Embarking on a journey to find the ideal types of trellises for your garden? Our comprehensive guide is just the tool you need to navigate the vast array of options available. Regardless of your specific needs – whether aesthetic or functional – understanding the multitude of trellis types can set you on the correct path.
The perfect trellis not only enhances the charm of your garden but also delivers on its purpose. From transforming garden entrances to supporting exotic plants or basic tomato vines, the right trellis type can cater to your every requirement.
Our guide goes beyond simply listing the various types of trellises. It offers a deeper insight into each type, providing visual references and recommendations on how each can uplift your garden’s aesthetics. We take an all-encompassing view, comparing trellis types across different parameters.
Whether you choose to buy, DIY, or opt for a combination of both, this guide aims to equip you with all the knowledge you need to make the best decision for your garden.
Table of Contents
What is a Trellis?
A trellis refers to a structure, made of wood, metal, or other form-taking materials, to produce a plant support structure in the garden. While their origin is unknown, trellis was historically built to support vine stock and have remained prominent in past literature and botanical work.
Today, a trellis is still used for the same primary purpose of supporting vines and climbing plants. They even come in handy to make various gardening tasks easy, including pruning. But, the job of a trellis isn’t limited to just supporting vines and creepers. With such a vast range of designs and styles available today, a trellis is also integrated into gardens for its aesthetic appeal.
While they support the plants, they still give life to a once-empty part of your dull-looking garden. Similarly, people today even style trellis in their homes, and commercial, and public spaces without plants. For instance, you can add them without supporting any plant to a classic French garden for a stylistic and statement-making appeal.
Why Invest In A Garden Trellis?
Investing in a garden trellis offers many benefits. For one, a garden trellis is pretty versatile, thanks to the variety of designs and styles. The versatility allows you to get what you are looking for, whether you buy or make it yourself, depending on your budget.
Here are other benefits of investing in a garden trellis;
Trellis adds Complexity
As previously mentioned, a trellis comes in a variety of designs and styles. These incredible designs are a great way to add depth to your garden. In addition to the trellis design and style, its functionality adds complexity. Without trellis, you can plant several types of plants, based on the size of your garden.
On the other hand, a trellis allows you to add more plants and varieties you would otherwise not be able to plant directly into the ground. Now, adding plants that grow into the trellis adds a distinctive climbing look, whether fat healthy cucumbers or a magical display of blooming blossoms.
Depending on the plants you add, you can even incorporate more than a single plant variety onto the trellis for an even more dramatic look. You can generally use trellis to highlight different shapes, textures, and layouts in your garden.
Growing Vines and Climbing Plants
This is perhaps the most practical purpose of adding a trellis to your garden. You are not only enjoying their ornamental value. You also get to add plants you can harvest and eat or showcase (like flowering plants).
There is a long list of interesting plants that cannot grow properly without structural support, like a trellis. Some of the common vegetable-climbing plants include tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peas, pumpkins, and squash, to name a few. Climbing flowering plants include wisteria, clematis, climbing hydrangea, honeysuckle, and star jasmine, among others.
These plants typically take shape and grow following the structure of their support system. Imagine an extensively green (golden in fall) garden, highlighted with a sprawling display of orange pumpkins during fall. Or, visualize an avatar’s Pandora-like magical garden setting with lilac wisteria blooming from the ground to the top.
On the other hand, growing fruit or vegetable-bearing climbing plants the right way, on climbing structures allows you to achieve the best results. This is because you are growing them the way they were intended.
You will also notice that different plants react differently to structural support. In this case, you need to evaluate the type of trellis and pick one that best supports the plant you intend to use it with. For instance, plants like beans, peas, and cucumbers produce tendrils or tips that wrap around the trellis for maximum support.
On the other hand, tomatoes grow completely differently, in multiple brands with zero tendrils or curling tips. This makes tomatoes completely dependent on the structural support. In this case, you need to either tie them to the support to mimic the functions of tendrils or tips on other plants. Alternatively, you can opt for more supportive trellises, like caged ones with stakes holding them up.
More for your Garden
Adding a trellis in your garden allows you to enjoy more plants in your garden. The nature of the trellis allows you to grow more plants in less space. When it’s time for harvest, the setup allows for easier reach to the bountiful load.
Protect the Plants
Trellises are another excellent natural protection for your plants. As mentioned before, these supportive structures allow you to plant vines and creepers the way they were intended. This arrangement doesn’t just yield you the best results, in terms of harvest or blooming.
It also decreases the risk of plant disease. A trellis supports plants and keeps them off the ground. They also promote airflow and keep the leaves dry. This, in turn, prevents the rise of various diseases.
