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Trellises are common garden structures used for growing vegetables, fruits, and vining plants. They support plant health by providing physical support, allowing plants to get more sunlight and airflow. Vertical gardening also makes it easier for pollinators to reach flowers. A trellis adds space and an eye-catching architectural structure to the interior of a home, yard, or garden. Building your own trellis is much cheaper than buying a pre-made one, and it is easier than you may realize.

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Get busy with a honeycomb trellis

A honeycomb trellis makes a stunning frame for vining plants. A miter saw will be necessary for cutting wood into the angles needed to form the hexagons. Lay hexagons out in the desired pattern and connect them with wood glue; clamp to dry. If desired, staple chicken wire on the back for added support. Mount the trellis on the fence with exterior wood screws.

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Explore espalier

Espalier is an ancient technique for training a plant to grow in a flat plane against a trellis, wall, or fence. Choose a spot considering climate and light conditions, then select plants and your pattern. Place eye hooks at points where your grid of wires will intersect. Cut strips of wire a bit longer than you need and thread them through the hooks. Wrap the extra wire around itself to secure in place. Place potted plants close to the trellis and use garden ties to encourage entwining.

espaliered pear tree David Burton / Getty Images
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Create a copper trellis (no torch required)

Plumbing pipes can make strong, elegant garden structures that look more beautiful as they age. You can build a copper trellis quickly without soldering using a grid design. This way, you can easily disconnect and reconfigure it later. A three-dimensional tower is another torch-free option; simply connect pipes with strong glue.

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Keep that old ladder

An old ladder can make a sturdy, portable trellis, providing an excellent opportunity to repurpose one that may be broken and unsafe to climb. Placing is important so plants get the level of sunlight or shade they need. Some plants will need to be trained to climb a ladder while others grow tendrils that find the ladder on their own. Place a closed ladder up against the house or fence. You can also widen the steps to create long shelves for vines or planters. Attach chicken wire for smaller vines if desired.

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Add style with a chevron lattice

Chevron is a popular design of zigzags in a stripe pattern. A trellis in this contemporary style has two lattices, doubling the space for plants to climb. They can add a decorative touch inside your home, against one of the sides of the house, or along a fence. Some chevron trellises use garden stakes and shims. They are put together with a staple gun and nails. This can be an easy weekend project to modernize your yard or garden.

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Repurpose a pallet

Pallets can be a ready-made trellis for giving plants space to creep up and making harvesting easier. They can help keep slugs and other creatures from nibbling on your produce, too. As with a ladder, a pallet is easy to place wherever you decide. If you angle the pallet with wood posts in your garden, the space underneath can house plants that need shade. Avoid using pallets with an “MB” stamp on the side because they have been treated with methyl bromide, an insecticide that would kill beneficial insects. Look for heat-treated pallets that have an “HT” stamp.

recycled wooden pallet AzmanJaka / Getty Images
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Go 3-D with an obelisk

An obelisk trellis is like a 3-D ladder. It is a stand-alone piece, so there’s no need to affix it to a fence or other structure for support, making it a great option for climbing plants that are closer to the center of your yard. You can make your own obelisk trellis cheaply and quickly with some 2 x 2s, 3-inch wood screws, and exterior wood glue. Some obelisk plans require angle cuts, but they are not always necessary. Finish it off with a windmill, weather vane, or silhouette of a farm animal for a decorative touch.

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Put old tools to use

Someone’s junk could become a trellis treasure in your garden. For instance, a wagon wheel makes a great structure for climbing roses. Window frames with chicken wire attached make a pleasing addition to your garden decor. Grab 3 worn-out wooden garden tools such as spades, rakes, or shovels, and find three pieces of scrap wood for cross slats to connect the tools. Nail the cross slats across the tools and wrap jute twine around each joint as tightly as possible.

old garden tools ATU Images / Getty Images
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Make a home-grown trellis

With two T-posts, sticks from saplings, and twine or zip ties, you can construct a trellis with a rustic appeal. Use twigs from unique trees, if available, to add visual appeal to your project. Place larger, thicker branches on the bottom and thinner ones up top, and alternate the thick ends on each row.

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Double up with a planter box

Combine a trellis with a planter box for a two-in-one planting option. The trellis can hold climbing edible plants or flowering vines, and the planter can contain non-vining plants or herbs. Mount casters on the bottom of the box to make it easy to move. Add drainage holes as well.

planter trellis AzmanJaka / Getty Images

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