Trellising can form a vital part of the garden, providing a secure way to train and support large or vining plants. As well as helping your plants to thrive, supports can be particularly useful in smaller gardens where they can be used to elevate plants and free up more growing space.
Used correctly, even a cheap trellis can help to bring structure or definition to a space, introduce privacy or form part of a living wall. These useful supports are also a vital part of a vertical or climbing garden. However, you chose to use them, a trellis is a great way to add style to your outside space.
While they are useful some supports can be expensive. The costs increase further if you need a few of them to cover a large space. Happily, you can easily learn how to build a durable cheap trellis.
Learning how to build a durable, cheap trellis also means that you can customize it to fit perfectly in your garden.
This guide is designed to take you through 2 different durable, cheap trellis options that are easy to construct. Either can be customized and adapted to fit into your growing space, providing your plants with reliable support for years to come.
How to Use a Trellis in Your Garden
These are one of the most versatile pieces of garden furniture. Whether the supports are permanent, temporary or mobile, trellising is the ideal way to support both long lasting vining plants and short lived annuals such as pole beans.
One of the bonuses of temporary trellising is that when it is not in use it can be tidied away, helping to keep your garden neat and tidy. It is also easy to move around your garden, enabling you to support plants as they start to spread.
Temporary trellising is a great choice if you are practicing crop rotation. This support solution is easy to move between raised beds and growing areas.
Attaching a durable cheap trellis to your garden fence helps to protect it from damage. Growing vining plants along trellising also enables you to access the vine from both sides, making both pruning and harvesting a lot easier.
Finally, trellising is one of the most versatile pieces of garden furniture. Placing a durable cheap trellis around a patio helps to create a more private space, support plants and even keep pests or animals out.
Growing plants on a trellis helps to protect walls or fences.
What Plants Grow on a Trellis?
A surprising number of plants thrive when supported by a durable cheap trellis. Many annual vegetable plants do best with a little support. These include:
Many plants can be trained to grow along a support frame.
While some of these plants, such as tomatoes, aren’t natural climbers they can be trained or tied to the trellis.
Other plants that produce heavy crops such as melons or squashes need the support of hammocks or slings to support the fruit, preventing the vine from snapping.
Other flowering and edible vining plants that naturally grow along trellising include;
- Kiwi fruit,
- Black-eyed Susan
- Passion flower,
- Passion fruit
- Certain nasturtium varieties.
Vining flowers such as clematis can grow along trellising.
Suitable for so many different plants, and a versatile addition to the garden. Now that you are aware of the many benefits that trellising can bring to your garden, it is time to learn how to build your own durable cheap trellis.
The most important part of constructing a durable cheap trellis is the wire. The wire provides much of the support for your growing plants.
Your wire should be strong enough to support heavy plants and fruit whilst also flexible enough to attach to a frame. Amagabeli Galvanized Metal Wire Mesh is a sturdy option that is robust enough to support even the largest squashes. .
Another option is galvanized wire panels. These are both affordable and durable, particularly when compared to other fencing options such polyester netting. They are also easy to source. You will find a selection of sizes for sale at your local hardware stores.
Wire mesh provides a sturdy, durable support.
Products that are roughly 48 inches to 3.5 ft wide are a good size for your cheap trellis. If you are purchasing panels instead of rolls aim to select panels that are 7 to 8 ft tall. Again, this is a good size for supporting taller plants.
Warning. Be careful when handling your wire mesh. Some products may be less “finished” than others and have sharp edges. Wear durable work gloves when handling your trellising. A small metal file can be used to smooth out any sharp spots. This is recommended if you have young children playing in your garden.
You can also use cattle or hog panel fencing to build your support frame. However, these products are both more expensive to purchase and heavier to handle.
Polyester netting can be used to create a more lightweight support. If properly secured to a frame a netting product such as MELOHO Garden Trellis can provide support to growing plants for a number of years. While not as durable as a wire mesh, polyester supports are easier to handle and cut to size. With a little care they can last for a good few years.
