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Five ways to use trellis in your garden

07 May 2019

Trellis is a piece of open framework used to show climbing plants off to best advantage. But it can also be used as an ornamental feature in its own right – as a privacy screen, a structural accent or a decorative boundary marker.

Typically trellis is made from wood, although it can also be made from other materials like metal, bamboo or plastic. Trellis panels come in all sizes and, used creatively, add real interest to your garden. Here are 5 of our favourite ways to make the most of this versatile fence panel.

1: Support vertical planting

Purple clematis flowering over trellis
Use a simple trellis to show off plants like clematis to dramatic advantage.
Image source: Dariusz Leszczynski

A garden without climbing plants can feel a little one dimensional. A traditional English country garden just wouldn’t be the same without climbing honeysuckle, rambling roses, clematis-draped arches and wisteria-clad walls.

When supporting vertical planting, trellis panels allow some of the most glorious plants and colourful foliage to take centre stage. Use them to show off climbing plants in parts of the garden that would otherwise be off limits, or affix panels either side of your front door as the perfect way to frame the entrance.

2: Decorate

Pink chair, buddha head and a green trellis in outdoor garden
Use trellis like outdoor textured wallpaper in an outdoor courtyard.
Image source: Shutterstock

When painted and affixed to walls, trellis panels can be used to add interest to large areas of boring blank space.

Try adding a row of evenly spaced panels to exterior garage walls or break up a courtyard with striking splashes of colour. Whether or not the trellis is used to support plants, the pattern and texture add an unusual architectural element to any outside space.

3: Privacy screening

Collection of four images showing a garden growing and over the different seasons. Hedging at the back grows to fill in gaps
Trellis makes an elegant boundary fence
Image source: hannamariah

In a small garden or seating area, trellis panels are an elegant way to frame the space while allowing light and air to circulate. Carefully chosen evergreen vines and plants provide as much or a little privacy as you wish.

Heavily overlooked gardens can benefit from adding short trellis panels to the tops of walls and fences for additional privacy without blocking light.

4: Disguise

Evergreen Hedge Trellis from Waltons
Disguise bins and storage areas in your garden with trellis
Image: Expandable Artificial Evergreen Hedge Trellis from Waltons

Trellis panels are an ideal way to disguise unsightly areas of your garden such as compost heaps, bin stores or storage areas.

An easy way to box in untidy outdoor utility areas, paint your trellis dark grey or black to make it recede into the background, or brighter colours like red, blue or orange to make it a focal feature. Evergreen climbing plants like star jasmine will conceal those things that you prefer not to have on show.

5. Partition

A white painted trellis that divides the garden
Painted in striking white, this trellis effectively divides the garden.
Image source: perlphoto

Used creatively, trellis is a fantastic way to partition areas of your outside space. You might want to separate your working vegetable plot from the more ornamental areas of your garden, or create an informal play area for children. You could designate a specific area for pets or section large gardens into smaller outdoor “rooms,” each with their own purpose and ambiance.

When designing the elaborate garden at Versailles, landscape architect, André Le Nôtre, famously used trellis to play with light and shade. Walls of vine-clad trellis were used to reinforce symmetry, strengthen perspectives and suddenly reveal unexpected surprises. Used for all year round interest, his trellis was a beautiful addition to this famous garden, even without any plants being in leaf or bloom.

An incredibly versatile and elegant solution to many gardening issues, trellis panels are also a simple way to add structure and height to everyday gardens. Send us your photos or tag us on Instagram or Pinterest to show us how you’ve used yours.

Feature Image: Bill Florence

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