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Easy Garden Obelisk

Easy Garden Obelisk – a great and inexpensive DIY! This obelisk can be used in your garden for roses, sweet peas or even squash. Some call these Tuteurs but they are the same.

There is so many things you can use this easy garden obelisk for.  I have made an arbor from them for my Secret Garden. Last year I used it as a tomato cage, it worked great! Plus it was so much prettier than my wire support cages.  

Why do I call it easy?

Because unlike many of the obelisk plans I found online this one has no angle cuts yet looks great in the garden. It gets covered with vines, canes and other plants that steal the show and you don’t really notice how the obelisk is built.

I need fast and easy with my DIY’s and this fits the bill. What is so wonderful is anyone who can hold a screw gun can put this together.

Don’t have a saw? Many big box home improvement stores will cut the lumber for you.

Easy garden obelisk

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Just FYI: When we first built this the cost was just under $20 for materials. Building materials have shot up in price in 2021 and it may cost you more. Prices are relative to your locale as well.

Materials to build Obelisk

  • 8 8 ft 2 x 2’s (usually pine or fir)
  • 3 inch wood screws
  • Exterior wood glue

Obelisk Cut list

Legs 4 – 2 x 2’s @ 72 inches long

Rungs for ladders – 2 pieces each at:

  • 8 inches
  • 11 5/8″
  • 15 5/8″
  • 19 3/4″
  • 24″

Side rungs to attach ladders together 2 pieces each at:

  • 11″
  • 14 5/8″
  • 18 5/8″
  • 22 3/4″
  • 27″

There is a printable card below with the materials listed.

Please see this post for a alternate material for cross pieces and a nailing or screwing pattern to prevent ratcheting!

build an easy obelisk

Important: Pre-drill holes for screws. This will prevent splitting of the wood. Use a smear of wood glue at the juncture of each piece for added durability. Since this is an outdoor item it should be an exterior wood glue.

Build first side of obelisk like a ladder

Start by building the first “ladder”.
Lay 2 of the 72″ pieces on a flat table or surface. We used the edge of our makeshift table as a straight edge.

Measure up 6″ from the bottom of both legs (72″ pieces) for placement of the bottom rung or crosspiece.

build an easy obelisk

Since the legs are at an angle and the cross pieces are cut square only line up the top corner to the edge of the leg.

build an easy obelisk

Next fasten the top piece in placeStart (8 inch piece)

Starting with the bottom and top rung help stabilize this section.

build an easy obelisk

Note in the photo below how the rungs do not line up with the edge of the legs.

build an easy obelisk

Check for square.

To check for square you take measurements on the diagonal and adjusting the legs until the measurements match as closely as possible.

This adjusting is called racking. This means you push on the corner that has the longer dimension (if they don’t match already) by half the distance.

Example: If one side is 1/2″ longer push the corner a 1/4″ then remeasure (this is not an exact science but it will bring the obelisk closer to square). Keep racking until dimensions are equal or very close.

build an easy obelisk

Evenly space rungs

Attach the rest of the rungs evenly spacing them. (you could space them unevenly if you wished this is just how we did it)

To evenly space them measure from the bottom of the lowest rung to the top of the top rung.

Divide that measurement by 4 to get placement of the rest of the rungs.

This one the rungs needed to be 16 1/4″ apart. Mark the spots to attach each rung.

build an easy obelisk

The measurements from the bottom rung is 16 1/4″, 32 1/2″, 48 3/4″

Now the first ladder should be built

The second side or ladder is much faster to build since you use the first as a template.

Lay out the parts on top of the first built ladder and just put it together.

build an easy obelisk

Lay the legs on top of the first ladder legs then attach the rungs matching the first ones and the second ladder will be complete. (you do not have to be exact)

Build an Easy Obelisk

Attach the side rungs of obelisk

Lay the ladders on their sides. Attach the side rungs following the layout of the rungs on the ladder pieces.

Build an easy obelisk

This is where you will see why the side rungs are 3 inches longer than the ladder rungs. They overlap the ends of the ladder rungs covering their ends.

build an easy obelisk

Flip the entire thing over and attach the remaining rungs.

build an easy obelisk

Finishing touches

On this particular obelisk the top is on the larger side. I wanted this so I could put something up there, even a potted plant.

