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How to Repurpose Items Around Your Homestead

It’s time to think outside the pot …

How can one maximize their gardening space without tearing up the entire backyard? This has been a thought that has crossed my mind since moving into our small-town, 1930s home. 

Each and every spring, my husband and I have expanded our garden. First we started with a small patch where we grew tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers. The following year we added zucchini and potatoes to our growing garden. Then we added flowers, herbs and what I liked to call “toad town” — our crime fighting sidekick to keeping those pesky bugs from munching on our veggies. This year we wanted to grow more items but with less than half an acre of land, where we would we find the room? 

Revelation hit. Why not grow up instead of out? And thus the idea of a DIY garden trellis was born.

Matt and I decided we wanted a garden trellis to grow some veggies vertically. But also something that would double as a beautiful entrance to our garden. The thought of vining veggies like pole beans, flowers or cucumbers hanging over the garden entrance was a dream and I couldn’t wait to get started.

After much searching online, I discovered that purchasing a prebuilt trellis or arbor was not going to be cheap. So my DIY heart turned to the quest of building our own trellis with repurposed materials. I jumped onto Pinterest (my favorite spot for DIY inspiration) and stumbled upon countless creative trellis designs.

We decided to build the frame of the trellis using wooden ladders from our friends old barn. Their barn is full of of tons of history and a variety of treasures from decades gone by. I must enter at my own risk, as I feel like a kid in a candy shop — so much to touch and explore. My mind fills with project ideas and how to repurpose each and every item.

Self-control is important.

Or so I am told by my husband.

Repurposing the antique ladders into a garden trellis was simple and only took an afternoon to complete. First, we cut up the two barn ladders into 3 pieces. Two 78” pieces for the sides and one 36” for the top.

Using L brackets we attached the top piece to the sides. For extra support we added two angled braces (4 total) at the top of both the front and back of the trellis.

Once the frame was built, we stapled metal wire to the ladder. 

Finally, the trellis was inserted into our garden using metal stakes and a few zip ties.

We are thrilled with the way it turned out. The rustic trellis is a perfect addition to my favorite spot in our backyard. The project was fairly inexpensive due to repurposing materials.

Do you want to increase your gardening space? Learning how to build a garden trellis may seem intimidating but it’s only as complicated as you make it. Using scrap lumber, wooden ladders or old lattice work is a great way to save money and give an old piece a fresh, new purpose.


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