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Plant Ladder

Container gardening is increasingly popular for small properties and larger open gardens or decks. A raised planter provides a focal point and pleasant architectural relief.

Plant LadderThis trellis ladder combines the beauty and durability of cedar with copper rungs, that over time, will take on copper's weathered appearance. Perfect for the deck or to lean against a tree, the ladder's multi-tiered shelves allow for a combination of climbing or cascading plants. The height of the trellis is easily adapted to suit your requirements.

Here's How

  1. Begin the project by building the ladder first. Referring to the schematics, cut the two 2" x 4" side rails to length, and lay them side by side, flush at the ends. Mark the bottom and top angles, the centres of the drilled holes for the copper rungs, and the angled positions for the three shelf locations. Assume the two pieces are a mirrored image, and you will not drill holes from the the wrong side of the rails.
  2. Using a builder's saw (or equivalent), cut the top and bottom rail angles.
  3. Using a 1-1/8" forstner bit in a drill press or power drill, drill the eight holes for the copper rungs, to a depth of 1". Sand the rail pieces before proceeding.
  4. Cut the four copper rungs to a length of 16-1/2" and insert the rungs into the drilled holes. Using two straps, temporarily secure the two rail pieces together at both ends, leaving an inside measurement of 15".
  5. Build The Shelves:
    The three shelves have equal width, but vary in depth. Cut the bottom shelf side and bottom pieces to size. The back corners are mitered, and the front edge is mitered 45 degrees.
  6. Cut the 54" cedar shelf bottom to size (13-3/4" in length). Build the other two shelves the same way. Assemble the three shelves using outdoor wood glue and 2" galvanized finishing nails.
  7. Position the three shelves at the pre-marked positions on the inside of the rails, and secure with
  8. 1-1/2" deck screws and outdoor wood glue. Pre-drill screw holes with a combination countersink/drill bit.
  9. Remove the temporary slats, sand and finish your project.

What You'll Need


  • 2" x 4" x 8' cedar 2
  • 1" x 2-1/2" cedar 10 ft
  • 1" copper pipe 6 ft 3249-274 (12' length)
  • sandpaper 1230-938
  • 1-1/2" deck screws
  • 2" galvanized finishing nails 2134-835
  • outdoor wood glue 2020-850


Plant Ladder Plant Ladder
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