I’m a simple gal.
I mean, here on the homestead we raise chickens for eggs and meat, goats for milk, and sheep for milk and meat. We have a large vegetable garden, pecan, pomelo, mango, banana, cherry, almond, apricot, peach, plum, fig, avocado, and loquat trees as well as a strawberry patch and blueberry and blackberry bushes. I also have plans to build a natural living pond/pool. But yeah, I’m pretty low maintenance.
Hear me out, ya’ll.
One thing we’re really good at over here is repurposing and using permaculture practices so that we can make everything easier on everyone.
It’s turned out pretty well because the time we spend maintaining our homestead is minimal. Once a day I take a 10 minute walk around the farm and check up on everything, and it’s only during certain seasons that we break out in project mode.
Building a Simple Grape Arbor
When choosing the perfect location for grapes, you need to understand that grapes need two main things…
- Lots of sun
- Something to climb on
We knew that right in front of our southwest windows, there was a LOT of sun! Even the windows are starting to show damage because of all that sun. So we knew this would be a great spot for grapes, as they would love all that exposure.
I wasn’t sure on the design so I drove around to neighborhoods that I remember had grape arbors and took pictures. This one was too simple and you can tell it’s starting to waver.
When looking for the perfect wood to build your grape arbor, you can purchase pre-made kits, build an arbor from a plan, or if you’re like us, you can search Pinterest for the perfect rustic grape arbor inspiration.
I would have preferred this arbor to be more crooked, but the trunk and branches over time will create that rustic look by itself, so I’ll just have to be patient.
How to Build a simple Grape Arbor: Step by Step
Step 1) Mark your holes for the posts.
We decided to go with three post holes, just to make sure it would be sturdy enough over the years.
Step 2) Dig a hole and then have your husband tell you that you’re doing it wrong and proceed to watch him dig a hole with “his method” which is much, much better.
Ah, marriage and projects. They don’t ever seem to go as well together as planned, do they?
Fortunately for me, I’ve got a husband who is innovative and won’t give up on his methods to save his life, so at best it provides good entertainment. Silly DaNelle thought she should dig a hole with a shovel (I don’t know what I was thinking).
Kevin (a.k.a. Mr. Frugal, a.k.a. Mr. Engineer, a.k.a. the most stubborn man I know) decided a homemade post hole digger (a.k.a. an old PVC pipe) was the optimal choice.
I decided the entertainment was far more enticing than the arguing. So, the entire family brought out chairs and watched…
And after only 30 minutes later of hammering, then tugging, and tugging, and pulling, and tugging…
Unfortunately, because the PVC pipe was SMALLER THAN THE POST (totally caught that early on by the way, but who was I to know it wouldn’t fit? Remember, I’m simple-minded shovel lady over here, and you can’t trust what I think.)
No worries though. Three or four more PVC holes grouped together, with time spent in between to rid the ridiculously compacted soil out of the inside of the pipe, maybe an hour tops, the first post hole was dug.
(In all honesty, Kevin is a dream to work with on projects. He doesn’t complain about hard work and dives right in. He does have hilarious & ridiculous methods, but he’ll do it my way if I protest:)
Step 3) Level the posts and pour concrete around them.
This was fairly simple to do. Thankfully, Kevin didn’t have a more ‘genius’ way to do it.
(Don’t mind Lydia, she’s in a goth phase and also wants to shave her head. Oh that girl.)
Step 4) Once you’ve got all the posts leveled, it’s time to put drill the sides together and call it good!
I’m so excited to have a place to grow delicious grapes! We planted the Black Monukka variety, which originates from Spain and does well in our climate. This grape is really versatile and you can make juice, jellies, and even wine all from this grape. Wish us luck! We’ll update this post with pictures as they grow!
I know that I should have paid attention to how to actually build a grape arbor but I couldn’t stop laughing! This was the best guide ever and your family is wonderful! Thanks for making my day, DaNelle! We have our grape trellises made by our grandfathers from metal, we cherish those a lot.
This is a beautiful design. I have grown grapes on a chain link fence for years, but as we have just moved, I get to start again. Thanks for the inspiration.
Do you have an update on the grape arbor?
DaNelle took it down and now they have grapes on the other side of their yard.
Thank you -Bobbi (DaNelle’s Assistant)
betty dedman says
I like your design. I have established grapes, but their 2 arbors are falling apart. Didn’t Help that one had 12 ft posts with a steel pole, and DH drove the tractor through the middle and the roll bar pulled it down, last May.
Still, I need to replace it after harvest and severely prune. Just some FYI:
2 things that you could have done easier:
1) buy an auger, like this one–
I have owned one for 20 years and have put many 8 ft, 8 inch diameter posts in the ground with it. It is so simple a child can dig a hole with it.
2) NO CEMENT!! the only time that cement might help is if you have a gate attached to your post, and gravity works on it. I keep horses and my gate posts need help bc of this. Otherwise, your posts won’t move, since >1/3 is in the ground. Also, painting/treating the wood is really important, bc your wood will rot out and break off at the ground…where the cement is.
Still, thanks for the plans!
A girl after my own heart…I’ve always wanted to shave my head.
Thanks DaNelle, this is a great tutorial! I’ve included in my “15 Sturdy Grape Vine Trellis Design Ideas For Your Backyard Arbor” article (https://www.outdoorhappens.com/15-sturdy-grape-vine-trellis-design-ideas-for-your-backyard-arbor/) and pinned, of course 😀 Got a much-needed laugh out of your Goat Crossfit video this morning too, how cool! Wonder if it works with cows or horses, that’s all I have. Oh, and dogs, but they wriggle a lot, upping the difficulty for sure… ‘Till next time, Elle
Paula Marshall says
“too simple and starting to waver”? I guess so, it’s a clothesline.
I already have one, white rope on pulleys, so I hope I can build an easy one!
Hey Danelle! Love your arbor and am in the process of doing the same thing. We have our 3 post holes dug and the distance between is 9feet so I need at least 18 or preferably 20 feet sides. Where did you find your sides as long as you did? Tractor supply has them but they are only 6.5 foot.
DaNelle Wolford says
You know, we actually found them for free on craigslist. Wish I could be more help!
Hello! I just found your website and I’m reading up on all I can since we have just purchased a home on 5 acres of land and I will be starting my own small “farm” but I literally know nothing. Yesterday when walking around the property I noticed grapes growing along the fence. Don’t know how long they have been there but have been unattended for at least 18 months. Should I leave them and see if they are happy there, or attempt to make a proper grape house (already forgot what it’s called…oops) transplant or grow new ones? From my tiny bit of research it seems they take a couple of years to start bearing fruit…is that correct?
DaNelle Wolford says
How exciting! I think the word you’re looking for is ‘arbor’. I would say that yes, it would be wise to offer some support. Grape trunks can get large and in strong winds can break. Most grapes produce in their second year:) I would add some compost around the trunks and cover with mulch. They’ll love it!
Your grape arbor is attractive. If I had one of those hard working/entertaining husbands, I would definitely copy-cat you! I have 3 vines and have been supporting them with large tomato baskets with wires running from cage to cage. They are not very attractive but have held up during the monsoons so far. This is their fourth year. Hoping they will produce well again this year! Good luck w/yours!
But why do you need a horizontal beam on each side of the post at each level? Surely one beam at each level is sufficient (since they can technically attach to a wire?) Just curious.
DaNelle Wolford says
That’s a great point! I thought the same thing, but it was more for design purposes anyway. We also get some fierce monsoon storms here and I wanted to make sure it was really sturdy:)