Build a Teepee Trellis for Pole Beans

How To Build a Teepee Trellis for Pole Beans

An interesting way to grow pole beans, garden peas, and other climbing vines in the vegetable garden is by using a teepee trellis. A teepee trellis is typically made up of five or six long pieces of bamboo or other materials. They are constructed by sticking the bamboo stakes in the soil at least a couple inches deep in a circle pattern. The tops of the poles are then brought together in the center of the circle at a point, then tied together using garden twine or some small rope.

Here is how I constructed my pole bean teepee trellises.

The Materials Needed To Construct The Teepees

The good thing about building these teepee trellises is they are very inexpensive and very easy to construct. You only need two items in order to build the teepee trellis:

  1. You need some type of pole support, such as bamboo stakes (which is what I’m using), small tree branches or something similar to make the sides of the teepee. I am using a set of seven foot long bamboo stakes to build my teepee trellises. I bought these as a set of 6 poles from KMart for about five dollars.
  2. 7 Foot Long Bamboo Pole

  3. The next item you will need is a roll of garden twine, or something to use to tie the poles together to form the top of the teepee. You can use anything that will work to tie the poles together – old shoestrings, old pantyhose, or zip-ties will work good.
  4. Garden Twine for Tying the Pole Together

  5. Optional: Someone to help you hold the poles together as you tie them at the top.

Setting The Poles Out To Make The Teepee

Once you have all the materials gathered it is time to set the poles out in the place where the teepee will call home. The first thing to do is to loosen the soil up in the area where the pole beans or garden peas will be grown if you haven’t done so already.

Next, take each bamboo pole and push the widest end of the pole into the soil about six to eight inches deep. Try to get it at least six inches deep to make sure it has a proper footing. You want to place each bamboo pole in the soil to form a crude circle shape. The circle doesn’t have to be perfect; just a general circular shape.

You can have the poles as far apart as you like. That will depend mostly on how much room you have. As a general rule, try to keep at least 6 inches between each pole.

Push Bamboo Stakes In the Soil To Form a Circle

Tying The Top Of The Teepee

Once you have the poles inserted in the soil about six to eight inches and at least six inches apart to form a circle, it is time to tie the tops of the poles together to form the teepee.

Begin by grabbing two poles that are opposite of each other and cross the tops of them about four to six inches from the top. Cross the two bamboo pole tops to form an “X”. Grab two more poles that are opposite with one another and cross them at the top to form an “X” like you did the first two.

Once you have all the bamboo poles crossed it is time to secure them together with the garden twine. Tie a knot around the entire bunch, continually wrapping around and retying several times. As my grandfather used to say, “If you can’t tie a knot, just tie alot”.

Tie the Top of the Bamboo Stakes Together at the TopTie the Top of the Bamboo Stakes Together at the Top

That’s All There Is To It!

Once you have finished securing the top of the bamboo poles together, the teepee is complete and you are ready to plant your pole beans, garden peas, or cucumbers at the bottom of each pole. When the seedlings emerge, just point them in the direction of the pole and they will grow up each teepee leg.

Completed Pole Bean Trellis Teepee

Grow Some Delicious Pole Beans In Your Vegetable Garden

25 Comments on Build a Teepee Trellis for Pole Beans

  1. To make the Tee Pee Trellis what else can you use besides bamboo?

    • Hi Ellen,

      Yes, you can use whatever you have to create the Tee Pee Trellis. If you can’t find bamboo, you can use small metal poles, or even some small tree branches for a real rustic look. I use bamboo because it’s readily available, fairly cheap (or free) and durable.

  2. Thats neat! I’ve seen those in the garden of Monticello. I didn’t know you could grow cucumbers on these as well. I like that idea too!

    • Hi Connie – a teepee like this works really well for pole beans. You can grow just about any vining plant on them, but it needs to be a plant that has the long tendrils, like pole beans.

