Step 1: Size the Frames

size the frames
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Design your trellis in proportion to its surroundings, keeping distances from architectural features—such as the eaves or windows on the house—consistent. When sizing the frame's uprights, remember that they double as the posts, so they must be long enough to be buried deeper than the frost line in your region and still leave a 1-foot clearance between the frame and the ground (for cleanup). For stability, you should also size them so that you'll be burying one-third of the trellis's total height.

Using a circular saw guided by a Speed square, cut the 2x4s to the lengths needed for the uprights and the horizontal members of each frame. Using a circular saw guided by a straightedge, cut panels from the lattice that are sized to fit inside the frames.
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    Tools List

    • circular saw
      circular saw
    • speed square
      Speed square
    • straightedge guide
      straightedge
    • combination square
      combination square
    • chisel
      chisel
    • hand saw
      handsaw
    • drill
      drill/driver
    • two-foot level
      2-foot level
    • post hole digger
      posthole digger
    • 7 foot digging bar
      digging bar
    • pointed shovel
      shovel
    • tamper
      small hand tamper

    Shopping List

    1. Cedar or pressure-treated 2x4s for the frame. Keep in mind that two adjoining trellis panels will share one vertical frame piece.

    2. Cedar or pressure-treated 1x1s for the stops that hold the lattice.3. Cedar or pressure-treated lattice fencing comes in 4-by-8-foot sheets. If you're building more than one panel, get both straight and diagonal lattice. 4. Cedar or pressure-treated 2x6—to cap the tops of the panels.

    5. ¾-inch gravel for drainage in the postholes. Four 50-pound bags will be enough.

    6. 1 5/8-inch self-tapping deck screws

    7. 3-inch self-tapping deck screws