17 Trellis Ideas to Turn Your Yard into a Grand Garden


These 17 trellis ideas show that, by incorporating a little latticework into your landscape design, you can transform a basic backyard into a gorgeous garden. To learn how to make the most of these outdoor accent pieces, we spoke with experts from around the country, including trellis craftsmen, plant gurus, as well as both landscape and interior designers. In this trellis tutorial, the pros prove that not only do these multifunctional features provide support for climbing plants, they also serve as privacy screens, garden-gates, outdoor architecture, protection from the sun, and full-fledged pieces of art.

What exactly is a trellis?

According to the team at Craiger Custom Design, a carpentry company based in Crystal Lake, Illinois, that specializes in outdoor projects, a trellis is a framework or structure that’s used as a support for climbing plants or as a decorative feature. These pieces—which can be made of wood, metal, PVC, or even bamboo poles—may be freestanding or attached to a wall. While arbors and pergolas are slightly different (the former tends to have an arched roof and the latter is often a much larger four-post structure that’s topped with beams and rafters), both often have trellises for sides.

What are some popular garden trellis ideas at the moment?

The trellis in its most basic form is a tomato cage, so it follows that many people use these structures for growing fruit and veggie climbers. Carrie Spoonemore, cocreator of Park Seed’s From Seed to Spoon app, is a fan of using trellises for this very reason, especially when you want to make the most of a small garden. “Trellises allow vining plants like tomatoes or cucumbers to grow vertically, saving space,” she says.

Interior designer Dara Segbefia of The Zen Experience in Los Angeles also appreciates a trellis-to-table garden, “especially for snap peas, spinach, and beans.” She adds, “I have even seen watermelons growing from trellises!”

Beyond growing produce, Ross Vehring of Craiger Custom Design says clients are using trellis designs to create private outdoor escapes. “At the moment, we are really into creating living walls with trellises, using climbing plants to create a green oasis,” he says. “We also like the idea of using trellises to create separate outdoor spaces, such as a private dining area or reading nook.”

What are the easiest plants to grow on a trellis?

Landscape designer Melissa Gerstle of Melissa Gerstle Design in Dallas, Texas, prefers to use evergreen flowering vines for a look that lasts all year. “Star jasmine is a favorite, which is evergreen and has a delicious scent from the blooms,” she says. Additionally, Segbefia recommends wisteria, English ivy, and hydrangeas for their scaling skills, and Vehring says you can’t go wrong with clematis, honeysuckle, and climbing roses.

What can you use as trellis alternatives?

“Specifically for growing plants, cattle panels make a good alternative to a more traditional trellis,” says Erich Schumacher of Trellis Structures in East Templeton, Massachusetts. “You could also use driftwood or reclaimed wood to create a surface for plants to grow on. Using reclaimed materials is a good approach because not only does it free you from worrying about durability, it also lets you flex your creativity,” he says.

Repurposing items you already have in your garage is another option. “Using old ladders, metal pipes, or even bicycle frames are some trellis alternative ideas,” Vehring says. “They add a unique and interesting touch to a garden space.”

How can you create a DIY trellis?

For an easy DIY project that’ll support a vertical garden, Schumacher recommends using bamboo sticks. He says, “You can make a bean tipi by attaching them at the top with a roll of twine or some zip ties and splaying out the base to allow lighter plants to grow up.” Another DIY garden idea is to use an old bed spring as a trellis. Segbefia says, “You can get creative and spray paint the springs your favorite color to make them pop in your backyard as your plants become beautifully intertwined. For a smaller trellis, you could use an old expandable coat rack and position that into the dirt.”

If you’re ready to add a trellis to your outdoor space, consider the following ideas.


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