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How to make your own DIY Wooden Garden Obelisk

This easy-to-make wooden obelisk will look really nice in your garden. First of all, I must tell you that I am by no means a professional carpenter or woodworker. So if I can build this, you can too.  I’m including step-by-step directions and a diagram so that you can make one too at very little cost.

Back in January, I was browsing through the How-To books in Lowe’s and spotted an obelisk. I had seen these around but had no idea it had such a fancy name. By definition, an obelisk is a tall, 4 sided, narrow, tapering structure which ends in a pyramid-like shape at the top.  I’m just going to call it a wooden trellis that you can grow things on in the garden.

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four 2″x 2″x 8′ pieces of treated wood

three 2″x 1″x the 1 last update 2020/05/31 8′ pieces of treated woodthree 2″x 1″x 8′ pieces of treated wood

1 small box of 2″ coated deck screws

drill and bit

power or hand saw

tape the 1 last update 2020/05/31 measuretape measure

pencil

a long work bench or 2 sawbucks

 

Cut the 2″x 1″ slats into the following lengths:

four the 1 last update 2020/05/31 22″ piecesfour 22″ pieces

four 18 1/2″ pieces

four 14 the 1 last update 2020/05/31 1/2″ piecesfour 14 1/2″ pieces

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for four 11″ pieces

Next, drill a small hole 1/2 inch from both ends of each piece. This will keep the wood from splitting when you insert the screws later. Lay down two of the 2″x 2″x 8′  pieces on your work space, placing them into a pyramid shape. Next, screw a 22″slat 12 inches up from the bottom on both sides. Then, screw a 18 1/2″ slat up 15 inches up from where you put the first slat. The 14 1/2″ will go up 15 inches from that one, and the 11″ slat will go up 15 inches also.

Click HERE to download and print the diagram.

While you’re screwing in these side slats, it’s important to have someone hold the top of the pyramid together. When you have this completed, you have one side of your obelisk built. Set it aside and build one more just like it.

After you have two sides, stand them up,have someone hold the tops together, and screw in the remaining slats.  You will now have a 4 sided structure.

As you can see in this photo, I experimented with different ways to make the obelisk more sturdy. I doubled the 2″x 2″s and later I built another one using 2″ x4″s. But really the 2″x 2″s work just fine.

To finish off the top, I chose to just trim it out with four small pieces of the 2″x 1″ slats. I put this old birdhouse on the top just to get an idea of what I wanted to do. You may want to put a decorative finial on the top, but we’re going to put birdhouses on the top of ours.

 

You may choose to leave them a natural wood color, but we decided to paint ours to add some more color to the garden.

First, we put a coat of a good quality exterior latex primer on them. After all, I don’t want to have to be painting these things every year since painting is one of my least favorite things.

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for We chose to paint them what has become Cottage at the Crossroads signature shade of green (Bella Mint by Valspar.) We’ve painted our Adirondack chairs, an arbor, picnic table, and some exterior doors this same shade of green. I’m planning on planting an indeterminate cherry tomato under this one because they can get very tall.

I got a little carried away and built four of them and had to decide where to place them in the garden. I think we’ll plant some pole beans under two of them and perhaps a flowering vine under one. I’ll leave that monumental decision up to my full time decorator, Jane!

This year, we’re concentrating on not only having a fully productive vegetable garden but an attractive sanctuary as well.  You know, a place to enjoy the great outdoors with a glass of wine.

You may want to choose how you’re going the 1 last update 2020/05/31 to anchor the obelisk. I bought some stakes at Lowe’s. Jane and I are now shopping for some attractive birdhouses. Stay tuned to this blog to see the finished product which will include the birdhouses and the climbing plants.You may want to choose how you’re going to anchor the obelisk. I bought some stakes at Lowe’s. Jane and I are now shopping for some attractive birdhouses. Stay tuned to this blog to see the finished product which will include the birdhouses and the climbing plants.

If you decide to build an obelisk, let me know how it turns out.

Update: This post has been updated to correct a mistake made in the original materials list. We apologize for any inconvenience.

