Thinking about installing a trellis in your garden? There are many potential locations for it.
Mounted on a wall, in or at the back of a planter, behind a sitting area as a privacy fence, in your vegetable garden as a support for plants—you can always find room for a trellis in your garden.
That said, you don’t want style and design to be your only considerations when installing a trellis.
How to decide where to put a trellis in the garden
To find the best place for your trellis, consider what plants will grow on it, sun exposure, trellis material and design, air circulation, and local regulations. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.
This quick guide applies to both store-bought trellises and those you make yourself.
Full-sun climbers like clematis like to face the south while peas or green beans need only up to about five hours of sunlight and prefer cooler temperatures.
Always position the trellis with the plant it supports in mind.
Plants that need a trellis include:
- Climbing plants such as clematis, hydrangea, bougainvillea, Virginia creeper, sweet pea, ivy, and roses
- Peas and green beans
- Vine crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, pumpkins, and melons
- Other edible plants that can grow vertically including peppers, radishes, or hops
Type of garden
Maximize sun exposure by placing your trellis with your garden orientation in mind.
- South-facing gardens receive the most sunlight and give you the most options. But remember to plan for shade as not all trellis plants like to bask in the sun all day.
- North-facing gardens receive less sun and tend to be cooler, so you want to put the trellis where it gets enough sun.
- East-facing gardens get the most sun in the morning. Place the trellis where it isn’t obscured at that time of day.
- West-facing gardens have more shade near the house, so you may have to place trellises away from it.
Most plants need good air circulation to develop well, resist pests, and stay healthy. This is something to remember when installing a trellis on a wall or in a corner.
Some trellises are designed for a specific use such as arch trellises for walkways or A-frame trellises for cucumbers. Trying to fit a ready-made trellis to a more problematic location isn’t always the best idea. You may be better off building a simple DIY trellis using readily available materials.
Consider also the material from which your trellis is made. Wooden trellises that haven’t been treated to resist rot won’t last long if exposed to the elements, so give them some cover if possible.
For an exposed location, choose a pressure-treated or painted wooden trellis, or pick an alternative material like stainless steel, copper, or PVC.
Mowing and garden maintenance
The beauty of a trellis may carry you away, but you don’t want to install it where it gets in the way of mowing and other regular garden maintenance activities. Freestanding trellises in particular tend to need some space around them.
Depending on local regulations, some trellises may be considered fences. This means they shouldn’t exceed the maximum height allowed for fences, e.g., 2 meters. Always check local regulations before installing a large trellis.
Inspired trellis location ideas in your garden
The best locations for trellises include garden walls or fences, vertical vegetable gardens, planters, and anywhere you want to create a privacy screen. Let’s explore some of the best locations for a garden trellis.
There are plenty of options across styles and budgets, so it’s quite impossible not to find an option that works for your space.
1. Mounted on a wall or fence with brackets
Create a striking backdrop for your garden by installing a wooden trellis against a back wall or fence. You’ll need brackets and screws to support the frame.
2. In the vegetable garden
A-frame trellises are great for cucumbers and peas. For beans, you can use simple pole trellises. For squash, tomatoes, and melons wire mesh or any grid trellis provides excellent support.
3. In or behind a planter box or container
Stake a trellis in a planter box or container to help tall plants grow straight. Always choose a trellis that’s proportional to the size of the container. Avoid installing tall trellises in small pots. You can also add one behind a box planter for décor.
4. As a privacy screen anywhere you need it
Diamond-pattern wooden trellises and wrought iron ones are popular as privacy screens in any area of the garden. They are often more elegant than wall partitions or bamboo fences and provide the air circulation climbing plants need.
5. Right into a flowerbed
Small, corkscrew trellises provide elegant support to plants without shading neighbouring plants. They’re a good choice whether you want to add visual detail to a flower bed or simply protect plants against mischievous winds.
6. In any vertical garden
Trying to build a vertical garden? Whether it’s meant to be a new feature of your main garden or a separate garden that reimagines unused space, trellises can add vertical height to your greenery and help plants develop better.
7. As a partition between a garden and yard
A simple trellis can help you create a transitional area between your garden and yard. It can also divide different areas of your garden.
8. At the entrance to your gazebo
Add some colour and fragrance to your gazebo entrance by hanging a trellis above it. Or frame the entrance with two freestanding trellises. Even a small trellis in a planter can make guests feel more welcome.
9. To create a walkway tunnel
Few garden features are more striking than wisteria growing on an arched trellis tunnel. You can opt for a wrought iron trellis or simply build one using arched cattle wire supported by T-posts.
10. To frame outbuildings
Garden storage spaces may be necessary, but they don’t have to look drab. With trellises, you can frame them in greenery and colour.
11. Over a downspout
Stuck with a downspout that looks at odds with everything else in your garden? Install a trellis over it and grow a climber to make it look as if it’s raining greenery.
12. As a fence trellis
Whether it’s between neighbours or different parts of your property, a fence trellis is easier to set up than a regular fence and looks way better. It also improves air circulation and requires less maintenance.
13. Leaning against a wall
A simple wooden trellis or a repurposed pallet helps you turn an average wall into a green corner. But make sure that the trellis is fixed in place or heavy enough not to be upset by the wind.
14. As a patio or deck trellis
Got a patio or deck in your garden? You can choose from a variety of standing, hanging, and attachable trellises that can enhance the outside as well as the inside of your lounging space.
15. Just about anywhere else in your garden
You can add more texture, contrast, and height to your garden with freestanding trellises for décor. You can use them to border paths, provide a backdrop for low-growing plants, cover the shaded space between trees, and in many other creative ways. Just make sure to consider the requirements of the plants.
The Trellis Factor
Few garden features highlight plants as well as trellises. Regardless of your gardening style, you can always find a place for a trellis on your green patch, whether it’s dazzlingly ornamental, minimalist, or classic.
But while trellises themselves can be installed just about anywhere, remember that the climbers and creepers growing on them are a bit more pretentious. Let the sun and shade requirements of the plants guide your choice and you won’t ever place a trellis in the wrong place.