      It worked OK for peas, but they don’t have the long, clingy tendrils like pole beans or cucumbers.

  3. I tried using willow branches and bending it into a dome to grow peas over – it all worked find except that the willows took root and started to grow leaves, which isn’t that bad I suppose except it took a bit of moisture out of the soil. I took them out at the end of the season so I didn’t get full on trees growing in my vegetable garden!

  4. I couldn’t find bamboo poles, the plastic type to expensive but Lowe’s
    had sets of 6 1 inch pine states that are about 5 ft. tall. I put up 4 poles
    but may have them too far apart as teepee is onlyabout 4 ft tall. Do I
    need more poles and closer together – mine are probably 2 ft apart. Mu
    beans are ready to be put in the garden so need a really quick reply =
    I am a 78 yr. old novice gardner who has box gardens total 5 8 x 4 beds.
    Help quickly!! Thanks

    • Hi Billie – Two feet apart isn’t too far apart – it should be fine. The teepee only being 4 ft tall should be fine as well. It would be better if it were a little taller (like 5 or 6 feet tall), but 4 feet will work. You may need to cut off the end of the bean plants once they begin growing taller than the teepee. This will help to keep them bushy and more productive as well.

      If you have any more questions feel free to contact me directly using the contact page. I’ll be glad to help in any way I can.

      Thanks for your question, Billie, and have a great day!

  5. Teresa Griffiths // April 8, 2011 at 11:41 pm // Reply

    I have made a tee pee out of 6 bambo poles about 18″ apart and about 4 ft tall. I have a hill of loose dirt around each pole. How many seeds can I plant to each pole. Thanks for taking the time to help me! I would like to plant in the morning so would appreciate a quick answer.

    • Hi Teresa – I would allow just one plant to grow per pole. I tried growing two plants per pole last year and I think it was one too many. So create a hole to the depth listed for sowing on the seed packet (pole beans are usually sowed at 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches deep, but refer to your seed packet to make sure) about an inch or two from the pole.

      Sow two seeds per teepee pole in the same hole (rhymed!). You sow two seed per hole as insurance. If one doesn’t germinate the other one should.

      I hope this help, Teresa. Hopefully, I didn’t confuse you. If you have any other questions, please let me know.

  6. Should/could we start the pole bean seeds inside and then transfer?

    • Hi Sandra – Pole beans should be sowed outdoors after the chance of frost has passed, and it’s about 75 or so during the day. You can soak the seeds over night in water to help speed up the germination rate. Just fill a small tupperware bowl with about an inch of warm (not hot) water and let it sit on the counter over night. By the next morning the seeds will be swollen and ready to plant.

      It’s really tricky trying to transplant beans because they do not like their roots disturbed.

  7. Do you think 3 – 8 ft. bamboo pools in a tee pee form would be sufficient to grow cucumbers?

    • Hi Jim – if you planted a cucumber at the base of each leg then I think it should work just fine. You may need to “train” the vine to crawl up the pole by wrapping it around the pole a few times. After that it will learn what to do and grow right up.

      • Thank you! Will get it a try.

      • hi,

        this is my first garden, i’ve been reading your articles and you mention making a teepee so that green beans/cucumbers can grow up it. my question is you said you have to train cucumbers to go up the teepee, does that mean once it sprouts from the ground or when it gets a certain height?

  8. Awesome! Thank you so much for the step by step. This is my first year having a veggi garden and your site was very useful. Thanks again.

  9. Thanks for sharing this, Jim! I’ve found that this is a great and inexpensive way to grow anything vine-like, whether it is vegetables with tendrils or clematis and morning glory! If you can find the bamboo poles, the rustic look is very cool once the plants start climbing! The one addition I’ve made in the past, though, is to wrap the teepee with netting. I usually use clear plastic netting, but you can also find biodegradable netting that is made of jute twine, so you can just cut the netting off at the end of the season, vines and all, and toss it all in the compost heap.

