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DIY Metal Trellis Plans: How to Make a Garden Trellis from Copper Pipe

Anthony enjoys spending time in the workshop, the kitchen, the garden and out fishing. Many of his projects are featured in his yard.

Copper Pipe Garden Trellis Plans

Copper Pipe Garden Trellis Plans

This Attractive Metal Garden Arbor is Easy to Make from Common Copper Pipe and Fittings

Using copper pipe to make a metal trellis: An arbor creates a dramatic entrance to garden, and there are a wide variety of garden arbors available in many styles and materials. From simple wooden structures to elaborate wrought iron and gated entrances, there is a garden trellis to suit nearly every situation and budget.

The entrance to our garden is framed with an aging wooden arbor that I made several years ago. The old trellis has seen better days, and it is slowly collapsing under the weight of Clematis vine. Rather than building another arbor out of wood, I designed new metal trellis plans using copper pipe. The new metal garden arbor will be a focal point in our landscape, offering both a year-round decorative element while providing support for climbing roses and flowering vines.

The new metal trellis uses thin-walled copper pipe that is readily available at home centers, cuts easily with an inexpensive pipe cutting tool and can be assembled in just a few hours using solder or epoxy glue. Over time, the shiny copper finish weathers naturally into the warm patina of aged copper.

With the sky-rocketing price of copper, reusing old and salvaged copper pipe is the ideal material for making this metal garden trellis. Scrap and salvage yards offer old copper pipe at a fraction of the cost of new materials and since the pipe will not be used for plumbing, it doesn't matter if the old pipe has a few leaks.

The dimensions in this trellis plans are sized to fit the entrance way to my garden, and can be modified easily for your garden: simply change the dimensions of the copper pipe to make a garden arbor to fit your needs.

How to Make a Metal Trellis Using Copper Pipe

Things You Need:

  • 3/4" Copper Pipe and Fittings
  • Pipe cutter
  • Epoxy or soldering materials

Cut the copper pipe into 24" lengths. Clean the ends of each section and the insides of each fitting before assembling with either solder or two part epoxy. All of the connection points must be cleaned before soldering or gluing to ensure a strong bond. A wire brush, emery paper or fine grit sandpaper works well to prepare the copper fittings before assembly.

Assemble the garden arbor in sections. Start by dry fitting one of the side sections of the arbor on a large flat surface, using just the six tee connectors and the eleven 24" lengths of copper as shown in the diagram. When satisfied with the layout and fit, use the epoxy or solder, flux and torch to bond each of the connection points permanently. The finished section will resemble a short ladder and lay flat.

Check the assembled section for square by measuring across the diagonal, top to bottom in both directions (the measure should be the same) or use a framing square. Repeat the assembly process with the second side of the arbor, and then again with the left and right roof sections, using just the tee connectors

Use the 90-degree pipe fittings to connect the left and right roof sections. Then, use the 22 degree fittings to connect the roof sections to the side assemblies to form the garden arbor.Trim the three non-structural copper cross members to fit snugly between the 90-degree fittings at the apex of the arbor, and between each of the 22 degree fittings on the side sections. Small screws, drilled and screwed into the inside corners of the bent fittings, will help to hold the cross members in place.

Press the lower sections of each side section 12" deep into the ground to stabilize the garden arbor. Built as show in the diagram, the sides of the garden arbor are approximately 7' high with the apex of the structure about 8 ' tall, depending how deeply the lower sections are pressed into the ground.To adjust the size of the metal arbor, simply modify the length of the pipe sections.

Copper Metal Trellis Plans

DIY Copper Pipe Garden Trellis Plans

DIY Copper Pipe Garden Trellis Plans

Tips for Soldering A Copper Metal Garden Trellis

Do You have an Arbor in Your Garden?

The Rolling Ball Metal Sculpture

This interesting and elaborate metal sculpture isn't made from copper pipe and it certainly isn't a garden trellis, but it is very cool. The artist spent a considerable amount of time designing and building his sculpture, and I can only imagine how much effort it took to troubleshoot and tweak the performance. The result is impressive and inspiring!

Rolling Ball Sculpture

© 2011 Anthony Altorenna

Tell Us About Your Garden Arbors

Cynthia Zirkwitz from Vancouver Island, Canada on May 17, 2015:

Dear Anthony-

I love your elegant design for a copper arbour. I like the idea of re-purposing the old pipe. Thankyou for sharing- I am sharing also.

-Cynthia

Anthony Altorenna (author) from Connecticut on March 04, 2013:

@anonymous: The price of copper piping has skyrocketed lately, driving up the costs for this project. The local home improvement store sells 10 foot sections of copper pipe for about $1.25 per foot, so the cost is around $100. An alternative is to use salvaged copper pipe.

anonymous on March 03, 2013:

wow great idea but I only got thru the first 32 pieces of 2' pipe and It's already up to $126 - I stopped calculating there because I'm sure it's way over $225.

Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on July 02, 2012:

You always make everything sound so easy and provide great illustrated and annotated instructions. I would love to build one of these. Maybe one day.

pawpaw911 on June 27, 2012:

I never thought of making one out of copper pipe, but it sounds like a pretty cool idea. When my life slows down a little, I might have to give this one a try. We have a manufactured one that we enjoy, but a DIY one would be better.

Lorelei Cohen from Canada on June 18, 2012:

I think that garden arbors are so very beautiful. When I lived in the country I had a natural arch of trees that formed over an old highway that was part of our property. Garden arches are so very romantically lovely especially when they are covered with natural growth.

anonymous on June 04, 2012:

I'm wondering what your cost savings on your DIY metal garden arbor is, copper has a special beauty as it ages for sure and I'm sure your clematis is on a happy climb! I just like this idea so much, an arbor add such a special touch and even more so when you've made it yourself and customized it to your needs.

Shedbuilder on April 20, 2012:

Nice idea, have to see if I can find the time to build one.

williammdavis on April 17, 2012:

I agree a plan is must required there.

anonymous on April 12, 2012:

I'm wondering what kind of roses and climbing vines you chose for your metal garden arbor, perhaps we'll have a picture of it this season.

anonymous on December 03, 2011:

Your metal garden arbor will certainly make a wonderful statement as winter garden feature, just had to come back to bless it!

anonymous on September 13, 2011:

Anthony if I ever have my own yard again, I will come to your lenses to make myself a dream come true yard. Once again great DIY directions for a perfect outcome.

punkgrinder on September 05, 2011:

Really Helpful Lens Anthony, thumbs up!