Multilevel DIY Garden Trellis to Maximize Your Small Space

DIY garden trellis for tomatoes, squash and more. Maximize your garden space with three levels of plants and herbs.

We built our raised garden bed several years ago and every year the tomatoes grow out of control! By July the circular wire tomato cages are overflowing was we try to weave what we can along the rope for our deck railing.

The effort made was not enough and so this year we decided to build our own DIY garden trellis. This backyard project evolved as we were building it and before we knew it, it turned into a multilevel garden trellis with herb shelf and privacy screen!

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The project went a little rogue but I’m so glad it did. After three trips to the home improvement store this creation was complete, and it came with a bonus of acting like a privacy screen from our neighbors in the subdivision.

Table of Contents:

This is our own personal experience. Be sure to seek professional guidance, follow manufacture instructions, practice tool safety and measure to your own trellis needs.



  • 12- 2″x2″x8′
  • String
  • 16+ small eye hooks
  • 2 ½ inch exterior screws


We originally were going to use 2″x4″s for a simple garden trellis but I was concerned they were going to look too big and bulky next to our deck, and my husband was concerned that 2″x2″s were going to be too weak for our needs.

*Note- I’m happy to say that 2″x2″s were completely strong enough for this project, especially since we are using the deck railing as additional support.

DIY Garden trellis for tomatoes.
Added herb shelf to our garden trellis.


Since our raised garden bed has a lip along the sides, we needed to cut part of that lip for our 2″x2″ supports to sit flush with the garden box.

For this we used an oscillating tool but you can also use a Jig Saw.

Flower bed with wire tomato cages.
Cutting a space out of our planter box to add a trellis.


Next we built the trellis frame and attached it to the garden box and the top support using 2 ½ inch exterior screws. Making sure everything was level as we went along.

*Note- If your garden box is on a slight slope, you may need to shave a bit off of one support to make each side level.

Screwing our trellis frame together.
Adding a center support beam to our trellis.

As we were deciding how high we wanted this DIY trellis to extend, we noticed how much more privacy it could add from our neighbors.

It was at this point we decided to keep the 8 foot height of the trellis and add additional supports, hanging baskets, and a shelf for an herb garden.


We cut to length one 2″x2″ and attached it under the deck railing, and onto the trellis, in three different areas. Then we added an additional cross beam for more support and to act as a shelf for our herb garden.

Make sure everything is square and level.
Frame with start of herb shelf.

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The span between our trellis frame and deck railing is 13 inches wide. So we purchased 6 additional 2″x2″x8’s, for a total of 7, to make up the shelf. We spaced them approximate ½ inch apart from one another to allow water to flow through the grates as we watered the plants.

Making the herb shelf with slates for water to drain through.
Potted herbs along the newly built trellis shelf.


Back at the garden bed we attached eye hooks every 6 inches on both ends of the frame. We skipped the middle post and chose to wrap the string around the post before reaching the other side of the garden bed.

However, we found it easier not to end the string here, but to slip the string into the eye hook and continue up and down each row until finally we tired it off at the bottom corner.

Eye hooks and string to create a trellis for the tomatoes to climb up.
Tomatoes weaving in and out of the string.

We added additional string vertically from the top of the herb shelf to the bottom horizontal string. Wrapping the string around each cross section and tying it off at the bottom.

This will allow our tomatoes to be able to weave in and out of the string and trellis for the extra support they need.


Inadvertently, we created a privacy screen with our hanging flower baskets. It was a nice little surprise once we saw the potential and decided on some flowers and two hanging strawberry baskets. Of course the wall isn’t perfect, but it’s a nice touch of beauty and privacy.

Railing with no trellis showing our neighbors backyard.
Newly built trellis with hanging baskets for privacy wall.


This simple little project was only supposed to be a trellis for our tomatoes. But with a little creativity we were able to triple our garden space and add so much beauty to this area that used to be an after thought.

Of course this design works so well because our deck is only about 18 inches off the ground and our raised garden bed just happed to be along the side of the deck.

Finished DIY garden trellis with multi level use.


  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Carrots
  • Leafy Greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Spinach & Beets
  • Peas & Beans
  • Radishes & More!

Potted Herb Ideas

  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Tarragon
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Thyme, Rosemary & More!

I hope you enjoyed this DIY garden trellis idea and we’ll see you on our next project.


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