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How to Build a Trellis Arbor and Gate

A kit-built teak arbor adds beauty, style and access for friendly neighbors.

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Step 1: Remove the Fence Section

Instead of removing individual boards from the fence to accommodate the trellis, use mallets and hammers to knock the boards away from the posts and remove them in sections. Use mallets and hammers to remove individual boards, keeping them as intact as possible so they can be reused. Remove the posts that are in the way; the team used a utility loader with a bucket attachment to remove the posts and the concrete holding them in place.

Step 2: Dry-Fit the Trellis Pieces

The arbor and gate kit includes all of the pieces already cut to size. Check the parts against the instructions and dry-fit the pieces to make sure everything is included and fits properly. Use clamps to help hold the pieces in place for the dry-fit.

Step 3: Assemble the Trellis Top

Position the supports for the eave or top of the trellis on the ground. Assemble the eave by attaching the crosspieces; make sure to follow the instructions and use any aids provided, such as spacer blocks to make sure pieces are properly positioned. Attach the pieces with screws, countersinking the screw heads.

Step 4: Hide the Screw Heads

Apply a dab of wood glue in each screw countersinks and insert a wood peg in the hole to hide the screw head. Place a small block of wood over the peg and tap it with a hammer to seat the peg in the hole without denting the wood. Wipe away any excess glue and sand the peg flush with the wood. Repeat for all of the screw holes.

Step 5: Attach the Trellis Panels

Follow the manufacturer's instructions to fit the panels together. Run a bead of wood glue along the edge of each piece and press together, reinforcing with countersunk stainless steel screws. Fill the screw holes with wooden pegs.

Step 6: Assemble the Trellis

Move the trellis into its final position and make sure it's level. Use blocks of wood under the posts as needed to level the unit. For this project, the team dug a trench under one side of the trellis and braced the wood with a 4x4. Dry-fit the eave on top of the trellis, then attach it with wood glue and stainless steel screws.

level trellis in its final position

Step 7: Attach the Gate

Use hinges to attach the gate to the trellis. Make sure the trellis is level and plumb so the gate swings properly.

Step 8: Install the New Posts and Fence Sections

Determine the position for the new posts so that they line up with the fence and will support the arbor trellis. Dig new post holes, place the new posts in the holes and check for plumb and level. Add concrete to the holes to hold the posts in place. Attach stringers from the existing fence to the new posts. Cut the fence boards as needed for an attractive transition from the fence to the arbor trellis and attach the boards to the stringers.

attach stringers from existing fence to new posts



  • Arbor trellis kit from Wood Classics