Think Outside the Box with Trellises and Vines

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
Think Outside the Box with Trellises and Vines

Your garden is a reflection of who you are, so when it comes to choosing a trellis, why play it safe and go the conventional route?

The same goes for vines. Sure, you can choose traditional roses but why not get creative and grow something a little more unusual instead?

Don’t overlook some of the obvious ‘trellises’ in your garden that are just waiting to be planted! Downspouts and rain-chains, for instance, are just crying out for a delicate vine to twine up them. But beware – many vines turn into thugs, quickly turning your charming idea into an ungainly mess. Wisteria or Trumpet Vine, for example, would rip a gutter off your house in just a few months! Instead, choose a well-behaved vine such as the Mexican Flame Vine, Clematis or Mandevilla to politely scramble up the side of your house.


Remember to take advantage of the vertical growing surfaces arbors provide to sneak in a few edibles, such as grapes or kiwis. These vines not only provide beauty and shade but they provide food as well. Just make sure you pick the fruit before it becomes over-ripe and makes a colossal mess!

Bean House

And if you have room in your vegetable garden why not use a trellis to support a rambunctious tomato vine? Or a squash? Or cucumbers? Better yet, consider fashioning your trellis into an unusual shape, such as this ‘bean house’ to add an extra dose of creativity to your vegetable plot.


Wood or metal are the default choice for garden structures for good reason – they’re affordable, sturdy, readily available and fit well in a range of landscapes. But if you want to include something with a bit more personality, consider alternative materials.


For the truly adventurous, creating a structure out of living material elevates an arbor or trellis to a work of art. These willow branches, for example, are a simple project even a novice gardener can tackle. When the willow tree is dormant, cut some long branches, bend them into the desired size and plunk them into a container of potting mix. Use shorter willow cuttings to connect the long ones, and tie with twine. Wait a few weeks (watering lightly when the soil feels dry) and voila! A living arbor!


And why not consider your children’s outgrown play structure as a trellis just waiting to be planted! Even if your kids were still using it, wouldn’t it be delightful to climb up into this fort to pick the flowers?

So before you rush off to the garden center to buy a run-of-the-mill wooden trellis, take a walk around your garden - you’d be amazed at what you already have!