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How to Build a Garden Trellis – Garden Obelisk for Free

Would you like to build a garden trellis for FREE? This is how we made a Free Standing Garden Obelisk Pyramid using a reclaimed porch railing that was discarded after a recent porch update.

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 terms for all these garden accessories and how expensive they are to purchase.

So began the search for inexpensive ways to build a trellis or free-standing obelisk. Finding some reclaimed wood was the perfect solution.

Check out these easy, step-by-step instructions that will help keep your new plants vertical and off the ground.

reclaim wood to make a garden trellis for free.

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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 shared a tutorial on gardening projects.

After seeing her easy tutorial, I shared with my husband the need to make some obelisks for our garden. The cost of lumber was our number one concern.

So we began 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 A Garden Obelisk or Garden Trellis?

There are so many terms when searching for instructions to build a support for climbing plants.

A few that I am familiar with are garden trellis, garden obelisk, vertical & garden towers.

A trellis can be free-standing or anchored into the ground. Most obelisks 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 reclaimed wood used was treated lumber that had been on our porch for several years. The wooden railing had been replaced with a new vinyl one, and much of the old wood was still in good shape.

Therefore, the lumber would be perfect for a rustic garden obelisk.

The original porch railing was still attached with screws; therefore, we were able to salvage the wood, as well as the screws, to build the garden obelisk.

Reclaimed wood to build a garden obelisk for free to use for climbing plants.

Remove Nails and Screws

Once all the wood is gathered, begin by removing any nails or screws before cutting the boards to size.

Remove nails from reclaimed wood to build a garden trellis

Cut Wood 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.

Split wood with table saw for recycled DIY project with reclaimed wood.

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 are cut at a 45-degree angle.
Use miter saw to cut angles on the reclaimed wood for a obelisk.

Finally, drill a pilot hole in the 45-degree angle cut with a cordless drill.

Using the original screw holes where it was feasibly possible helped to reduce the construction time.

Drill pilot holes with a cordless drill

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.

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 with the two remaining posts.

Assemble the tower with reclaimed wood.

Once the two sides are secure, attach them to each other using the remaining spindles. Be sure to attach 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.

Attach a top to the garden obelisk for a 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.

Add solar light to a clay terra cotta pot on top of the standing tower.

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.

DIY Garden Trellis in raised bed.

As you can see, the aged wood looks new when it is freshly cut; however, it will age quickly.

You can also paint the garden trellis or garden obelisk to dress up the garden if you prefer.

DIY Obelisk for growing vegetable like tomatoes.

Garden 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.

Raised beds with DIY Obelisk or standing tower

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

Greenhouse with raised beds and gardens.

Pin It To Remember It

Did you find some great ideas you’d like to save for future reference? Hover over the images you’d like to save and pin to your favorite Pinterest Boards when you see the PIN button.

How To build a garden trellis for free with reclaimed wood.
recycled porch spindles for a DIY Garden Obelisk.
How to Build a Obelisk from reclaimed porch lumber for Free.

You can also see building a garden obelisk on my web stories.


Wednesday 10th of May 2023

My goodness Rachel, just what I need !!! Will certainly try this out soon. Thanks a bunch...Joan


Thursday 11th of May 2023

Joan, I'm so glad you like this idea. Thanks for stopping by.


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 […]