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How to Make a Goat Wire Fence Trellis

Completed goat wire trellises mounted to various raised beds

Goat wire fences are kinda the rage around Asheville at the moment. Trend or not, I personally enjoy the aesthetic. So why not build a goat wire trellis?! Craft Thyme tries to use similar materials for a lot of our builds so that everything in the outdoors has a more cohesive feel. In the last house it was a series of conduit structures. This one, well, Adam was kind enough to work with my goat wire obsession. We have lots of plans for the yard but are currently adding the goat wire in a series of trellises. I’m a big fan of growing food upwards in small urban environments and these DIY goat wire trellises are sturdy and perfect for everything from squash to grapes.

This build requires a few more tools than the usual, so I would rate this one intermediate. Not so much for the skill level, but mostly for the extra tools necessary.  As always be careful, don’t sue us, and build at your own risk! Affiliate links to follow.

Completed goat wire trellises mounted to various raised beds

Goat Wire Trellis Supplies

  • Goat Wire Fence Panel (4ft x 16ft)  You will need to get this from your local farm store (Think Southern States, Tractor Supply, etc).  The rolls of wire are impossible to get nice and flat.  Which is fine for a composting fence but not so great for a decorative trellis.
  • 2″ X 6″ or 2″X 4″ Lumber in lengths for your project. I discuss this more in step 1. Also if you want to get into that whole treated versus untreated controversy read the first few paragraphs of my How to Make Raised Garden Beds that Last.
  • 3″ Wood Screws
  • Waterproof wood glue (Or if you are forever forgetting supplies like us then regular gorilla glue works pretty well too)


Step 1 Deciding on Frame Size

In the supplies above you will note that I have two different wood sizes recommended. This is all because of proportion. We made some small goat wire trellises to replace some old ones that had been attached to the house. These looked nice with just plain 2X4 lumber. We also made some big honking trellises to go on the back of the aforementioned raised beds. Those were large and in charge and made with 2X6’s. Those large trellises also almost ended with a screaming match in the middle of the yard, but since neither of us decided we wanted to entertain the neighbors or get divorced we managed to remain civil and finally get the goat wire trellises in place. So you have been warned. The larger you make a goat wire trellis the more of a pain in the arse it becomes to install. THOUGH, we did actually work out a reasonable installation method by ginormous trellis #3.  You are welcome to skip our pain!

Now that your public service announcement and marriage saving tips are out of the way; plan out a simple box as follows.

You will have two long legs for installation. With the small goat wire trellises the legs just rested on the ground and attached the frame to the brick. With the larger ones we made extra long legs that were buried and screwed to the back of the raised beds.  You can see a back view below. Just remember to leave enough leg for your application!

Step 2 Time to Saw

We went to the trouble to miter cut the top board and side supports. Just a simple 45 degree miter looked a little more professional than a flat join. The bottom board fits flush on the inside of the side supports and does not need a miter.

Pro Tip: It is a little easier to create these goat wire trellises if you are a bit flexible in the finished interior height of the trellis not counting the legs. The wire will be set in channels and getting that wire set to an exact depth in the channels… Let’s just say even we weren’t silly enough to try that level of perfection.

Step 3 Channel Inner Peace or at least Channel your Wood

If you want the nice seamless finish that you see in these goat wire panels you are going to need to set them in channels in the wood. There are a few ways to make channels in wood but we opted for using the table saw. Even with the table saw there are two different was to make the channels. The first is the easiest and most expensive. It requires a dado blade. This blade is actually multiple blades you can set to create a channel in 1-2 passes. These are wonderful and also around $100! Though I did find one on Amazon for the 50ish range, but, I can not vouch for the quality. Since I don’t see a need to channel lots of wood in my life, and Adam didn’t see any immediate need to continue to channel after this project he opted to go the more labor intensive but cheaper method.