Outdoor Vs Indoor Trellis
You can take several routes when it comes to classifying different types of trellis. One of them is highlighting indoor and outdoor trellis. Historically, trellises were built for outdoor use to support vines and creepers.
But, with the continuing popularity of houseplants, trellises have also won the hearts of houseplant parents. Therefore, you can find a variety of excellent indoor trellis. Outdoor trellises come as their own extensive sub-category with a wide variety of different types, worth exploring in their section.
On the other hand, indoor trellises focus more on the interior setting of your home, instead of the garden. Like outdoor garden trellis, it is made from materials, like metal, wood, and plastic, to mention a few. Indoor trellises are also smaller in size than large garden trellises due to the smaller, more confined houseplant sizes.
But, indoor trellises aren’t just used for their aesthetic appeal. They are also advantageous to the health and growth of houseplants. Among their benefits include proper support (for a few climbing plants) and facilitating better growth and leaf maturity. Indoor trellis comes in two main sub-groups, including wall-mounted and staked trellis.
Wall-mounted trellises are typically attached to the wall, adding a layer of décor while supporting household plants. Staked trellises enjoy more movement freedom as you can place them on the ground or into the plant pots. However, they also add their share of aesthetics to your home.
Now, let’s find out more about outdoor garden trellises.
What Are the Common Types Of Trellises for Gardens Available on the Market?
Garden trellises come in a wide range of different shapes, styles, designs, and sizes. Common types include arbor, pergola, and lattice-type trellises. In fact, most trellises vastly differ from one another, making them a lot more interesting. This allows you to style your garden just the way you want.
Here’s a complete list of the 21 common types of trellis available on the market;
Trellis Styles & Structures
1. Pergola Trellis
Pergolas offer more elegant and advanced support from your plants. Apart from their typically grandiose and classy build, their larger design accommodates a larger number of plants. Pergolas are built with their supporting posts arranged to form a roof-like structure at the top.
The propped-up roof posts even act as shade. It looks like a shaded canopy without a more open roof design. Further, pergolas are usually made of wood, although you can find a few varieties made of other materials.
If you are thinking of replicating that magical Avatar’s Pandora look with illustrative white and purple wisteria, a pergola is an excellent choice. Alternatively, you can even set a pergola in your garden or patio without adding any plants for that modern outdoor villa look.
2. Garden Gazebo Trellis
You can also turn a regular garden gazebo into a plant trellis. All you do is take your pergola design to the next level by transforming it into an actual gazebo. Leaving the side open frames and lattice design intact, simply install a covered roof and leave an arch entryway.
Depending on your budget, you can even design a pitched roof. You can then surround the gazebo with your choice of ornamental flowering vines or vine crops. Add colorful garden furniture and extra interior plants for a signature lounging garden gazebo.
3. Arbor Trellis
Arbors resemble tinier versions of pergolas. However, unlike pergolas, they are usually adorned with lattice-like patterns on both sides and the roof. Think of an arbor structure as one half of a uniquely styled tunnel. Further, arbors use wood, although some varieties are made from metal and wire.
Thanks to their illustrative designs, arbors are usually added for their aesthetic appeal at the entrance, prominent parts, or even a wall of the garden. You can also use an arbor to create a therapeutic walkway into or within your garden. Their lattice patterns add to their beauty and functionality.
When you add climbing plants, the side lattices come in handy. For example, vegetables or legumes can attach their tips or tendrils for secure support as they continue to climb up. On the other hand, flowering creepers allow their bloomers to beautifully and securely seat on each lattice point from the sides to the roof of the arbor for a colorful presentation.
4. Lattice Trellis
As the name suggests, lattice trellises are simply horizontal or vertical wooden or metal panels with lattice patterns supported on framed columns. Lattice trellises come in a variety of styles. You can find wall-mountable ones or floor-standing ones.
Moreover, you can find designs that allow plants to attach and climb them and even others that support climbing plants and potted plants. The possibilities are limitless when it comes to the style and designs of lattice trellises you can find on the market.
Just as their designs are versatile, so is the functionality of lattices. You can use their design to highlight contrasting plant colors and textures, use the lattice to accentuate the plants, or even use them to improve the appearance. You can also use freestanding lattice trellises as garden dividers or backdrops for a relaxing lounging outdoor space.
Tip: Go for a more unique wood lattice plant supporting trellis installation by installing the panels that surround the perimeter of your windows or cover your patio roof with the panels. To complete the look, anchor climbing roses onto the window surrounding the lattice or drooping wisteria on the roof-mounted lattice.
