Annual climbers and vines can be grown vertically to make the most of the space in your vegetable garden. Trellis ideas abound. But choosing the right trellis structure can be important in making the most of the garden space available, and ensuring success with your garden crops.
When thinking about trellis ideas, it is important to consider:
- Where a trellis will be placed.
- What materials a trellis will be made from.
- The size and shape of the structure.
- What the trellis is used for (a trellis might not just provide plants with support. It may serve other functions too.
To help you make the best choices for your own particular garden, and the plants that you choose to grow, we’ll explore each of these considerations below.
Positioning a Trellis
Of course, when analysing different trellis ideas, the first thing you will have to think about is where, specifically, a trellis will be placed.
One thing to think about in this regard is which plants you plan to grow on it. Are they plants which require full sun? Or can you get away with a more shaded position? What soil conditions and other environmental conditions will be available at the base of the structure? Will your plants be growing in the ground, in raised beds, or in containers?
You need to think holistically about the site as a whole, and consider how the situation will impact the plants growing up the trellis.
You also need to consider how the placement of the trellis will impact other plants growing close by, and how it will impact the rest of the features and elements in your garden.
Remember, it might be beneficial to be able to move annual trellises each year, for crop -rotation purposes. So if you need a moveable structure this is something else to consider.
Materials for a Trellis for Annual Climbers and Vines
Once you have decided what you wish to grow on a trellis, and have determined where that trellis should be placed, another key consideration is, of course, what the structure will be made from.
You can, if you wish, purchase a trellis. There are many ready-made trellises on the market to choose from, in a range of materials, shapes and sizes. However, in an eco-friendly and sustainable garden, making your own using natural or reclaimed materials can be a great idea.
We highly recommend considering making your own trellis from materials you might already have on hand. Looking around you and making use of what is already available will reduce your consumption and save you money.
It is possible to make a trellis from bamboo, or natural branches pruned from your garden. You might even make your own string to tie the structure together if you are feeling ambitious. Make Garden twine from nettles, and a range of other plant materials, for example.
Reclaimed materials can also be used to make a trellis structure. Reclaimed wood, reclaimed metal like fence panels, rebar, plumping pipe, old fencing wire etc.., even items like old metal gates, cot sides or bed frames could also be repurposed imaginatively in your garden. These are just a few examples of the ways in which you might use materials that might otherwise be thrown away.
Trellis Shape and Size
Once you have decided what to make your trellis from, you may also have to consider how large to make it, and what shape it should take.
When determining how large a trellis should be, you will of course have to consider the size and vigour of the plants you plan to grow on it.
Of course, the size of a trellis might also be dictated by the amount of space that is available.
Remember, trellises might be against a wall or fence. They might be free-standing vertical structures. They might be shaped into an arch, a column or obelisk, or a wigwam. You might make an A-frame, V-frame, or T frame structure.
Again, when choosing a shape for a trellis, think about where it will be placed and the plants that you wish to grow on and around it.
Trellis Ideas for Multiple Functions
Remember, a trellis is primarily a support structure for your annual climbers and vines in a vegetable garden. But remember, when used for annual crops, a trellis might have other functions too.
For example, a trellis might also provide some shade for plants growing to the north, or east of it during the summer months.
A trellis might also be useful in providing wind-breaking in certain circumstances – protecting more delicate crops grown on the leeward side.
Trellis might also be a useful way to create some division between different parts of your garden, even helping to designate different ‘garden rooms’. It might help to screen views of the summer months while clad with your annual climbers and vines.
A trellis with perennial climbers can separate a space and perhaps provide shady and private areas year round. But one think about using a trellis for annual climbers and vines is that it will be clad only in summer. This might be beneficial in providing shade during the summer for a seating area, perhaps, while allowing more light to reach the space in the colder months of the year.
Of course, trellis might be used inside a polytunnel or other undercover growing area as well as outdoors in your garden. Such a trellis might be used not only as a support for annual climbers and vines but also as a support for hanging containers, or vertical garden elements.
Trellis structures that cover an area (wigwam shaped structures, arched, or A-frame structures for example) might create a useful area below that might be used in a range of ways – not only to grow crops that benefit from some shade in summer, but also, perhaps, as a space for kids to play…
You might also consider using such a structure to grow annual plants in summer, then cover it in winter to create a protected undercover area for recreation or year-round growing.
These are just a few trellis ideas to consider that show how such as trellis for annual climbers and vines might prove useful in other ways too.
Considering the above, and thinking holistically about your garden and your space will help you make the right trellis choices for your garden.
Elizabeth Waddington is a writer and green living consultant living in Scotland. Permaculture and sustainability are at the heart of everything she does, from designing gardens and farms around the world, to inspiring and facilitating positive change for small companies and individuals.
She also works on her own property, where she grows fruit and vegetables, keeps chickens and is working on the eco-renovation of an old stone barn.
To get in touch, visit https://ewspconsultancy.com.