I heartily seconded his decision as I saw that as an extra $100 savings just asking to be spent on plants. I was informed math doesn’t work that way…

So how did Adam make the channels? Here is his description:

  1. Set the blade 1/4″ off center for the small width of your wood. You only need to set the height about 3/4″ inch deep to hold the goat wire.
  2. Run the board(s) down the entire length of wood
  3. Flip the board and run it down a second time.
  4. If you flipped it correctly you should now have a 1/2″ wide section in the center of your board. Now move your board slightly (1/8″ ish) in towards center. Run the board down, flip and repeat.
  5. Repeat step 4 if necessary.

After that you should have a 1/2″ channel in the center of your wood with lots of thin pieces of wood. Simply pull those out and break them off. I may have caught Adam using my old garden clippers and weeding tools to knock the wood bits out of the channel.

Ripping a channel in wood to make a slot for the goat wire fence

Step 4 Assemble Time!

You might notice that I haven’t had you cut the metal yet. There is a reason. it is a heck of a lot easier to adjust the goat wire panel than it is to reframe all the wood again. So let’s get to assembling! The small ones can be fully assembled on the ground. DO NOT try to assemble the large ones and then put them in place. Just don’t!  Recall marriage advice above step 1?

We made that mistake as you can see in the above framing picture. It broke and had to be reassembled in place. Feel free to dry fit it together and check to see if your channels are clear (seen in this smarter second attempt). Then do as we say and not as we did in the assembly.Test fitting the goat wire fence panel in the trellis frame

For both types of trellises start with your top bar and side bars. Line up your miter joints put in some glue and the angle screws into the wood. Next do the following:

Small Goat Wire Trellis

Now is time to cut the wire. We found it easier to measure the inside dimension and add 1 inch. Then you can lay the panel over the top of the wood and refine. Once cut, slide the wood into the channels. It is helpful to have two people to slide each side in but Adam manages to do the small ones with no help. I’m sure I was off eating bonbons or some such while he was making them.

Trimming the goat wire to fit in the channeled wooden frame.

After sliding the wire in, simply slide the bottom piece of wood into place and screw it in. Voila trellis done. We just installed by hammering masonry nails straight through the wood and into our brick..

Small goat wire trellis with muscadine grape

Large Goat Wire Trellis

After a lot of trial, error, and minor recriminations, we worked out the best method for installation of the larger trellises. Take your joined top and side supports and install them in place. You may be wondering how to get the goat wire into the trellis but trust us it works out just fine. Once you have your posts in place and the top leveled cut your wire to size. In the larger lengths it will bend enough in the middle that you will be able to slot the sides into the channels and then push it up to the top. It is super useful to have an assistant to hold the wire in place while someone else places the bottom board and screws it in.

Measuring goat wire to trim the panels to fit in the trellis frames

That’s it folks. With some wood, screws, a little glue, and a lot of patience you can have these very sturdy goat wire trellises. We have some muscadine grapes already headed up the small ones and have started training thornless blackberries up the largest one. The other side is holding some raspberry canes. Until I get the berries well established and I have some scarlet runner beans planted to add some color during the summer.

We love questions and comments! Please leave one below if you need any clarification from our tutorials.

Mounted goat wire trellis from the back
Back view of how we connected the trellis to the raised bed

How to build a trellis out of goat wire fence

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How to Make a Garden Trellis

I always admired a garden trellis covered in beautiful flowering vines behind the mailbox.  At my previous house the mailbox was actually located on the neighbor’s property so I was never able to fulfill my garden trellis dreams.  Since we have a blasted landscape of barren nothingness at the new house it seemed appropriate to try for that garden trellis.  However, a nice trellis is not exactly cheap.  In comes the DIY partner with a quick and cheap fix.

I thought it would be nice to mimic the porch railings, especially since we were planning a similar treatment around the god-awful transformer (fodder for another post).  After poorly describing, gesticulating, and finally kind of just pointing we were able to figure out a simple trellis design for the total project cost of $11.74! That is on par with the crappy wooden trellises at big box stores.  Ours was actually cheaper because we had some left over materials from recently constructed garden beds.