When it comes to selecting your net material, ultimately there is no right or wrong option. Select a product that is suitable for your growing space and that you are confident in handling and shaping.
How to Build a Durable, Cheap Trellis: Method 1
Our first how to build a durable cheap trellis method teaches you how to make simple but reliable trellising. Before you begin, make sure that you have everything that you need.
You will need:
- Wire net or mesh,
- Two tall stakes,
- Zip ties,
If your wire net is not the right size you will also need a pair of bolt cutters to trim it down. If you don’t have bolt cutters you can use heavy-duty metal snips.
Take into account the desired height of your trellis when selecting your stakes. Your finished trellis should take up roughly two thirds of the length of the supports. This may seem excessive but remember, when we position the support structure in the ground we need to bury it at least 1 ft deep to make sure that it is secure and not prone to falling over.
Taller supports, or those supporting heavier plants require planting to a greater depth than smaller supports. Fixing the support to a permanent structure, such as a fence or a raised bed, further helps to secure it in place.
Any type of support can be used to make your cheap trellis, including bamboo, rebar or wood.
Cambaverd Bamboo Stakes with some texture such as grooves, small notches are preferred to smooth stakes. These notches provide somewhere for your wire or zip ties to catch onto. Without these notches your wire support may start to slip down to the ground.
Before you start to build your durable cheap trellis, take a look at where you want to install the support. Measure out the dimensions of the space. You may need to trim your wire netting down to size with the snips or bolt cutters.
You can either construct your support frame in situ, placing the stakes in the soil and attaching the wire mesh or net, or build it flat and install the finished frame later. The latter option is easier, particularly if you are working alone.
Begin by attaching the mesh or netting to one of your support stakes. Make sure that the zip ties are securely fastened.
When attaching, try to keep the stake as close to the edge of the wire as possible. This helps to improve the stability of the finished structure.
Once secured to the first support, stretch the wire net out to the desired width and secure to the second support stake.
Remember, when attaching the wire to leave at least 1 to 2 ft of stake at the bottom of the structure uncovered. This section, known as the trellis legs, will be driven into the ground.
Once assembled, push the legs into the ground so that it is secure. You may need to use a mallet to drive the structure into the ground.
If you are positioning your durable cheap trellis in a permanent position it can further be fixed to a fence or raised bed with additional zip ties or hose clamps.
This first way to build a durable cheap trellis method can be adapted to create a tall support or stretched out horizontally to create wide, short trellising.
If you are building a particularly long support frame, additional supporting stakes can be installed along the length of the trellising. These additional supports help to improve the stability of the structure.
How to Build a Durable, Cheap Trellis: Method Two
Similar to our first method, our second durable cheap trellis construction method requires slightly more construction work. A more robust construction, this second method involves attaching the wire to a wooden frame rather than stakes.
This method is suitable for supporting more sturdy plants as well as creating living walls. You can either use this option as a free standing support or attach it to a raised bed. This is not only a durable, attractive option it is also more cost-effective than purchasing a ready made support frame of a similar size.
You will need:
- Wood, redwood or cedar 2×2 boards are good long lasting choices that are naturally resistant to termites and rot
- Wire mesh, panels or netting,
- 2 tall stakes,
- Wide head cabinet screws, 1 to 1.5 inches long. Hillman Fasteners Poultry Netting Staples can also be used
- Four ZIPCII 3” tightening hose clamps
- 2.5” decking screws or any other small gauge screw that wont split the wood. Alternatively you can use Alise Stainless Steel Flat L-brackets. If you are using L-brackets the screws should be no longer than 1.5”,
- Power drill.
When it comes to selecting the wood for your frame try to pick the straightest boards possible. Avoid any that are visibly bowed.
