Introduction: The ULTIMATE Tomato Hoop House Trellis of Death and Dismemberment

Picture of The ULTIMATE Tomato Hoop House Trellis of Death and Dismemberment
Perhaps the title is a little dramatic, but this is a killer trellis!!  The hoop house was about $100 in materials (all purchased from a big box store), which certainly seems like a lot, but this thing is BIG!  It's about 7' wide, 10' long, and 7' high. 

The materials used in this project are weather resistant, UV resistant, and rust resistant which means it can be left in place for years, and the fencing material allows a great deal of light to hit the ground allowing for ground crops if vines aren't desired one season or another.  Additionally, shade cloth can be attached to the hoops to prevent burning for any crops that don't particularly love full sun in certain climates.

The goal of this project was to create a trellis for growing tomatoes that is sturdy and inexpensive for the amount of crops that can be grown and that allows a lot of air flow, sunlight, and easy access for picking fruit and maneuvering the vines.  Although we did this for tomatoes, this trellis isn't limited to that particular crop.  Just imagine this thing covered in cucumbers and sweet peas!

  • 1 1/4"x10' UV resistant electrical pvc pipe (x3)
  • 3/4"x10' UV resistant electrical pvc pipe with connectable ends (x10)
  • PVC plumbing adhesive
  • 3'x50' Galvanized welded wire fence (x2)
  • Pack of rebar ties

  • Measuring tape
  • String
  • Saw
  • Wire cutters
  • Gloves
  • Sledge hammer
  • Scrap piece of 2x4

  1. Prep the soil for growing your crop.
  2. Glue 2 lengths of the 3/4" pipe together (repeat 4 more times to get five 20' long pipes) and allow to cure for 24 hours.
  3. Cut the 1 1/4" pipe to 2 1/2' lengths.
  4. Measure a 10' by 7' area and create line guides making sure to square the corners.
  5. At 2' intervals along the long side of the measured area, pound the 1 1/4" pipe into the ground using a piece of 2x4 for cushioning so as not to damage the pipe.
  6. Insert the 3/4" pipe into the 1 1/4" pipes creating the hoop.
  7. Span the wire fence over the hoops and attach the fence to the pipe using rebar ties.
  8. Plant your vegetables or ornamentals or whatever!  Have fun and enjoy!


LetitiaC5 (author)2017-05-21

Can I make it smaller for Cuckes & sm Zuks & use Chicken wire? My raised beds are 5x5x5x5'.

ReginaC1 (author)2015-04-25

This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for the article. My one question is can you add plastic to the outside. We have a very short growing season and I would like to add plastic at the beginning and end of the season to extend it. Last year had many plants freeze.

baltter (author)2015-01-10

Great idea.

JanetW3 (author)2015-01-06

How does it do in windy conditions?

AngryRedhead (author)JanetW32015-01-07

Ours was fine because there were plenty of spaces for the wind to pass through and not turn it in a huge terrifying kite, and when the tomato plants were quite large, they had even larger roots which further helped keep it in place. For instance, I was not able to pull the tomato plants out of the ground by hand once they were mature, and that was partly due to pregrowing them and sinking the plants into the ground 18" down. Also, double digging helped the plants grow their roots immensely. However, the backyard was fairly insulated where wind didn't have much chance of picking up great speeds. If you're in a very windy area, you probably need/want more insurance by staking it to the ground if you're at all worried about the wire becoming completely covered and the wind catching it.

josie.miller.100 (author)2014-09-27

I am wondering how you attached the plants to the trellis as tomato plants do not vine? Also, would there be any advantage to putting the plants on the outside of the trellis vs the inside?

You can weave the vines through the wire fence or attach them with panty hose, gardening tape, etc. I'd recommend attaching the vines (with whatever product/material you want) on the inside of the trellis, so the tomatoes can hang and not get stuck in the fence gaps.

jmsamr (author)2014-03-29

AngryRedhead did you find that you needed and lateral support when the trellis became laden with plant growth? I am going to use your instructable and was just wondering if the trellis needed a support backbone or if the galvanized mesh holds it in place pretty good.
Looks awesome!

AngryRedhead (author)jmsamr2014-03-29

I can't say that I tested the full extent of what it would hold, but it seemed fine. The fencing material held quite well and didn't allow movement or swing, but I wasn't growing loofah on it. The most irritating issue I encountered was fruit growing on the wrong side or getting stuck in the fencing, and if I were to do it over, I'd beef up the pvc and go with a fencing that had larger gaps (e.g., hog wire). I'd probably also lower it so it was still possible to get inside but everything was easier to reach. Maybe 5' tall (I'm 5'3") rather than 6'+.

A few other people have created trellises like this, so it's probably worthwhile seeing how they did it.

kz1 (author)2013-01-16

Crop rotation is a non issue if using self-watering containers to grow the plants. This is a great trellis idea and will work for a number of plants. Positioned in relation to prevailing winds, it would create a nice breezy cool spot in the garden. Great idea.

ToniB (author)2012-07-18

I was wondering how you were making out with your trellis. My plants are getting gigantic and I've been looking for something that works better than the cages and trellises that seem to be falling "short". Got any recent pics?

coptician (author)2012-04-24

Great concept with one caveat: It places your tomatoes in the same place in your garden year after year. Not good for soil health and disease control.

AngryRedhead (author)coptician2012-04-24

Tomatoes can be rotated using a square foot system of crop rotation and other crops can be grown such as cucumbers, loofah, and peas.  Also, I'm considering installing another one (or two).  Either way, the principles of crop rotation can still be applied.

Creativeman (author)2012-04-21

Great concept, AR!

AngryRedhead (author)Creativeman2012-04-21

Thanks!  I was fed up with other trellis/cage methods, and I think this one will resolve those issues.

Creativeman (author)AngryRedhead2012-04-21

Let us know how it works out, OK?

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