Instead of buying a pricey planter with an attached trellis, build one yourself. The trough-style planter described here has a hog fence trellis backing extending five feet above the trough through which vines can be woven or tied. It holds three #5 size plastic containers of vines, or two #10 or #15 size containers. Alternately, line the bottom with screening and fill with soil to about one inch below the top, then plant your vines. Hog fencing has wider gaps in it than chicken wire, so annual vines are easier to extricate once they've died.
Attach two two-by-two-by-12 inch cedar supports to a 12-by-36-by-one inch cedar board using two-and-a-half inch wood screws and a power screwdriver. One support will go on each end of the board, so that the ends of the supports are flush with the top and bottom of the board. The side of the support should lie flush with the end of the board. Screws should be about a half inch from the edge, and equidistant from one another. Use three screws per support.
Attach two 12-by-18-by-one inch cedar boards to the supports so that you have the front of your planter and the two sides. The sides of your planter will cap the edges of the front, so that the supports are nestled in the front corners of the planter. Screw these sides into place against the supports, and then screw them into the edge of the front board as well for added support.
Follow the same attachment procedure to install two back supports against the back wall of the planter. Use four-by-four-by-72 inch cedar posts for the back supports and the a second 12-by-36-by-one inch cedar board for the back wall. Affix one end of each post flush with the bottom of the planter, and allow the other end to extend up, far out of the planter to support a trellis. Screw the supports in place against the back board and side boards with the wood screws.
Lay the planter frame on its back, so that the cedar posts are lying horizontally on the ground. Attach nine four-by-1.75-by-18 inch decking boards to the bottom of the planter, starting with the edges. The ends of the decking boards should line up with the front and back edges of your planter. The sides of the decking boards at each end of the planter will sit flush with the side cedar boards. Leave a ¼-inch gap between each board to allow for drainage from the planter. Use two wood screws to attach each end of decking board to the board above it, and use at least four screws total along each side to attach them to the side cedar boards. Additional screws can be used to secure the boards under the cedar post up through the bottom of the post.
Pull the planter into an upright position. Attach 60-by-36 inch hog fencing to the back of the trellis supports. The 36 inches should span from one support post to the next, and the 60 inches should span from the top of the planter to the top of the posts. Staple the hog fencing in place with a staple gun against the back of the posts, adding a staple every three to four inches up the post.
Have the wood measured and cut at the lumber yard. Cedar is rot-resistant and recommended for this project, but cypress is also rot-resistant. Cedar and cypress are rot-resistant, but not rot-proof. Paint wood with non-toxic sealant to delay eventual wood rot. Plant vines in plastic pots that fit inside the planter to reduce soil contact with cedar. This will also prolong the rot-resistance of cedar. Add casters to the bottom to make the planter mobile.
Do not use pressure-treated cedar, since it is often doused in chemicals that will harm plants.
Tips and warnings
- Have the wood measured and cut at the lumber yard.
- Cedar is rot-resistant and recommended for this project, but cypress is also rot-resistant.
- Cedar and cypress are rot-resistant, but not rot-proof. Paint wood with non-toxic sealant to delay eventual wood rot.
- Plant vines in plastic pots that fit inside the planter to reduce soil contact with cedar. This will also prolong the rot-resistance of cedar.
- Add casters to the bottom to make the planter mobile.
- Do not use pressure-treated cedar, since it is often doused in chemicals that will harm plants.