Upcycled Garden Tool Fan Trellis

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A vegetable garden doesn’t have to be purely functional — it can be beautiful, too! Vertical gardening is all the rage right now, and it’s one of the best ways to add unique character and charm to your vegetable garden.

Upcycled Garden Tool Fan Trellis

A fan trellis is a timeless and classic design that adds form and function to the garden. You can use a wide variety of materials to build a fan trellis, but why not choose gardening tools? This upcycled garden tool trellis puts a fun spin on the classic fan trellis design. Not only is it an adorable addition to any garden, but it’s a great conversation starter, as well.

This project gives rusty or broken gardening tools new life. You can use any type of long-handled garden tools you want. Use old hoes, rakes, shovels — whatever you have available. Inexpensive garden tools are easy to find at yard sales, antique markets, and local thrift stores.

As the crossbars of this project, I like the look of round wooden extension poles because they mimic the shape of the handles on the garden tools, and they can be found at any home improvement store. It won’t take long for the wood to age and blend right in with the aged look of the garden tool handles. Alternatively, you could use broken handles from other old garden tools as the crossbars.

Tools & Materials:

  • Long, wooden-handled garden tools of your choice (3)
  • 1/4-by-3 inch machine screws with nuts (9)
  • 60-inch wooden extension poles or upcycled garden tool handles (2)
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Circular saw or handsaw
  • Pliers
  • Pencil
  • Eye and ear protection
  • Work gloves

Cut List:

  • Top crossbar: One wooden extension pole cut to 34 inches
  • Center crossbar: One wooden extension pole cut to 28-1/2 inches
  • Bottom crossbar: One wooden extension pole cut to 23 inches

Note: Depending on the types of gardening tools you use, you may need to make your crossbars longer or shorter. I cut mine to allow a 3 inch extension on both sides of the trellis.

Building Instructions

Step 1: Before cutting the crossbars, lay out your trellis pattern on the ground. Space the tools evenly, and then measure the space between them to determine the exact length of the crossbars. Cut the crossbars.

Step 2: Lay out your trellis pattern again, this time placing the garden tools over the top of the crossbars. Mark the three places on each tool handle where it overlaps one of the crossbars. This is where you’ll drill the pilot holes for the bolts.

Step 3: Drill pilot holes at each point you marked in Step 2. Each hole should be drilled all the way through both the tool handle and the crossbar.

Step 4: Drive the bolts through the pilot holes so they go all the way through both the tool handle and the crossbar. At this point, the trellis will be very loosely attached together.

Step 5: Carefully turn the trellis over, and hand-tighten one nut onto the end of each of the bolts. Ensure the trellis is straight, and then use the pliers to tighten each of the bolts until the trellis is completely secure.

Why Use Wood Glue?

Wood glue is a very strong adhesive that works great for gluing pieces of wood together. However, for any weight-bearing woodworking projects, wood glue alone isn’t strong enough to attach the wood permanently. But adding wood glue before driving in the screws or adding extra support makes the bond much stronger, so your project will last for years to come.

This project is reprinted with permission from Vertical Vegetables: Simple Projects that Deliver More Yield in Less Space by Amy Andrychowicz, published by Cool Springs Press, 2018.

Vertical Gardening

In Vertical Vegetables, author Amy Andrychowicz shows you a thing or two about growing up. Gardening vertically, that is. With practical principles and the incisive background information you’ll need to start, Andrychowicz shows you how to build nearly two dozen growing structures, including trellises, arbors, archways, wall pockets, towers, and more. Order from the Capper’s Farmer Store or by calling 800-234-3368.