5. Flat Trellis
Flat trellises are so similar to lattice trellises that some gardeners categorize them under the same group. They are even made from wood, metal, or plastic. But, unlike lattice trellises, they offer a wider range of patterns, including opaque or more revealing ones.
Like lattices, flat trellises can also be anchored onto the wall or in a freestanding style. Their unique patterns and panel designs make them excellent ornamental pieces to add to the garden, even without attaching climbing plants or vines.
If you have a modern ornamental garden, you can add a flat trellis for a dramatic textural and design contrast. Remember, once you tap into your creative mind, you’ll realize that it’s not only green plants and flowers you can use to elevate your garden look.
6. Grid Trellis
A grid trellis is the perfect type of trellis to use when you want to define your garden space. It is typically built with metal or wood lattice panels to provide decorative privacy. Like lattice or flat trellis, a grid trellis can be anchored onto the wall or fence, freestanding, or a combination of the two.
Based on the design, you also want to note the size of your plants and how much privacy you want in your garden to get the perfect grid trellis size. Grid trellis is a perfect option for showcasing the beauty of your plants.
In fact, the best way to create a revolutionary display is to ditch the expected ornamentals for evergreen plants. Add plants like cucumbers or squash with dramatic tendrils and larger growing fruits for a healthy display. You can even secure them with twine as they continue to grow and climb.
7. Honeycomb Trellis
Usually made from wood, metal, or plastic and mounted on a wall, honeycomb trellises are molded to form multiple honeycomb-like patterns that plants climb through. These trellises are what you go for to incorporate a layer or shape and texture details.
However, the striking design can also be used to add life to a plain white wall. In this case, you want to go for a visible finish, like dark mahogany-like brown, glossy metallic color, light wooden color, or brighter multi-colored shades (e.g. a mix of pink, light blue, light green, and yellow).
Honeycomb trellises are also pretty versatile. For example, instead of wall mounting, you can attach the lower quarter into a large ceramic pot and allow the plant to climb through for a majestic look.
8. Planter Box Trellis
The planter box trellis allows you to add your favorite plants in different styles. These trellises typically come with a rectangular or square wooden plant box at the bottom attached to a lattice panel on the rear end.
You can plant low-growing plants that don’t need support at the front end of the plant box. Then, line the rear end with climbing plants that can be supported by the lattice. To create an attractive focal point in your garden, add colorful flowering vines to climb the lattice.
Due to the design, you can use the trellis as a privacy screen or in front of an empty wall to give it life. You can also line multiple planter boxes in your yard to create a makeshift fence that leads into a secluded and relaxing garden space.
9. Arch Trellis
Arch trellises are exactly as they sound. Made from metal wire, plastic, or wood, they form an arch shape with different patterns that let creepers penetrate through as they climb. Like arbors, you place arches in the entryway of your garden, near the wall, or create a walkway.
You can also set up multiple arches together for a reclusive relaxing spot in your garden. In addition to their aesthetic functionality, arch trellises do a fantastic job at guiding climbing plants and vines over a path for upwards vertical growth.
Yet, the arch’s design still uses the plants to create a unique garden look, whether you are going for a plentiful evergreen look or ornamental with a bunch of sweet-scented blossoms. An excellent variety of flowering plants to adorn an entryway trellis are climbing hydrangeas, roses, clematis, or star jasmine.
10. Obelisk, Tripod, and Teepee Trellis
While they slightly vary in design, obelisks, tripods, and teepee trellises feature a similar overall physical structure. Obelisks boast a square or rectangular cross section and protrude upwards in a pillar-like shape. On the other hand, a tripod and teepee achieve a similar shape with naked frames that serve as posts. But, as a trellis, either style achieves an interconnected and similar look.
Obelisk, tripod, and teepee trellises achieve a naked framed tripod shape with a narrower topside and wider four-legged base. The best part of using these trellis types is that they come in varying sizes. You can pick any type from a larger tree-sized version to a smaller version.
Due to its compact design and availability of a shorter option, an obelisk, tripod, or teepee trellis is an excellent option for supporting tomatoes. But, you can also use the larger varieties for a more grandeur display of your favorite plants. They are also an outstanding choice of trellis for creating a focal point in your garden.
With this type of trellis, you always want to cross-check the ideal size to accommodate your plants before investing in or building one. Obelisks, tripods, and teepees are also among the simplest types of trellis to build on your own. In addition to their easy building, their simplicity and minimal material need makes them ultra affordable and cost-friendly.
For example, you can build a quick bamboo tripod trellis for practical support of your tomatoes. Hold three bamboo posts together at a slanted angle to create the tripod design. The top tips of the three posts should be touching one another while the bottom parts are spread out.
