Copper and Wood Trellis





Introduction: Copper and Wood Trellis

About: I'm a woodworker/maker on YouTube

This week I take care of an unhappy hardenbergia by making it something to climb on. I've seen copper used before but decided to incorporate some wood into it.

This trellis is a simple job that requires limited tools. All you need is a drill, saw, some pressure treated pine (19mm x 42mm) and some copper pipe and fittings.

Step 1: The Wooden Frame

Start by creating the bottom half of the frame. This should reach as far down the into the pot as possible (preferably to the bottom), and stick out the top by at least 200mm. This will make sure there is enough wood to hold the frame firm in the dirt but also give the plant some room.

First create the bottom half, a U-shape. This is made using 19mm x 42mm timber. It will be in ground so the wood should be treated as such and the screws should be galvanised.

After that create the top half. This is a basic box, but in my case I flared the sides to create a wedge. I cut the sides at 5 degrees to create the shape, and screwed this together using galvanised screws.

Once you have both halves, join them with screws.

NOTE: My original intention was to use a much nicer timber on the top half, a hard wood of some kind. I never did because I wanted this piece to match the timber already in the backyard, but if you want to make it fancier you can just make the bottom half out of treated pine then spend some more on the top half.

Step 2: Build the Copper Pipe Design

Before starting with the pipe get a rough idea of what shape you want to create and buy the necessary pieces for this. You'll use either a 90 degree bend or a t-join. In my case I created a basic ladder. On top of that you'll need the equivalent size copper pipe.

The more places the pipe goes through the wood the stronger the design will be but the most important part is to make sure the copper goes deep into the soil. This ensures that the copper and timber work together, supporting each other.

To drill a hole you can either use a brad point bit but I bought a spade bit instead which was cheaper. This meant that I needed to drill a pilot hole first then follow up with the spade bit.

I also suggest getting a pipe cutter as this will speed things up significantly. To join the pipe you can use epoxy or a general purpose glue. There won't be any serious stress on the joins so anything that holds the pipe together will work.

Step 3: Insert the Pipe and Plant

Install the pipe piece by piece, dry fitting as you go.

Once you've finished gluing all the pieces together add some rocks to the bottom of the pot, around the trellis. This will help hold the trellis in place as you add the soil.

Now your plant can be added underneath the trellis.



    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest
    • Game Life Contest

      Game Life Contest

    9 Discussions

    To reduce the pipe that is in the soil from corrosion, would spraying it with a coat of rubber sealent do the trick?

    1 reply

    Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. And if you spray it with a clear coat then you wont see it as it comes through the dirt

    I was about to point out that copper is poisonous for plants (since I heard such things). But after a bit googling I found that this is a fairy tale. However, copper can corrode and cover with verdigris when contact with soil. So it might be a good idea to give it a spray with clear lacquer.

    2 replies

    Thanks Thomas, I didn't know that. I've seen copper trellises before so I just assumed it was all good. Haven't heard of verdigris so it's off to Google for me!

    It's that green coat you see after a while. Many old churches have copper shingles and they turn into that green color over time. It's caused by acid and soil contact will fasten that process. Copper(II) acetate is poisonous (lethal at 710mg/kg oral which one would not swallow usually ;-).

    I like this design! It would be so simple to put a water catcher on the top and have it drain trough the pipes into the pot!

    1 reply

    That is an amazing idea! And here in Australia they encourage watering through a pipe to reduce evaporation. Thank you!