There is so many ways you could add a finishing touch here. Find or cut out a silhouette of your favorite farm animal, put a windmill on it, or find a weather vane to attach.

You can paint this any color you wish or stain it. I used an organic tung oil on some of mine and it really helps them hold up for years even though it is built out of cheaper wood.

We built this one over 5 years ago and it is still in fantastic shape.

DSC_0001-001
obelisk

When we built this the price of the 2 x 2s at 8 feet long was $2.30 each and that was 5 years ago so I really do need to find out what they run now.

Yield: 1

Easy DIY Garden Obelisk

Easy DIY Garden Obelisk
Prep Time 20 minutes
Active Time 2 hours
Additional Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 50 minutes
Estimated Cost $20

Materials

  • 8 – 8 ft 2 x 2’s (I think these are pine or fir)
  • 3 inch wood screws
  • exterior Wood Glue

Tools

  • Miter saw
  • Screw gun

Instructions

    Cut 4 - 2 x 2’s  @  72 inches long (legs)(you can adjust to height you wish)

    Rungs for ladders:

    2  @8 inches, 

    2  @11 5/8 inches, 

    2  @ 15 5/8 inches, 

    2  @19 3/4 inches,

    2 @ 24 inches

    Second set of rungs to attach ladders together: 

    2 @ 1 1 inches,

    2  @ 14 5/8 inches,

    2 @ 18 5/8 inches, 

    2 @ 22 3/4 inches, 

    2  @ 27 inches

    Lay 2 of the 72 inch pieces on a flat table.

    Measure up 6 inches from the bottom of both legs for placement of the bottom rung or crosspiece.

    Pre-drill holes for screws. This will prevent splitting. Fasten the rung to the legs (24 inch piece).

    Since the legs are at an angle and the cross pieces are cut square only line up the top corner to the edge of the leg.

    Start with the top (8 inch piece) and bottom rung to stabilize this section.

    Now attach your other cross pieces or rungs. Measure from the bottom of the bottom rung and the top of the top rung. Divide that measurement by 4 to get placements for the rungs. Ours were 16 1/4 inches apart.We marked the spots for each rung.

    The placements of the rungs  is from the bottom rung at 16 1/4”, 32 1/2” 48 3/4” Now you should have your first ladder built.

    Use the first one as a template. No measuring or figuring for the second ladder.

    Lay the ladders on their sides to attach the side rungs.

    This set of rungs are 3 inches longer than the ladder rungs, they will overlap the first set covering their ends.

    Repeat for the other side.

    Paint or finish with a protective oil/stain.

Notes

You can adjust the size as you wish.

Happy building!

Make sure you check out this super easy Arbor we built from this Obelisk Idea!

Want a downloadable pattern for the obelisk, just fill out this form to get access to all the Resource Library.

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Another obelisk design you will love!

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Dan

Monday 10th of May 2021

I saw this last night and couldn't wait to build them. I built four today. I changed the plans a bit. I made mine with the inside between the four corners was 2 foot 9 inches, that way I can put a tomato plant next to each post and keep them 24 inches apart. I love these!

Jules

Friday 5th of March 2021

I think this will work fantastically for my indeterminate tomatoes!!

I’m going to ask the hubster to modify it a bit with hinges to allow for easier storage. I hope it’s possible.

Thanks again for the idea 🤗

Pamela

Saturday 6th of March 2021

Make it foldable for storage is an excellent idea. Let me know how it goes!

Jules

Saturday 6th of June 2020

Thank you!! I built this last year and planted moonflowers around and in the middle of it. I've never built something out of wood before this! I got the lumber at our small town lumber yard and white paint & primer in one. My husband showed me how to use the "chop saw" and the drill and power screwdriver. I did it! It was perfect! I wanted to buy a climbing rose for it this year but money is too tight. Just came back to say thank you! ♥

Mike desBois

Sunday 24th of May 2020

Great project to build on a Sunday afternoon. Just finished building one;so easy. Just gotta find what color to paint. I see many more being build for the wife's garden.

Ann

Saturday 13th of October 2018

Have you ever built one to fit around the base of a tree? We plan to make one to add color and interest to the trunk of a very tall and boring palm tree! I plan to grow flowering vines on it .

Pamela

Saturday 13th of October 2018

No, I haven't. That sounds so interesting. I am sure it will be lovely once your vines fill out and bloom. Let me know how it goes for you.

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