Then, use heavy duty twine or metal wire to securely hold the posts together. You can even tie them in three separate twine or wire layers. You can also use more forgiving and gentle plants like pole beans which won’t weigh down and eventually break the trellis.
11. Fan Trellis
The name “fan” doesn’t refer to the trellis moving mechanism, but rather its design. In fact, a fan trellis resembles a hand fan with flared-out wooden or metal ribs in the shape of a fan. The typically wall-mounted or freestanding trellis encourages horizontal or vertical growth.
It is also an amazing trellis option for displaying flowers. You can also use the trellis in corners whereby one wall joints the other. In this case, you can grow creeping vines for a distinctive look. The unique shape and metals used for a grid trellis add a layer of textural and shape contrast.
12. Cage and Ladder Trellis
Cage and ladder trellises are another trellis type that works great for smaller garden plants that require support. For example, you can find a wide variety of specially built metal tomato cages built to support the tomato plant that requires optimal support.
Cage and ladder trellises feature a ribbed metal or wood design and typically look just as they sound. What makes cages and ladders unique as opposed to regular stakes is the artistic and design edge that they add to your garden.
13. A-Frame Trellis
A-frame trellises are another type of trellis that takes up the shape suggested by their title. Made from wooden, plastic, or metal frames, these trellises feature an A-shaped structure. Their design and thin frames make them ideal for trailing leafy creepers or flowering vines.
A-frame trellises also make the best types of trellis for vegetables and legumes, like beans, peas, and squash. The trellises don’t just offer an ornamental advantage. They also benefit vegetables. This is because growing the climbers vertically facilitates a higher yield, reduces the risks of diseases, and significantly saves space.
14. Fencing and porch Trellis
Fence and porch trellises are another popular trellis design for ornamental gardens, patios, and porches. While a fence trellis works great for gardens, a porch trellis is ideal for porches and patios. Fence trellises are typically made from lattice wood or metal wire mesh while porch trellises feature a variety of wood trellis designs.
The best way to make use of porch trellis is to line them with flowering vines, like roses or clematis to life on your front porch or back patio. The lattice wood patterns on these trellises also add their fair share of aesthetics. On the other hand, fence trellises add beauty with their design while allowing you to grow thicker foliage plants (with a few attention-grabbing flowers if you want) for added privacy.
15. Wall Trellis
Wall Trellises are usually built for bricked homes or walls. The wall-mounted trellises allow you to beautify the empty wall space supporting climbing vines or plants. Typically mounted onto the wall, wall trellises do a great job of supporting and highlighting ornamental flowering plants.
16. Wire Mesh Trellis
Made using metal, wire mesh trellises are moldable structures crafted into various supportive structures styles. The most common designs are panel-like designs where you can make them freestanding with the help of metal or wooden frames.
Alternatively, you can mount them on a wall or fence similar to a lattice trellis. In some cases, gardeners go for a 2-in-1 solution, using wire mesh fences as trellises. When used this way, many homeowners fill the fence up with thicker climbing plants and flowers to create solid privacy around the perimeter.
Wire mesh trellises are pretty appealing for their affordability and versatility, letting you grow different types of plants. My personal favorite is growing the luffa vine plant, which produces the bathing loofah. However, you have to be careful with wire mesh as they tend to be light and somewhat flimsy. So, adding heavy plants to the mesh may cause it to tilt or fall over from the weight pressure.
17. Metal Trellis
Metal trellises refer to trellises made using metal material. These trellises come in a variety of styles and designs. They come with the advantage of being durable and stable. Further, most metal trellises are rated for outdoor use, no matter the conditions or climate. They are also ideal for all climbing plants and vines.
18. Wooden Trellis
Wooden Trellises are equally as popular as metal trellises. Wooden trellises are a favorite type of trellis among gardeners that want to add more beauty and style to their gardens. Like metal trellises, wooden trellises come in a vast range of designs, styles, and sizes.
A good variety is also treated to survive the harsh outdoors and water damage. However, depending on the type of wood used and the size, a wooden trellis can be expensive.
19. Bamboo Trellis
You can also use bamboo for trellis. Thanks to its durable and sturdy nature, bamboo is popularly used to create stakes or trellis support. While they come in a range of designs and styles, they are generally used to create A-shape, tripod, or similar designs that use one structure to support the other. But, due to its strong nature, a trellis made from bamboo can support most climbing plants and vines.
