The Trellis – Both Ornament and Architecture

Every garden or outdoor space could use just a little support. That’s where the trellis comes in. This beautiful feature can enhance any outdoor space by giving it both height and dimension. It can be a show-stopping architectural piece, or it can seamlessly blend into the background and let the natural beauty of the surrounding plants shine through. A trellis can be beautiful, transforming a flat garden into a climbing masterpiece. It can also be functional, supporting trees and vegetables until they drop the fruits of their labor.

Adding a trellis to your residential or commercial property is an easy way to enhance the natural beauty of your outdoor space. Interested in how something as simple as a trellis can transform your property? Talk to the skilled contractors at Ware Landscaping. From start to finish, we can help you plan, design, and install a trellis or trellises. Ready for a consultation? Call us at (630) 885-6370 and talk to one of our experienced landscapers about how we can help you implement your outdoor vision.

What is a Trellis?

A trellis is a framework that is comprised of vertical supports and horizontal cross pieces. Trellises are most typically used to train and support climbing plants such as flowers, vines, shrubs, or small trees. They can also be used to support vegetables and even potted plants. A trellis is sometimes confused with its cousin, the lattice. Lattices are made of wooden strips that are arranged in a square or diagonal pattern. While some plants can be trained to climb a lattice, they are more frequently used as a privacy screening or to cover less visually appealing aspects of a home or outdoor space.

While the trellis itself is generally used to show off plants, in the past, the trellis was considered a piece of architectural artwork. They were pieces to be admired on their own and not simply a skeleton for foliage. Today the trellis can be used in a variety of ways, both as structural support for someone’s favorite plants and as a beautiful architectural work that draws the eye to a particular portion of the landscape.

Best Materials for Trellises

Traditionally the trellis was made from lightweight and flexible wood. Lightweight and flexible woods have been ideal trellis materials because they are easy to form and manipulate into shapes. They are also easily moved to new areas from season to season, depending on an individual’s landscaping needs.

However, today trellises can be made from a variety of materials. Choosing the right material means closely considering what type of plant the trellis will be supporting, where the trellis needs to be placed, and if it should be easily movable. Some of the most common materials used to make trellises include:

  • Wood. A wooden trellis is light, flexible, and gives any outdoor space a more nature-based appearance. Wooden trellises are easier to move, especially if you only want to use them seasonally or for gardening. There is a wide range of types of wood that may be used to create a trellis. Softwoods are lighter in weight but may rot more easily when exposed to the elements and if not continuously treated for outdoor conditions. Hardwoods are beautiful and more rot-resistant. They can handle the weight of hardier plants, trees, and shrubs but are also heavier, which you must keep in mind if you intend to move them frequently. Some hardwoods are also a little more expensive and may not be budget-friendly. Overall, wood is the most common and popular choice for a trellis.
  • Bamboo. Bamboo is strong, flexible, and lightweight. Bamboo is also a great eco-friendly option. Bamboo tends to be hardy as well and can stand up to the elements. It will resist rot and significant weathering. 
  • Metal. Metal can also be used to create a trellis. Metal trellises are strong and durable. Many metals and alloys are now able to withstand weathering and rust for long periods of time. They are also strong enough to support the weight of shrubs and trees that bear heavier fruit. However, the type of metal makes a huge difference. Aluminum is lightweight, easy to work with, and can be moved. Stainless steel and wrought iron are heavy, and once in place, it is difficult or unlikely that they can be moved. The weight of these metals can mean that additional support, such as supports driven deep in the ground, may be needed to keep them upright. For those interested in a metal trellis, it is important to keep your location in mind. Metal conducts heat. A metal trellis placed in direct sunlight can get extremely hot, especially in the summer months. The heat that radiates from a metal trellis can negatively impact and even burn tender plants.
  • Plastic. Plastic is a versatile and lightweight option. It will not rot like wood and does not corrode like metal. Plastic also comes in a variety of shapes and colors and can add a punch of personality to a landscaping project.

Trellis Shape

Trellises come in a variety of different shapes. Choosing the right shape is all about determining what type of plants you want the trellis to support. Some shapes are better at supporting certain types of plants than others.

Once you establish what types of plants you are interested in, it will be easy to pick the right shape for the job. Some of the most common trellis shapes include:

  • A-frame
  • Cage
  • Panel or flat
  • Obelisk or tripod
  • Ladder
  • Arch

An experienced landscaper with Ware Landscaping can consult with you about your needs, the type of plants you wish to use, and the area where you want the trellis installed. With this information, we can offer you suggestions on the right material and trellis shape so that you get the maximum benefit from your new piece of landscaping architecture.

Want to Add Height and Dimension? Let’s Build a Trellis

Whether you are a master gardener or just want to add some height and dimension to your landscaping, a trellis is the project for you. The landscaping experts at Ware Landscaping are ready to help you plan, design, and install the trellis of your dreams.

Call us today at (630) 885-6370 to talk with one of our qualified experts and schedule a project consultation.