Trellises allow for more growing space.

How to Build an Easy Trellis

by Grace Wathen

A trellis is a useful piece of gardening equipment that can help train your plants to grow upward, giving you more garden space. Trellising plants can also keep the fruit of the plants off the ground, preventing rotting and pest infestation. A basic trellising system can be easily made using a few inexpensive items. A tepee trellis design is the easiest type of trellis to construct and works for most types of plants. Bamboo stalks are a light and an inexpensive medium good for use in making tepee trellises. Bamboo is also durable, lasting up to seven years.

Set Up

Lay the bamboo stalks on the ground next to one another.

Level the bamboo stalks at one end and place two of the stalks directly next to one another, still laying down.

Place the third bamboo stalk on top of the other two stalks, horizontally.

Tie Off

Tie the bamboo stalks together about six inches from the top using lashing cord. Use a secure knot and do not cut the lashing cord yet.

Wrap the long end of the lashing cord around the bamboo stalks several times, at least six to ten wraps. Ensure the wrapping is tight.

Cut the lashing cord from the spindle with a few extra inches for tying. Tie this end to the original short end of the cord into a secure knot.

Stand Up and Place

Move the tied bamboo stalks close to the desired trellis location in your garden.

Stand the bamboo stalks up and open them into a tepee shape.

Ensure the lashing cord is secure and place the tepee trellis in the desired garden location.

Dig three small, 2-inch holes with a hand shovel where you'd like the stalks to remain.

Secure the stalks into the holes.


Train the plants to grow up the bamboo stalks by wrapping the stems of the plants around the bamboo stalks.

Use the remaining lashing cord to help secure the stems gently to the bamboo.

Check the plants regularly to ensure they are trellising properly.

Items you will need

  • Three 4-foot-long bamboo stalks
  • 1 spindle lashing cord
  • knife or scissors
  • hand shovel


  • Depending on the type of plant you are trellising, you may want to make the tepee taller or shorter. For example, certain varieties of bean plants (Phaseolus vulgaris) such as pole beans, climb fast and may need a taller trellis, up to 6 feet tall. While other plants such as peas (Pisum sativum), can flourish with smaller 2- to 3-foot trellises. For heavier plants, such as tomatoes, you may need to use additional bamboo stalks to help hold the weight of the plant and its fruit.


  • Keep the knife or scissors away from children. Also, keep the children away from the trellis once it has been set up as there is a risk of tipping it over or getting tangled in it.

About the Author

Grace Wathen is a certified yoga, Pilates and raw nutrition instructor. Her dedication to health and wellness motivated her to organize and build several community gardens in Utah, Oregon and Nevada. She has been sharing her expertise on the above topics through online publishers since 2007.

Photo Credits

  • Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images