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Comments

  1. Denise says

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Had bookmarked your site almost a year ago and just went back to it today. My husband loves your plans and we’re heading to Lowe’s/Menard’s this afternoon to buy supplies for a 10 ft obelisk for my clematis to grow on around our martin house. Other trellises we’ve tried to purchase have been too short, too easy to tip over (my clematis vines have done well since the tornado destroyed our home & yard 2 years ago). Will let you know how it turns out! Thank you for the DIY directions and photos.

  2. Elizabeth Agler says

    I realize this is an old post, but I wanted to say thank you! My 12 year old son and I followed these directions for a wonderful obelisk that we painted purple and nailed a propeller at the top- I couldn’t be happier. The instructions were super easy and straightforward! I wish I could post a picture but I need instructions for that too!! Thanks again!

  3. Jordan says

    As noted by others below, you’ll need more than 2 boards for the rungs. Also, the upper two rungs probably need to move up the ladder a bit to for just right. I cut my height at 6ft and put 8″ rungs at the top.

  4. Bonnie says

    This pattern is great and super easy! I made 3 tonight for my climbing plants. I adjusted the pattern for the smaller ones as we built an 8′, 6′ and 4’….they turned out perfect!! I also used pressure treated wood as they’ll be covered in vine – so a little extra cost but not too steep. Thanks for sharing the pattern and pics! 🙂

  5. Lois Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for for 1 last update 2020/05/31 sayssays

    Absolutely love these and I am pinning them to show my husband! Already thinking about where to put mine before they are already built. Thanks for sharing such lovely pics. Love your home and farm.

  6. the 1 last update 2020/05/31 KirstiKirsti says

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for

    So inspired, and looking forwars to make these wooden obelisks for my garden her in Norway. Great to get detailed DIY instructions. Guess i will not see the same abundance of flowers You get, in”my” climate, but still…

  7. Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Sheree says

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for

    I love your Obelisks! So much so that I am building two of them tonight. I love your plans – very straight forward, very easy to build. But I have a question: Unless I missed something, the horizontal cross supports compbined, total 264 inches. In the instructions, it states that I only needed 2 -1″ x 2″ x 8′ long pressure treated wood to build one Obelisk. Two 8′ long pieces totals only 192″. Fortunately for me, I have a pile of scrape – enough to cut the 4 – 14.5″ and 4 – 11″ pieces. Am I not thinking straight?

  8. Kathy says

    I love this project and appreciate the detailed instructions, diagram and wonderful pics. I noticed your comment about anchoring the garden obelisk, but I would love some additional info on how to do that. We get some ferocious thunderstorms and would hate to find it in my neighbor’s yard after a big wind. Thank you again, Kathy

    • Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Leo Windham for 1 last update 2020/05/31 sayssays

      Hi Kathy,
      I bought two foot metal stakes at Lowes. The stakes have a hole in them Kind of like a sewing needle. I used clothes line wire to tie to the obelisk after I drove them into the ground. So far they haven’t blown over. Thanks for stopping by the Crossroads.

    • Sheree says

      I am in the process of building 2 of Leo’s Obelisks. To anchor them so they don’t blow over (we get heavy storms in Florida), I am setting each leg in a Folgers Coffee container – plastic, and then filling each container with concrete. I will then set them into the ground. A bag of Quickcrete is only about $3.00 and containers are free. Well worth not having my Obelisks blow over! Hope this helps.

  9. Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Martin Peach says

    Have just discovered your website while researching obelisks for my newly designed garden. Am most grateful for your directions and diagram. Haven’t got to the build yet, but like Mike Baker, I found at the planning stage that your two 2″ x 1″ timbers need in fact to be 11 feet in length and not 8 feet as per your directions. I shall now order the wood to build two obelisks, one for winter/spring clematis, the other summer varieties. Both will also support roses.
    Best wishes
    Martin Peach
    Surrey, England

  10. Susan Currie says

    Just love it, I have large flower gardens and am running out of places to put my climbers, now I know what I will do thanks for the easy instructions keep up the good work.

