BuildDirect Blog: Life at Home

How To Install A Garden Trellis

A garden trellis showcases the plants and vines that accentuate your yard or garden. The construction is not difficult, but the design can differ based on preference and the style needed for the area in question. Some popular styles include a stand alone trellis that is an element of a garden arbor, a leaning trellis meant to be planted in a garden bed, a trellis wall that can help to zone an outdoor living space, and a trellis that is attached to a wall or permanent fixture.

Trellis materials

Trellis’s are intended to be sturdy enough to handle the weight of plants that are growing on them, while remaining light enough that they can be moved if necessary. Many times, the initial framing of the side, top, and base consist of 2 x 2 strips of wood, while the basket weaving portions are constructed with 2 x 1 pieces that are overlaid.  This helps the trellis to maintain an attractive appearance, as well as the ability to disappear into the background, helping to showcase your garden.

Designing a trellis

A trellis can be any size. The height and width are completely up to you. However, from a designer’s perspective, the trellis should be two-thirds the height of the wall it’s attached to (if that’s the type of trellis you’re after), or eight feet tall if done in an arch or free standing style. This allows for the plants to grow and weave through the slats, giving the appearance that there is a wall of plants.

As you design your trellis, take measurements and calculate the amount of materials necessary to complete the project. This will make the process of constructing the trellis much easier once started.

Tools to have ready for the project

The tools are simple and basic, but should be readily available so that the process of constructing the trellis is fuss free.

Hammer – A finishing hammer would work well for this project, or an industrial strength staple gun that handles staples of at least one and a quarter inch staple length.
lumber – Be sure the wood is cut to length, and consider using cost effective and easy-to-use furring strips for this process. The pieces can be cut at a hardware store, or with the use of a saw and/or miter box combination.
Chisel – This will be used to create stake-like points on the base of the trellis, so that it can be embedded in the ground for stability.
Anchor Brackets – These are only necessary if the trellis will be anchored to a wall. Make sure to get brackets that can fit snugly around the wood of the trellis.
Industrial Galvanized Screws – If the trellis is to be anchored, industrial galvanized screws will be able to withstand the moisture and weather, while providing a tight grip for a safe attachment.
Drill – Depending on the type of surface the screws are going to be place in, you will need a drill with a bit that can accommodate concrete or wood.

Putting the trellis together

Follow these steps to make this process fast and the trellis strong:

  1. Lay one of the side pieces down vertically for preparation to have horizontal strips attached to it.
  2. Spacing every 12 inches, staple or nail a 1×1 inch strip to one side of the the supporting side rail. Then attach the other side rail, by following the same instructions.
  3. On the back of the horizontal strips, place another supporting vertical strip every 12 inches. This will give strength to the piece and allow for more surface area for plants to grip onto. This will also provide the basket weave look.
  4. Shape the ends of the trellis that will be placed into the ground (optional) to a point. This will help the trellis be firmly placed into the ground.
  5. If fastening to a wall, make sure that the horizontal strips are facing away from the wall. This will allow plant to grow behind the slats.

Uses of a trellis

A trellis can either be decorative or used with plants. If using with plants, you will want to allow the plants to grow for a bit, then you can weave the plant vines through the trellis. The best way to get the plants trained to crawl up the trellis is to use twist ties to fasten the plant to the trellis. It will begin to curve up and grow in the pattern that you want.

The decorative garden trellis

People use trellis for various reasons, many of them having to do with how decorative they are, and how the presence of climbing plants can enhance the look of a property. Some use it to manage the growth of vine fruit and vegetables, like grapes and beans. Others use them for focal points in their landscaping. The trellis is also useful in decorating the home itself, using them to manage plant growth on the exterior of the home to create a striking effect.

However you use your trellis –  enjoy!

Cate Morgan-Harlow

Cate Morgan-Harlow is an all arounder, writing about how-to, DIY, and design with gusto. She is a shadowy figure with a mysterious past.

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