Make Your Own Container Bentwood Trellis

A bit of pruning benefits trees and shrubs, and it yields a cache of free crafts supplies. Consider clipping twigs from dogwoods (with colorful bark), willows, grapes, apples, or pears, and convert the leftovers into art inspired by nature. The projects here take only a few twigs to create pretty focal points in pots.

Choose young, pliable twigs for container trellis projects—they should bend easily without snapping. Twigs are best used when freshly cut, no more than 24 hours before you assemble the trellis. Strip any little shoots and foliage off the twigs.

No two twigs are identical, and so neither will your bentwood trellises be. Use the pliable, individual nature of twigs to boost your creativity.

Not sure when to prune what?

Make a dogwood garden orb, too!

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  • Pliable twigs 
  • Pruning shears 
  • Small hammer 
  • Small wire nails 
  • Florist’s wire 
  • Small wire snips

Step 1

The twig you use for the main arch should be about 2½ times as long as you want the trellis to be tall. For example, for a 12-inch-tall trellis, start with a twig about 30 inches long. Bend it into an arch. Make sure the width of your arch fits the pot you’ll be using.

Give your terra-cotta pots a makeover.

Step 2

Cut two crosspieces; these will help the arch hold its shape. Lay the crosspieces in place on the arch. Drive small nails through the crosspieces and into the arch; if the nails are too long, bend them over. Twist pieces of florist’s wire around the nailed joints. This is necessary because the wood shrinks as it dries, and so the wires will keep the trellis tight if the nails fail.

Step 3

You may need to trim the crosspieces so they’re just a little wider than the arch.

Step 4

Now add a couple of decorative elements. For example, make a heart out of two pliable twigs. Then nail and wire the twig heart to the top of the trellis, letting the lobes of the heart stick up over the arch.

Tip: Put a small trellis to work as an accent. This trellis supports basil in a pot with parsley and chives.

How to Grow Basil

More Projects to Try

Do you still have leftover scraps from your annual pruning? We have a couple more DIY projects to make use of your cuttings:

Garden Orb

Twig Terrarium

Tabletop Woodland Garden

Willow Arbor

How to Design a Container Garden

How to Design a Container Garden