Inexpensive DIY Garden Trellis

Easy conduit garden trellis tutorial


I had the construction manager, aka. Adam, send me the stats.  That is why there is such a nice cohesive breakdown of materials.  Not like my usual dash of this, smattering of that…

  • Metal Conduit: 2 – 10′ x 1/2″  (produced 10 total pieces cut to 22.5″ lengths).  Unit cost: $2.30.  Total cost: $4.60
  • Treated Lumber: (this is not going near our food producing garden beds, so treated lumber it is!) 2 – 2″ x 4″ x 8′  (4 cuts – 2 @ 6′, 2 @ 21″) Unit Cost: $3.57.  Total cost: $7.14
  • Drill
  • Drill Bit: 3/4″ (The conduit is measured by the inside so the outside is actually larger than 1/2″), and phillips-head that fits the screws
  • Exterior Wood Screws:  we used 8 – 2-1/2″ but any one that will go through the thickness of the 2″X4″ will work

Total Material Cost $11.74


 Step 1: A Cut Above

Make all the above cuts.  They are simple straight cuts.  NOW that being said, I personally, suggest getting whatever home improvement store you buy the conduit and wood from to make those cuts.  I will not even discuss how ours came to be cut (though I sometimes wonder about other un-named person’s common sense) for fear of getting sued by someone stupid enough to try that at home.  In fact use absolute caution when cutting any material.  Do not come crying to me if you end up losing an eye or finger.  I always prefer to pay the .25 for extra cuts at the home improvement store.  Makes it easier to transport in a small car and no one has to lose a digit in the process.

Step 2: Drill Team

Time to put the drill to use.  Take the long sides of the trellis.  Measure the distance from the top of the board to the thickness of your 2″X4″.  This is not going to be exactly 2 inches.  Make a mark as that is where you will join the two sides.  Then measure 6 inches down the entire length of the board for 11 places (This should result in 12 marks) Drill holes in marks 2-11. Mark 1 and Mark 12 are where you will place the crossbeams (short cuts of wood).  Make sure to drill only 1/4″-1/2″ into the thickness of the wood.  You ware not going to want to have an unsightly hole on the outside.   If you want longer posts to bury in the ground so that you can see the bottom crossbeam (we buried ours) you could space them every 5-5.5″ instead.

CAREFULLY repeat the same process on the other side.  If these do not match up then the join will result in a wonky, non-right angle, trellis.

garden trellis inprogress

drilling holes in garden trellis
Here is another view to see what we are trying to achieve by drilling

Step 3: Teamwork

Place all of your conduit in one side of the wood.  Get a partner to help you carefully match up the other side.  Cuss a bit as conduit fails to easily slide into place, drop some conduit on the ground, make a minor adjustment and have to start the whole fitting together from scratch.  Have your partner leave disgusted at being chastised for their inability to line things up properly.  Complete the line up and fit in one of the cross braces at the top and bottom.  Take your wood screws and place two on either side of the wood (8 attachments total).  Make sure to keep the wood at a 90 degree angle.  While it will still be a little shakey until you bury the post bottoms this ensures a better join.

joining the trellis crossbeams
Joining the garden trellis crossbeams

Step 4: Dig time

Step back and admire your handiwork.  Potentially on such a lovely back drop as your trashcans.  Then start digging a hole to place the trellis in.  In our case that means cutting through hardpacked red clay, seeded with the most god-awful collection of rocks.  You can potentially argue some more over whether your partner is holding their post straight as you backfill the dirt in OR also about whether the entire trellis is  even centered around the mailbox.


Check that out! And you can also get a good view of my trashcans and wrecked car (another story)

Once all parties are satisfied with the placement truly stand back and enjoy!  Now we just have to find the perfect vine… Suggestions?