  10. Hi Tee,
    As i live in New Zealand i’m 6 months adrift of your seasons but i can work through that. I’ve planted cucumbers for the first time this year and found your site very useful so far, i didn’t realise i needed a trellis until this week so luckily i’ve found some wire fencing left over from my landlord which i’ll use for the trellis with probably bamboo supports for it, i guess it wont matter whether its vertical or at an angle. How many fruits will i get per plant (rough estimate) and how high do they grow??
    I have tomatoes and pepper’s growing on my deck in planters made from old pallets lined in plastic so it’s all looking good so far.
    Regards Sean.

  11. Are 1″x8ft. bamboo poles, overkill? They sold in bundles of 25 for 90.00. My husband wants to use 3/4 ” white pvc pipe cut to size—–it is a lot cheaper, but not so pleasant to look at. Is it too slippery? It is durable and lasts forever, that’s for sure. I want to grow mini pumpkins too, so it has to be somewhat sturdy.

    Thanks for your site. Really informative.

  12. I’m looking for something this simple but to use to train zucchini. Any ideas?

  13. I enjoyed your simple ways of making a trellis. It has given me ideas as other types to now create my own mixing a couple ideas. I like your frame but I believe I will use saplings for cross member crossed and nailed to your frame. I am new to gardening. I want to make pickles and so growing my own cuc’s has gotten me started. I’m going to be using a double stacked pallet for my garden. I like the pallet idea but feel a little more depth to my soil would be advantagous.

  14. gardenfreek51 // May 9, 2012 at 11:04 pm // Reply

    You can use anything for poles. I saved all the small to medium-sized branches from a tree I cut down last year and plan to built a network of sticks with criss-crosses in the middle for beans to grow up. I also saved a bunch of 1″x2″ boards that were used for the edge pieces of packing boxes. The hardest part is just getting the poles to stay securely in the ground so they won’t be tipped over by the wind or the sheer weight of whatever you grow on them. I dig small holes to put the poles into, then heap soil around them. I hope these suggestions help someone.

  15. Hi Tee!-
    I love reading all your helpful articles and responses. But I am in the same boat as Susie above–I am wondering if I can use PVC pipe instead of bamboo. I could only find 5′ length bamboo at Home Depot, and it’s really, really skinny.

    One more question–in another above post, Tom mentions using netting. So, I was also wondering if I use six of my skinny bamboo poles, but keep them farther apart, can I wrap all in nylon netting and then plant more than 6 plants at the bottom and just train an additional 6 to grow up the netting between the poles?

    Thanks Tee!!!

  16. I agree with Tee….the past two years I planted 3 seeds per teepee leg and let them all grow….I had 3 teepees that were/are 6ft tall and cover a total of 5ft wide….the greens are so thick you can not see thru them or even throw a baseball thru it!!!! the downside is the last two years that is all I have gotten….lots of vines and leaves but little to no flowers or beans…I think the denisty is preventing pollination and suggest one plant per leg like Tee suggested. good luck to all

  17. Thank you. This blog had all of the information I was looking for. I would like to add a helpful hint about poking the poles in the ground: I always have a supply of poles from tree branches and have found that they are very a very useful alternative to buying supports from the store. But, they don't lend themselves to being pounded into the ground. My helpful hint is that I keep a heavy metal pole (I have two; One is an old tie rod from a truck and the other is an old axle from a vehicle[available for a pittance at any auto wrecking yard]). When I want to "plant" poles in the garden I first jab the pointy end of my tie rod or axle into the ground and if necessary bang on it a couple of times with a hand-held 2 1/2 pound sledge hammer or pull it out and force it down further. I usually do this then stick the wood pole in and determine where I want to cut it that way I don't end up with the pole being too short in the end. I then wiggle the metal rod around to create a funnel shaped hole, stick my wood stake in it and stomp the dirt down to make things secure.

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