The 10 Best Garden Trellises
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in June of 2016. Perfect for climbing flowers, fruits and vegetables, as well as decorative vegetation, such as creeping vines, our selection of garden trellises will add a pleasant finishing touch to your outdoor display. They provide the critical support necessary for your plants to yield a bountiful harvest, and can be used freestanding, against a wall, or in a planter, depending on your needs. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
April 22, 2020:
This round of updates saw the majority of our previous rankings removed due to availability issues. The former selections we eliminated are the Gardman Finial, Panacea Products Fan, Amagabeli Black, Amagabeli Butterfly, Gardener’s Supply Company Folding and Gardener’s Supply Company Essex Decorative. Some of our new additions include the Gardener's Supply Company Titan A-Frame – a freestanding model that can support 26 pounds of produce, the MyGift Plant Display Screen – a collapsible section of lattice that can extend to be wider than eight feet, and the H Potter Garden Lotus – a striking wrought-iron model that bares a resemblance to its titular flower.
A few things to consider for this category:
Assembly and Installation: While there’s an assembly and installation process associated with every model we ranked, the level of effort required by each option varies considerably, so make sure you pick one that you’re willing to take on. While both the Dura-Trel Winchester and Dura-Trel Camelot come with pre-cut pieces and pre-drilled holes, some users of the Winchester – which is considerably wider than the Camelot – have noted that it’s prone to sagging over time. With that in mind, installing some extra screws or finding a means of supporting its bottom beam is recommended with this option.
Other options, like the Highwood AD-TREL1, simply need to be driven into the ground and leaned against a wall. A similar approach can be taken with models like the H Potter Italian, although that option is also available with wall brackets, for locations where high winds are a concern.
Maintenance: For the most part, all of our selections tend to be quite low maintenance, although that’s truer for some than others.
Wood models – like the cedar MyGift Plant Display Screen and Acacia Classic Home and Garden Wood Obelisk – should stand up well to the weather, but they will become discolored over time. Some users find that this transformation only makes their pieces more beautiful, and gives a uniqueness to them. Others, who find that it makes their pieces look worn out and shabby, might want to consider painting or staining their trellis – although this will lead to an eventual need for recoating.
Metal models – like the Gardener's Supply Company Titan A-Frame and the H Potter Garden Lotus – often use polyethylene or powder coating to help protect them from the elements, and it should be effective if it’s done right, but refinishing might be necessary sometime down the road, in order to mitigate rust and optimize longevity.
Vinyl models – like the New England Arbors London Vinyl and Dura-Trel Camelot – can still be painted, in some cases, but are typically intended to be left unfinished, and are designed to endure the test of time. The only maintenance they require is the occasional wipe down with a damp rag, or a spray down with a garden hose.
Aesthetics: While some of our selections – specifically larger models like the Dura-Trel Winchester and Gardener's Supply Company Titan A-Frame, which are aimed at utilitarian users whose main concern is crop yield – are quite plain and neutral in their appearance, other options – especially metal models like the H Potter Yard Art and H Potter Garden Lotus – can double as a striking art piece or decorative feature for your yard or patio, although they tend to present less room for plant growth.
And if style is a primary concern of yours, you might want to check out our list of garden arbors, which look great in many yards and present tons of room for climbing plants.
Woodworkers Workshop If none of the selections on our list are catching your eye, and you've got a basic skillset in carpentry, you might want to consider building your own trellis. Woodworkers Workshop has 20 trellis plans available free of charge, as well as a few for sale. woodworkersworkshop.com
Take Your Plants To A Higher Level
Thanks to the garden trellis, plant lovers of all types can maximize their available space by planting vegetables and flowers in a vertical fashion.
It’s ironic: as the modern workforce increasingly finds itself strapped to a computer and confined to indoor office spaces, study after scientific study reveals that exposure to nature and plant life plays an important role in our overall health and emotional wellbeing.
While suburbanites and small-town folks often enjoy access to greenery in the form of a backyard garden, many city dwellers simply write off their inability to cultivate plants as one of the sacrifices of urban life — though this needn’t be the case.
Thanks to the garden trellis, plant lovers of all types can maximize their available space by planting vegetables and flowers in a vertical fashion. As a structure that’s both decorative and functional, a trellis not only adds elegance to your outdoor space, it can provide extra security for your property as well as plant-growing benefits that go above and beyond what a traditional horizontal garden can offer.
