DIY: Window Box Trellis

Build a trellis to give air plants the breeze they need and fill the planter with eye-catching, colorful bromeliads. 

By Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit

March 2018

window box garden

How to Window Box: Small-Space Plants to Grow Indoors or Out (Clarkson Potter, 2018), by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit teaches readers how to build the right window box to fit their individual needs. The window boxes vary from low water and light to high water and light. Grow a convenient window box full of lettuce for easy chopping or a box with detoxifying plants to clean the air they are in. This excerpt is located in, “Customize Your Box.”

Add a Trellis

diy trellis with tropical bromeliads 

For plant suggestions see: DIY: Tropical Island Bromeliad Trellis

You Will Need
• Transparent ruler
• Two 5/8 × 5/8-inch square wood dowels for posts cut to 20 inches (or desired height)
• Five 3/4 × 1/4-inch horizontal trellis slats cut to the outside width of the window box (see Tip)
• Tape measure
• Framing square (optional)
• Two 5/8 × 5/8-inch square wood dowels for support strips cut to about 10 inches
• Wood glue
• 2 concrete blocks or other flat heavy objects
• 120-grit sandpaper and paint, oil, or beeswax, as desired
• Drill with 1/8-inch drill bit
• Two #6 × 11/4-inch screws
• Screwdriver
• One wood strip cut to the distance between posts for a spacer (optional)


Look for screen molding at your local hardware store, and feel free to change up the dimensions of the slats depending on material availability and your aesthetic.


1. Using a transparent ruler, mark slat guidelines on the upright posts: there should be 1 inch of space between the slats.

build a trellis wall

2. On a flat surface (add paper for protection from the glue) loosely arrange the trellis. Using a tape measure or a framing square, space the upright posts parallel to each other so that the inner edge distance is equal to the outer edges of the window box end panels. Place the support strips at about 8 inches inside of the upright posts.

3. Apply beads of glue at the markings on the upright posts. Place the hori­zontal slats across the upright posts on the glue and across the support strips. Ensure the slats are perpendicular to the posts while the glue is still wet; for best results, use a framing square and a wood strip as a spacer.

glue trellis

framing square for trellis edge 

4. Carefully place the concrete blocks over the slats to add pressure while the glue dries for at least 24 hours. Once the glue has dried, sand and apply paint, oil, or beeswax to preserve the wood.

apply pressure to diy trellis

5. Attach the trellis to the back edge of the end panels, 2 inches from the top of the window box, with the screws; predrill the posts with the ⅛-inch diameter drill bit so that the wood does not split when fastening the screws.

planter box with trellis diy

More from How to Window Box: Small-Space Plants to Grow Indoors or Out:

Window Box Salad Garden

Reprinted from How to Window Box: Small-Space Plants to Grow Indoors or Out. Copyright © 2018 by Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit. Photographs by Ryan Benoit. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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