Stakes should be at least two thirds of the length of the final trellis. This is a heavy duty support so the stakes should be stronger or more resilient than those used in the first method. 6ft FANSRON Fiberglass Stakes provide resilient support that is unlikely to bend.
Unlike our first method the support stakes can be smooth. The material do not need to be textured.
Bolt cutters can be used to modify the size of your wire or galvanized metal, if necessary. Heavy-duty metal snips can also be used.
Begin by measuring the intended location of your durable cheap trellis. This not only tells you what size frame you need to construct but also whether you need to cut down the size of your wire netting.
If you are using galvanized panels you may also need to measure the panel to work out how long the wood for the support frame needs to be.
Most 2x2s pieces of wood are typically 1.5×1.5 inches wide. Take this into account when measuring your frame and netting. Once the frame is built the outer edges of the netting or panel should sit close to the center of each 2×2 piece of wood.
Remember that, depending where you are positioning your durable cheap trellis, you may want up to 1 ft of trellis legs at the bottom. This is the lower section of the frame that is not covered by netting.
If you are attaching your cheap trellis to a fence or raised bed you do not need to drive the legs in as far for freestanding trellising.
After measuring, use a saw to cut the wood down to the desired size.
Lay the pieces of wood out on a flat work surface.
At this stage I like to loosely assemble the frame, without screwing anything in and place the net on top. This enables me to check that everything fits and no adjustments need to be made.
Next, fix the corners of the frame together with decking screws or, the sturdier, L-brackets. Drilling small pilot holes before you screw the brackets in helps to prevent the wood from splitting.
To further increase the strength of the frame you can add a support piece or pieces of wood. For example, small lengths of 2×2 can be cut up and added into the corners of the frame, or a longer piece can be positioned to run horizontally across the middle of the frame.
If you are adding the support inside the frame, attach it before the wire mesh or netting. If the support is to sit on the back of the frame, it can be added after the mesh.
Place the frame flat on a work surface. Lay the wire netting on top of the backside of the frame, this is the side where the L-brackets are visible. Square up the netting, screwing down the corners as you do so to keep it in place. Short wide-head cabinet screws are great for this. You can also nail poultry netting staples to hold it in place.
To firmly fix the netting in place, drill in screws at junctions or corners in the wire. Screwing in at a slight angle pinches and holds the wide between the screw head and wood.
Add screws every foot along the perimeter as well as on any support beams. Once finished the wire netting should be firmly in place.
Trellising inside a frame provides a sturdy support. sugar peas grown in hydroponics using the drainback by James Poore / CC 2.0
This second durable cheap trellis method is a more permanent option then the first. This means that installing it is a slightly trickier task.
Begin by driving the support stakes into the ground as deeply as possible. Driving the stakes down to a depth of around 1 ft secures them nicely in place. Once installed the support stakes should be level with each other.
Remember to space the support stakes out wide enough that the frame sits neatly against them.
Once the support stakes are installed, place the frame in front of them. Work the wooden legs a few inches into the soil before attaching to the stakes with wire or hose clamps.
Other Trellising Designs
The two durable cheap trellis ideas explained above can be adapted to work in a range of spaces and situations. You can even install them at an angle to a shed or put two together to create a teepee. Children in particular enjoy walking through tunnels of plants. It also makes harvesting beans and other vegetables a lot easier.
Another popular shape is an arch. If you want to make a durable cheap trellis arch, a wire netting or standard cattle panels that are typically 16 ft long and 4 ft wide can be used. These are the ideal dimensions for an arched trellis.
You can securely anchor your curved panel in place with T-post stakes that are attached to the sides of a raised garden bed. Hose clamps or straps can then be used to fix the panel to the wood.
Alternatively, you can use old garden arches, placing them over the raised bed or growing area. These can then be covered with wire mesh which is secured in place with cable ties.
As you can see, learning how to construct a cheap trellis is an accessible option even if you only have minimal DIY skills. With just a little time and expense you can easily construct a durable support that fits into your garden.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.