Choosing the right trellis for your garden
Posted: December 01, 2015
Categories: Garden Design
Choosing the right trellis for your garden is vital. It's not just a plant support – selecting the design and material wisely will enhance your garden's look, provide a framework for climbers and privacy for you.
Opting for cheap, poor quality, or not fit for purpose designs can lead to snapped plants, lost crops and expensive damage.
So what are your choices?
First, look at the style of your garden. If it's traditional, go for classic designs in natural wood, such as diamond lattice patterns within a framework, or simple fans that will sit above pots along a wall.
If your look is contemporary or quirky, think clean lines, either in wood or metal. Make the trellis a real design feature by staining it a contrasting colour and repeating the pattern along a wall with minimal planting.
A vegetable or fruit plot needs to be practical. Choose heavy-duty trellis for tomatoes, runner beans, climbing courgettes and squashes – their weight can be substantial, so secure fastening is a must.
Another option is the obelisk - a 3D trellis. They provide structural 'full stops' in borders, especially in winter and make use of vertical space. By placing tall objects across the line of sight, the viewer has something to discover – hidden vistas invite you to explore. Obelisks are ideal for sweet peas, nasturtiums, morning glory and crops like runner beans and thornless blackberries.
It's important you get the right good-quality trellis for the job. Wooden panels should be pressure treated and have an anti-rot guarantee; metal designs should have a rust-proof or plastic coating.
Bear in mind your garden's weather conditions and prevailing winds. If panels are going to be free-standing, or used as a fence, choose heavy-duty wood, with pressure-treated fence posts concreted in.
In a windy area, choose widely-spaced slats. Anything more solid will act like a sail and will be blown down. If you get a lot of rain, make sure there's a sloping lip on the top of panels, so water runs off.
You can manipulate privacy by the size of the lattice and what you grow on it. If it's only important in the warmer months, choose perennial climbers like the golden hop (Humulus lupulus aureus) or everlasting sweet pea (Lathyrus), which die down in winter. If you want year-round cover, choose an evergreen such as ivy, or use wall-trained shrubs like Pyracantha or holly.
If your trellis is supporting climbing roses or late-flowering clematis, make sure you buy panels that look stylish when they aren't covered by plants – roses are pruned to a low framework in autumn and clematis are cut back in spring.
Trelliswork doesn't have just a supporting role, but is a feature in its own right. Its versatility, from obelisk to screen to wall panel, makes it one of the designer's favourite tools. Always buy trellis that's fit for purpose – untreated wood or metal will collapse, taking with it expensive plants.