  11. Mike Baker says

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for

    Thanks for inspiring me to do this project. I am not quite finished, but wanted to let you know your list is off by one 1×2. I got the four 2×2’s and two 1×2 painted and was getting ready to cut the 1×2’s to assemble the Trellis and realized that I did not have enough.
    Just thought you would want to know.
    Yours look great and I like your site.
    Mike

  12. Pamela S. Scruggs says

    my 19 year old cat went to glory this morning and I was looking at home talk to get my mind off of it and came across your blog I think it is only fitting that I will build an obelisk in my garden in honor of Lillian. I truly believe that the Lord puts things in your path for a reason thank you for the step-by-step instructions I’m going to use this day to do this project and it will soothe my soul to have a forever memory piece in my garden in honor of my furry friend.

  13. Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Anika Ferguson says

    I have been collecting and repainting eclectic bird houses and wishing I had trees or a good place to our them! I am definitely making one or two of these for the garden! Thank you!

  14. Mona says

    Hi..
    Your garden is so gorgeous!! and I love the obelisks… I really, really love your garden area…so I am now following you so I can keep up…
    Love, Mona
    I am an avid gardener too so this is right up my alley…

  15. Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Mary Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for for 1 last update 2020/05/31 sayssays

    Oh I love the green color of your obelisks and the bird house perched on top! Gardening with a glass of wine in hand is my kind of gardening 🙂

  16. Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Linda says Linda says

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Thank you so much for these easy to follow instructions. Our local OSH store has some obelisks that are selling for $60 – $80 and they are not even as tall as yours! Also, great idea putting bird houses on top.

  17. Jean Windham the 1 last update 2020/05/31 sayssays

    Leo, you are becoming a real handyman down there in Windham’s Crossroads. I think the obelisks (wooden trellis) are really pretty and add alot to the beauty of the garden. Great job. Now you keep up the good work. Jean

  18. tonia conner says tonia conner says

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for I love your garden place period. We are just starting ours. I would like some raised beds. and the obelisks would look great in between for beans and maybe squash? I’m looking for directions for the beds now. If I get the obelisks done this year I will post and tell where I got the directions. In fact I would like to go ahead and have you share it on my blog if I can figure out how to do it. If it’s alright with you. Or does that have to be done on your end. Just please get back with me.
    Blessings,
    T.

  19. Cheryl says

    Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for

    Thank you for your easy to understand directions. I think I can do it! Love your blog!!

  20. Dolly SarrioDolly Sarrio says

    Leo,
    I love those. I’m sure I’ll see them when I pass by. For those of you that don’t have the chance to see Jane and Leo’s place it is so cute! I love everything about it. They both have green thumbs. Can’t wait to see these. Good Job!

  21. Chuck for 1 last update 2020/05/31 Stogner says Chuck Stogner says

    Leo,
    Unless I am missing something, you might want to post a couple changes to the materials list:
    1. I would think 2″ deck screws would be a bit long and tend to hit each other. 1 5/8″ would probably
    work better
    2. The number of 8 foot 1x2x8’s should be increased to three for each obelisk. If you add the cross
    member parts together they equal 66 inches or 5.5 feet. Multiply that by 4 sides and that equals 22
    feet or three eight foot sections per obelisk.

  22. Chuck Stogner says

    Leo,

    The photos show some slats at the top to hold the top together. Are those 1 x 2 as well? Your description and parts list did not list these.

Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for Trackbacks

  1. Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for […] DIY Wooden Garden Obelisk […]

  2. Woodworking Planshow to Woodworking Plans for […] friend Leo shows how easy it is to make your own garden obelisk and has a row of them in his amazing for 1 last update 2020/05/31 veggie […][…] friend Leo shows how easy it is to make your own garden obelisk and has a row of them in his amazing veggie […]

  3. […] Here’s one of the new things we’ve added to our garden this year. It’s called an obelisk and makes a great support for an indeterminate tomato plant. You can get the directions on how to make the 1 last update 2020/05/31 your own in my post DIY Wooden Garden Obelisk. […][…] Here’s one of the new things we’ve added to our garden this year. It’s called an obelisk and makes a great support for an indeterminate tomato plant. You can get the directions on how to make your own in my post DIY Wooden Garden Obelisk. […]

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