Metal trellises allow you to change the look of your fence without replacing the wood.

How to Attach a Metal Trellis to a Wood Fence

by Amelia Allonsy

Every mom needs a calming place to relax during those precious moments when the kids aren't running wild, the phone isn't ringing off the hook and you finally get a chance to slow down. Trellises on a wooden fence allow you to mix the hardness of the trellis and fence with soft foliage, turning your small garden into a lush oasis. Metal trellises often feature intricate designs and scroll work that creates a formal, yet vintage appearance. They are usually two-dimensional, so it must project out from the fence so vines can weave around all sides of the trellis.

Measure the fence from the ground to the top of the fence pickets. Cut two pieces of 2-by-4-inch lumber to the same height as the fence, using a circular saw.

Measure the width of the metal trellis. Space the boards on the fence so the edges of the trellis line up with the center of the 2-by-4s.

Screw the 2-by-4-inch boards to the fence with the wide sides facing out, using 4-inch wood screws. Drive the screws into the horizontal rails at the top and bottom of the fence. These rails -- usually 2-by-4s with the narrow sides facing out -- are easier to see if the back of the fence faces inside your yard, in which case you won't have to drill through the fence pickets.

Hold the metal trellis against the fence; line up the edges of the trellis with the center of the 2-by-4s. If the trellis has legs, push them into the soil to further anchor the trellis.

Fit a two-hole galvanized pipe strap, also called a pipe clamp, over the metal on the sides of the trellis. Drive 1-inch galvanized screws through the pre-drilled pilot holes in the two tabs on the strap and into the 2-by-4s. Install one pipe strap at the top and bottom of the trellis, and spaced at least every 12 inches in between. Repeat with the other side of the trellis. Pipe straps, found in the plumbing supply section of any home improvement store, normally fit over round pipes. In addition to the raised curve that accommodates pipe, the straps have two flat tabs that rest against the wood mounting surface. Select pipe straps that fit the metal on the trellis. If the metal is square, you'll need to purchase larger straps that can fit completely around the metal and allow the tabs to lie flat against the wood.

Items you will need

  • Measuring tape
  • 2-by-4 lumber
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • 4-inch galvanized wood screws
  • Two-hole galvanized pipe straps
  • 1-inch galvanized wood screws


  • If the horizontal rails of your fence face in, you might be able to attach the trellis without installing vertical 2-by-4s by securing one pipe clamp to each horizontal rail. Wrought iron trellises, for example, are quite heavy and benefit from the extra clamps. The vertical 2-by-4s also put more distance between the fence and trellis.

About the Author

A former cake decorator and competitive horticulturist, Amelia Allonsy is most at home in the kitchen or with her hands in the dirt. She received her Bachelor's degree from West Virginia University. Her work has been published in the San Francisco Chronicle and on other websites.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/ Images