How to Build a Rustic Teepee Trellis

So, I built a thing. My tomato plants go a little wild every year and try to demolish their cages. I needed to build something that would keep them somewhat contained. I thought a teepee trellis would be multifunctional and look pretty cool. Last year, we had to cut back some crepe myrtles that were swallowing a power line. Handy new building material acquired!

For this project, I used 1 ¼” and 3” decking screws and the aforementioned branches. The tools I used were a drill, a paddle bit, and a circular saw. Nothing super fancy.

Framing pieces

First, I needed three long framing pieces from the branches. So, I cut 5’ off of the thick end of them and arranged them into a tetrahedron shape. Then I secured the narrow ends at the top. To do this, I used the paddle bit to create a wide, but fairly shallow pilot hole that was less likely to split the sticks. Of course, a bunch of the skinnier sticks split anyway.

I made holes on the outer two sticks and ran the 3” screws through them into the middle one. Once the top was secure, I cut three sections of wood to fit around the bottom of the trellis. I put these bars about 8” off of the ground and attached them with the 1 ¼” screws using the same method as with the top. I took a paddle bit, drilled a pilot hole into the both ends of the stick where it lined up with the frame poles. Then, I ran the screws through. Ta da!

I mean, I make it sound easy. Truth be told, there were cuss words. Lots of cuss words. Lining up poles and marking where the screws needed to go, not to mention holding it all together while running the screws in was a trying task. I might have had one get away from me and bonk me on the head. I also might have launched it into the yard in a fit of irritation. 

With the top and bottom stabilized, it was easier to put the rest of the horizontal pieces on there. I attached two more levels going up the tetrahedron. This required six more sections of crepe myrtle branch. 

Almost there!

I made my trellis as simply as possible. If someone were to try it themselves, they could do all kinds of cool stuff with the design. They could have the cross pieces go in an x shape instead of just horizontal lines. You can keep it simple or get as fancy with it as you want.

I plan to put some kind of decoration on top someday. Maybe a metal pinwheel or other pretty spinny thing. Maybe a garden flag. I haven’t quite made up my mind. I like for my gardens to be really interesting and creative looking, so I love lawn ornaments, wind chimes, prisms, ect…

Don’t judge all of the weeds. I’m tired ya’ll.


I will say that so far, this tomato cage has held up much better than the ones I had last year. Usually, when the plants get this big, the store bought cages begin to sag and come apart. This one is holding up just fine and seems to keep the plant well supported. No more sprawling tomatoes!

I did not really do any research for this project. I just kind of used the materials I had laying around and made it up as I went along. It was mildly frustrating at times, but I would classify its difficulty as medium. You have to know how to use a drill and a saw, but it isn’t super complicated. In fact, it was a nice escape from the chicken tractor project that I have been fighting with. 

In conclusion, I am calling the teepee trellis a success. It cost me nothing because I had all of the materials and tools already. It was moderately easy to construct and the finished product was a success.

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