4×4 (or 3×3).
2. Lay the finial and two 2×2’s on the ground to determine the base width of the teepee. (Remember the base measurement for Step 6.) Once the base width has been determined, angle the 2×2’s to attach to the finial and mark.
Cut all four 2×2’s to match.
3. Lay the finial and two 2×2’s on the ground and determine where the cross members will be attached to the 2×2’s. TIP: Mark all four 2×2’s while on the work bench; it’s much easier than while the teepee is up and wobbly.
4. On each side of the finial, draw lines on both sides of the 2×2 where it will attach to be sure the 2×2’s will be centered and straight.
5. Pre-drill 3 holes in each 2×2 on angled end, and attach to the finial.
6. Stand teepee up. (A second pair of hands may be needed to successfully accomplish this.) Once the teepee is upright, measure and place the base of each 2×2 at the desired width (which you determined in Step 2).
This allows you to take an accurate measurement for the bottom cross member length. TIP: Measuring, cutting, and attaching the bottom cross members first helps establish the length of the middle and top cross members.
7. For this teepee, I cut the ends of the cross members at a 45-degree angle with a 3-degree offset. (It took three test cuts to determine these angles, and then the chop saw made this step a breeze.)
8. Attach cross members where marked, starting at the bottom and working your way up.
9. Leave as is or paint. (We painted ours white.) Then plant vining vegetables or flowers in pots placed in the center of the teepee.
For the tall teepee, I used the 2×2’s full size. For the shorter teepee, I cut 15 inches off the 2×2’s and adjusted the base width and cross member placement. Here are the dimensions of each teepee:
TALL TEEPEE TRELLIS:
- Total height: 100 inches
- Finial: 15 inches
- 2×2’s: 8 feet
- Bottom cross member length: 26 inches
- Middle cross member length: 17 inches
- Top cross member length: 8 inches
SMALLER TEEPEE TRELLIS:
- Total height: 88 inches
- Finial: 15 inches
- 2×2’s: 6 feet 8 inches
- Bottom cross member length: 21 inches
- Middle cross member length: 14 inches
- Top cross member length: 7 inches
NOTE: Cross member measurements are close, but not exact. Measure and cut as you construct your teepee to ensure a proper fit.
SPACING OF CROSS MEMBERS:
NOTE: Top measurement is from the top cross member to the bottom of the finial.
If this inspires you to make your own teepee trellis, email Rosemarie a picture. We’d love to see it!
Aren’t they beautiful? Didn’t he do a great job? He had barely finished building them when a bird used the tall one as a roost. (Since then, we’ve seen quite a few birds perched on these.) Isn’t he cute?
The teepee trellises are going in my front yard. This weekend, I’m getting blue ceramic planters to place inside of them. I’ll plant a vining zucchini in one and tigger melon in the other. I’m excited about my new edible landscaping!
How do you incorporate edible landscaping on your homestead?