A trellis is a solid vertical support structure that characteristically rests against a wall or a fence, serving as a backbone for vines, fruits, vegetables, and flowers, allowing them to flourish organically across its surface. As attractive as a row of flowerbeds or a well-manicured lawn garden may look, a decked-out trellis and some quality lighting will surround you in illuminated greenery, creating a truly special atmosphere.
Taking a vertical approach to growing plants has benefits outside of aesthetics — it helps many crops avoid diseases and insects that stem from the ground. In certain environments, your plants will enjoy greater access to sunlight, as well. All of this can lead to higher quality produce and less damage to fruits and vegetables.
If you’re concerned that maintaining shrubbery on a trellis will require more time and effort than a traditional garden, put those worries to bed. The watering process is actually more efficient, as you can simply target the base of the plant instead of spraying across a sprawling landscape. This helps you avoid overwatering, too.
Harvesting fruits and vegetables also tends to be a much simpler task. Rather than digging through a mishmash of vines, leaves, and limbs, you can easily identify individual pieces to pluck directly off the trellis without bending over or descending to your knees.
Outfitting Your Outdoor Sanctuary
Your personal style, existing décor, and the type of vegetation you plan to cultivate will all play a role in the type of trellis you choose. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of designs from which you might select.
You’re probably familiar with the arch trellis, a Victorian-style structure with two flat sides and a rounded top. A fan trellis is essentially a carbon copy of the arch, except that its top flares out instead of creating a dome. This is a popular choice for Japanese gardens.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all trellis materials and designs are suitable for all plants or gardening strategies.
The tripod trellis, while not quite as elegant as arches and fans, is just as practical, with a teepee-like construction that adds an element of natural beauty to your space once it’s covered in blossoming plant life. Urbanites who want to truly maximize the space on their deck or patio may prefer the planter box trellis, which is anchored by a traditional pot at the base for housing additional greenery.
A grid trellis can serve as a garden fence itself, or you can use it to decorate an existing fence. Either way, it’s a reliable option for growing vegetables that like to grab onto something, such as cucumbers or squash. A more complex type that resembles a pyramid, the obelisk trellis is a tall structure that will dominate your space, prominently displaying whatever you’ve chosen to grow.
As you’ll be setting up the trellis outdoors, it’s important to consider its material and how it will fare long-term in the environment in which you live. Wood is a classic option, as it’s tailor-made for rustic outdoor spaces and charming in a way other materials simply can’t match.
If extreme weather is one of your primary concerns, check out some vinyl models. These won’t fade, even when exposed continuously to intense sunlight, and frigid temperatures and moisture have little impact on this material. Metal trellises are nearly indestructible and require virtually no maintenance, and if you’re willing to make a solid investment, they can look quite elegant, as well.
It’s important to keep in mind that not all trellis materials and designs are suitable for all plants or gardening strategies. For example, plants with tendrils prefer a gridded support system to achieve a secure attachment, whereas you can easily bind plants without tendrils to different types of trellises with clips or zip ties. Plants that crawl and sprawl extensively may necessitate a sturdier framework than less aggressive species.
Preparing To Plant The Seeds
Trellises come in a wide range of sizes and heights, so make sure you’re comfortable setting up and managing the model you select. You must situate your trellis on a site you know is compatible with the specific plants you’re attempting to cultivate.
Once you select a location, consider the sunlight it will receive — both the angle and the average daily duration.
Once you select a location, consider the sunlight it will receive — both the angle and the average daily duration. To get the most out of the sunlight available, assemble the trellis with a north-south orientation, and consider tilting it in one direction or another to give the plants more direct exposure.
Try to leave about a foot of open space between the ground and the bottom of your vegetation, as this will help prevent pests or diseases on the ground from becoming a nuisance. When considering shade, you should try to locate the trellis a substantial distance from buildings, structures, and other trellises that may prevent sunlight from reaching your plants.
It may seem apparent, but it’s worth mentioning that you need to ensure your trellis is strong and stable enough to support any fruits and vegetables you plan to grow on it. Most plants consist mainly of water weight — after a heavy rainstorm, those cute little tomatoes may resemble something closer to bulbous red baseballs, and their weight will reflect that.