My Dad shared a handful of his giant bean seeds at the end of the last growing season. We’ve been pretty excited about growing those beans in our own garden because his grew way over our heads and were loaded. I hoped to experience similarly here because plants of that magnitude are kind of cool for kids to cultivate.
To ensure that the beans could grow tall in our garden, I created what’s possibly the best, very low-cost trellis using PVC pipe, rebar, and jute twine. While I originally wrote the bean trellis tutorial for DIY Network (personal note for memories: this was my first piece of content outside of its blog), I wanted to recap this simple construction here. Not only is it substantial and tall, but it’s easy to make and it only cost $10. Also, it’s so strong that has never blown over! (Editor’s Update 2023: We use this PVC trellis every year and it is as strong and reliable as it was on Day 1.)
Climbing garden plants need a supportive trellis if you want them to grow to their maximum potential. This trellis can be built custom to suit the needs of many different plants. Customize it as you want, and grow plants up to 10 feet tall.
Materials You’ll Need:
- drill with a 3/8″ bit
- (3) 10’ PVC conduit piping
- 2” PVC clamp
- (3) rebar
- 100′ jute twine
- 1” bolts and nuts
Step 1: Measure Conduit Pipes
Lay three 10’ lengths of PVC conduit piping on the soft ground. Working from one end to the other, leave a dot of marker every 8 inches. Mark the same spot on each piece of PVC as you work down the line to guarantee that the holes will align once standing.
Step 2: Predrill Holes in the PVC
Use the drill to create 3/8” holes at each marker point. The drill bit should go through the entire width of the PVC and pop out the other side.
Step 3: Connect One End
Thread a length of wire through the last set of holes on all three pieces of PVC. This will help reinforce the three pieces together and stabilize the top of the trellis as you work.
Step 4: Set a Rebar Base
Determine how the legs of your tripod trellis will sit in your garden. Use a sledgehammer to install each of the pieces of rebar where the legs will rest.
I used 4’ pieces of rebar and forced them 2’ into the ground to be secure. The rebar pieces should tilt slightly at an angle to mimic how the lengths of PVC will splay to form the tripod.
Step 5: Bend the PVC in Place
Slide the piping onto the rebar. The PVC is flexible enough to bend onto the rebar, but has an elastic memory and will straighten again once in place.
Step 6: Thread Trellis Rails
Thread the jute twine through the holes at each predrilled tier, knotting and rethreading a new tier as you work up the trellis. Alternatively, use one long length and spiral the twine through the holes until you reach the tip. Thanks to your measured, predrilled holes, the rails of the trellis will be perfectly spaced.
This photo was taken several years after the original install, but it shows how I used string one year to assemble the trellis:
Step 7: Add Clamp at Top
Reinforce the top of the trellis with two conduit clamps together where the pipes. Use two bolts to connect the clamps together. Though the wire you initially added to connect the ends may hold on its own, adding the clamp to bind the connection will reinforce the structure.
Step 8: Plant Beans
Plant seeds or seedlings along the base of the trellis and watch them grow! At the end of the season, it lifts easily off the rebar and takes up minimal storage space. We have used it for many, many years.