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Upper Midwest Gardening: Build a Copper Trellis for Under $100

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Build a copper trellis for your garden for under $100. It's an inexpensive and easy project, with long-term benefits.

 Give your garden a vertical lift.

This do-it-yourself project takes less than two hours to construct, and once put in place will stand the test of time. For those with little room for a garden, this trellis provides a way to grow up instead of out. Take a look - does it get any better?

Armed with $100, thanks to the Lowe's challenge to us regional garden experts, I constructed this beautiful copper trellis with the right tools, a bit of elbow grease and some creativity. Here's what I used:

 With simple materials the copper trellis came together in less than two hours.

Lowes shopping list:
Two ¾ in x 1 ft copper pipes item# 23820
Four elbow joints item# 21614
Two ¾-in "T" reducing joints item# 21672
One Kobalt Sm. Tube Copper Cutter item# 0330219
18-gauge copper wire item# 62938
Three ¼ in x 10 ft soft copper tubing item# 23050
Copper adhesive (or Gorilla Glue ) Item# 70236


 Cutting copper is easy with the correct tool.

Measure and Cut
Measure and cut copper pipes as follows:
Two 5-ft lengths
Four 1-ft lengths
One 3-ft length
One 19-in length

Measure twice, cut once! Good advice from my dad. Once I had all the copper marked, I started cutting, which is surprisingly easy with a copper cutter. I simply laid the pipe in the cutter and lined up the blade with the marked area. Then I tightened the cutter and began twisting the copper pipe until the blade cut through. I filed down burrs on the ends of the cut pipes with a mill file. (Or you could use a kitchen knife sharpener.)

 Here's my blueprint for the copper trellis.

Following the diagram below I laid the pipes and fittings on a flat surface. Then, starting from the bottom I inserted the pipes into the joints to create the frame.

 With extra-strong glue a little dab'll do ya on the joints.

Once all adjustments were made I secured the joints with a dab of Gorilla Glue.

 Creative wiring made the trellis stable and flexible all at once.

Creating Design
The fun part for me was creating a fun design using the soft copper tubing. I wanted a swirled look, but really anything would work. I gently unrolled the tubing and shaped it into place, then secured it to the frame with 18-gauge copper wire. Also I wired together all areas of the tubing that touched, giving the design more stability for climbing plants.

Once everything was wired, the trellis was ready for a home. Inserting the bottom pipes into the soil was all it took. For extra stability you could drive ½ in x 14 ft rebar into the soil and place copper pipes over the rebar.

All told it took me less than two hours to build this trellis. The hardest part was deciding where to display my shiny work of art.

Some of my favorite vining plants include:
Morning glory
Blue hyacinth bean
Scarlet runner beans
Cardinal flower
Sweet peas

See more Midwest Gardening Articles.