Each year I try something new in the garden. This year, I was looking for a different way to cage tomatoes. I have metal wire cages that are pretty flimsy and always seem to tip over after the tomato plant reaches 3 feet tall. This is my try at a wooden trellis in the shape of an obelisk. Mostly, it is for decoration but having the obelisk shape does allow us to stack the cages together for winter.
Step 1: Tools/Materials
- Table Saw
- Miter Saw
- Nail Gun
- Tape measure
- Cedar: 1.75" x 1.75" x 16’ long
- Cedar: 1x6 x 8' long (x2)
- Nails or Screws
- Paint (optional)
- String (optional)
Step 2: Legs
I started with a 2x6 cedar board. I cut it down into 1 3/4" strips for the legs. Each leg is 4' long. I added points (45 degree angles) to the ends to make it easier to secure into the ground.
Step 3: Sides
A true obelisk design requires compound miter cuts to achieve a perfect fit. This version is simplified and uses simple angle cuts.
I started with a 1x6 cedar board and cut it into 1.5" strips using a table saw. I then used a miter saw to cut the strips to the dimensions shown. The angle (7 degrees) allowed me to reach my desired upper dimension (24" square). Make 2 of each part.
Step 4: Side Assemblies
Measure off the legs per the drawing before attaching the sides. Attach the sides with water resistant glue and nails or screws. Build 2 leg assemblies.
Step 5: Attach Connecting Sides
Cut the remaining sides to the dimensions shown. Turn the 2 leg assemblies on the side as shown. Line up the final side segments and attach as before. At this point, clean up the edges with a sander.
Step 6: Paint or Stain
This step is optional but my wife suggested to add color to the cage.
Step 7: Finished
The trellis can be used in either direction. For tomatoes, I plan to place the pointed ends into the ground. The 24" square top matched my existing metal cages. For peas, beans or any other climbing plant, you could place it as shown in the first picture. To give more plant support, consider adding string between the sides. See my cucumber trellis for more details.
Step 8: Planted
The cages will eventually go to the garden but these pictures show it used in a pot on the deck. This tomato plant will hopefully get to about 5 feet tall and should fill out the cage in about 2 months.