20. Plastic Trellis
While it’s a less popularly used material, you can still find a good number of plastic trellises. Plastic trellises are great for gardeners that want to add colors to the garden, the most common type of plastic trellises are the wall-mounted or free-standing plastic lattices.
You can find plastic lattices in a range of colors, from green to gray, white, and even brighter colors, like red and yellow. Other plastic trellises come in the form of expandable bunnings. But, due to their lightweight nature, you want to use smaller or less heavy plants on these.
Nonetheless, you can use these types of plastic trellises to achieve a fully evergreen or flower wall design. Simply mount multiple bunnings on the wall, filling the entire wall, and attach your plant of choice.
21. PVC Trellis
You can also find PVC trellis on the market. This type of trellis tends to be simple but practical. They come in rectangular or square naked framed style, arched naked frames, and even wall or fence leaning vertical panels.
PVC trellises also work on a variety of plants that require support and offer creative ways to grow and display your plants. For instance, you can use the right-sized square or rectangular naked framed PVC trellis to support tomatoes. Use hooks to attach twine pulling and holding the tomato vines intact, allowing the plants to remain upright and growing upwards.
As the plant begins producing its fruits, you will be impressed with the colorful view of green to red tomatoes. Alternatively, get a shorter PVC arch trellis to train your pumpkin plants on the garden entryway, allowing pumpkins to swarm the entrance during fall for an inviting look.
Alternative – Build your own trellis
If you want to create your trellis for budgetary or creative purposes, you can do so too. Trellises are among the most versatile garden pieces and allow you to create designs based on your needs. This means that you can take any of the millions of ideas available or even devise one yourself. Here are our favorite DIY design picks;
Twiggy branches: This trellis resembles an A-frame, obelisk, tripod, and teepee trellis. However, it tends to be a smaller version. Instead of wood or metal, it uses tree twigs. For a more secure and stable build, you want to use at least 10 medium-sized (not too thin) twigs held together by sturdy twine.
At least one-eighth of each twig’s length should be buried into the ground for added stability. This trellis design is ideal for plants, such as tomatoes or ornamental clematis, and adds depth when trying to achieve that rugged “au naturel” look in your garden.
Repurposed items: What makes DIY trellis interesting is that you can use any usable item readily available in your home to create one. So, if you can’t afford the traditional items needed for a trellis, you can simply use what you have. An excellent trellis design idea is a repurposed curtain rod trellis.
Use old rods to create a square or rectangular frame and attach a wire mesh in the middle or extra rods to create interior partitions. You can also paint the rods with colorful shades to give them more life. Once done, place them in your garden in a freestanding style or mount them on the wall. A colorful trellis works great with equally colorful plants, whether flowering vines or fruit-bearing plants.
Wagon Wheel: This particular DIY trellis design works perfectly for ornamental flower gardens, adding a rustic touch. Additionally, if you love to host people over or have a public event space, you can use these DIY trellises to create a picturesque and photographic garden space.
All you need is an old wagon wheel or bike wheel and the plant you want to grow. You can also set it up how you want, whether still attached to an old bike, mounted on a wall, or fitted on a wooden platform to enhance its height.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Can I Use My Trellis For?
Garden trellises are used for a range of applications. The primary purpose of a trellis is to support climbing plants and vines. However, you can also use a trellis without plants as a decorative accent piece in your garden.
Depending on the design, some trellises even come with a multiple-use design. For instance, you can use a fence trellis to support plants and serve as an actual fence. On the other hand, a pergola fitted with a thick enough choice of plants can double as a garden or patio shade.
What is Best to Grow on Trellis?
You can grow a vast range of climbing plants and vines on a trellis. These include vegetables and legumes, such as peas and beans, and vine crops, like squash, pumpkins, and cucumbers. You can also plant ornamental flowering creepers, such as climbing roses, climbing hydrangeas, and clematis, to mention a few.
How Much Will I Pay for a Garden Trellis?
You should expect to pay anywhere between $25 and as high as $10,000 for a garden trellis. For instance, you can find small metal cage trellis for about $25 to $50. On the other hand, a fully built garden gazebo trellis can cost as high as $10,000 or more based on the material, size, and design.
Similarly, you can spend more or less if you choose to build your own garden trellis. This is because you will still have to consider the materials, amount of materials, size of trellis, and design of the trellis.
Trellises are categorized based on their shapes, designs, materials, and styles, depending on how you see fit. In these categories, the number of types of trellises usually doesn’t exceed a few dozen. Nonetheless, when it comes to the designs, styles, and sizes available on the market, the options are endless.
In fact, it’s always better to look at it as what your garden needs rather than the style or designs available on the market. With their versatility, you can even build the trellis design you have in mind.
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