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How to Build a Wooden Garden Trellis – Free Standing Obelisk for Free

As I learn more about planting flowers, the more I realize the need for a garden trellis or Obelisk for upright plants. I’m also learning new words for all these contraptions and how expensive they are to purchase.

Today I’m sharing How to Build a Wooden Garden Trellis or Free Standing Obelisk Pyramid, using a reclaimed porch railing that was discarded after a recent porch update. These easy, step by step instructions, will keep your new plants vertical and off the ground. I began looking for a some inexpensive ways to build a trellis or free standing obelisk and finding some reclaimed wood was the perfect solution.

First, I love the look of a garden obelisk filled with tomatoes or a climbing vine. One of my favorite blogger friends, Jennifer at Cottage on Bunker Hill recently share a tutorial on gardening projects. After seeing her easy tutorial, I shared with my husband the need to make some obelisk for our garden. The cost of lumber was our number one concern. So we started looking through our discarded wood supply and found an old porch railing that had recently been removed. The wooden spindles were the perfect size to use on the obelisk.

Warning: This is a rustic version of Jennifer’s beautiful Obelisk. You can see her design here.

What is it called?

There are so many terms when searching for instructions to build a support for climbing plants. There are a few that I am familiar with such as trellis, obelisk, vertical and garden towers. A trellis can be free standing or anchored into the ground. Most obelisk are usually free standing, pyramid shaped and are often called Eiffel Towers as well. All can be constructed from various materials such as wood, plastic, and metals like iron, aluminum, etc. I have found that regardless of the name or material, they all do the same thing. They hold up your plants.

Supplies for Wooden Garden Trellis

When you are using reclaimed materials, your options may be limited. Here are the dimensions that we were able to work with based on the wood dimensions that were available for free.

  • 2 x 4 lumber 44 inches long
  • square porch spindles
  • wood screws

How to salvage reclaimed wood for Garden Obelisk

The porch railing was still attached with screws and therefore, we were able to salvage the wood, as well as the screws, to build the garden obelisk. Although the railing had been abandoned in a trash pile, it was still salvageable, because it was built from treated lumber.

Once all the wood is gathered, it’s important to remove any nails or screws before cutting the boards to size.

Next, split the 2 x 4 boards in half using a table saw. If the spindles had been a longer length, they could have been used instead of splitting the wider boards. However, you have to be flexible when working with reclaimed materials.

Now it’s time to cut each spindle to the desired size. Here are the dimensions we used.

  • Cut 4 spindles at 19 inches each – cut on a 45 degree angle using a miter saw
  • Using a thinner piece of molding, we cut 4 pieces at 14 inches each
  • Then 4 more spindles at 9 inches each – cut on a 45 degree angle

Finally, drill a pilot hole in the 45 degree angle cut with a cordless drill. Using the original screw holes where it was feasible, helped to reduce the construction time.

How to Assemble the Garden Trellis

Now that all the reclaimed wood has been cut to size, it’s time to assemble the garden trellis or obelisk pyramid tower. This is how we built our garden trellis.

Begin by measuring and marking the location of each spindle on the split 2 x 4 post. I placed a spindle mark at 7 inches from the top and bottom of the post. Then another directly in the center of those two.

Lay two boards flat and attach the spindles to the post at each marking, using wood screws. Then repeat on the remaining two posts.

Once the two sides are secure, attach them to each other using the remaining spindles. Be sure to attached them at the same height as before.

In addition, another option is to attach a top for the obelisk tower. We used a piece of treated siding and drilled a hole in the center to allow for a solar light.

I originally added a simple solar light from The Dollar Tree. However, the results were less than thrilling. Therefore, I added a terra cotta clay pot to hold the solar light. It isn’t permanently attached, so it may be changed once I check into some other options.

I also used these same solar lights on How to Repurpose a Chandelier.

This spring the raised garden bed was added using a trashed iron bed as the base. You can see the details on How to Build a Cheap Raised Garden Bed and you might like 3 Reasons to Plant Lilacs also.

Here you can see that the aged wood looks new where it is freshly cut. This will age quickly to match. The garden trellis or obelisk tower can also be painted to dress it up for the garden.

The finished Free Standing Obelisk PYraMID Tower

The garden obelisk pyramid tower fits perfectly into the raised garden bed. The free materials give it a primitive rustic feel but with a little paint, you will never know the wood was reclaimed.

The rustic garden obelisk actually works well with our country setting and will hopefully create a vertical garden. I hope you enjoyed How to Build a Garden Trellis and that you found the instructions helpful and inspiring.


Sunday 12th of June 2022

I love this project, Rachel. It fits right in with your garden headboard! Pinned!


Monday 13th of June 2022

Thanks Cindy, I’m glad you liked it!

Week In Rewind With Midwest Life and Style - Midwest Life and Style Blog

Sunday 5th of June 2022

[…] This beautiful DIY for your garden. […]


Saturday 4th of June 2022

I LOVE this, Rachel. I've always wanted to build one. Thank you for sharing your easy tutorial. I'm going to share a link with my readers in tomorrow's week in rewind post.


Sunday 5th of June 2022

Thanks Jen, I appreciate that!

Vintage Home Designs -

Saturday 4th of June 2022

[…] different ways to strip furniture…..these adorable DIY lemon candles…..this super cute garden trellis/obelisk DIY… new favorite shoes.…. (I bought them in clear, and I am wearing the SO much […]

Kim | Shiplap and Shells

Saturday 5th of June 2021

I need one of these Rachel! This is such a great post, thanks for sharing it with us. I'll be adding it to my weekly wrap-up on Sunday. Yes, I'm a day late this week.

Monday 7th of June 2021

Kim Thank you so much sweetie. I really appreciate this.