If you’re brand new to planting climbing or tree roses, you may have no idea that they need a rigorous support system to be healthy and thrive. They don’t just magically climb up the wall, and you’ll need to have a few rose trellis ideas on hand that you can use to give them the support they need to climb. Purchasing a trellis is as simple as going to your local garden or home improvement store and picking one out. However, in the spirit of DIYing, most rose trellis ideas aren’t too hard to pull off with a little time, a few simple tools, and they may even be free. We’re going to outline five trellis ideas for you to consider below.
Trellises are critical for some roses or vining plants as it helps them stay upright and grow instead of trailing in the dirt.
Rose Trellis Idea One – Fan Rose Trellis
Fan garden trellises have been making the rounds for being super popular lately, and they’re a surprisingly easy rose trellis idea to pull off. You won’t need to worry about foraging for branches, just take a quick trip the the local hardware store for pre-treated and pre-cut wood.
- 1 inch by 2 inch by 6 feet wooden planks
- Measuring tape
- Nail gun
There is a two-part process for creating this rose trellis idea, but it’s fairly straightforward and easy to accomplish in an afternoon.
Framing the Planks
- You’ll get five longer wood planks you fan out to start the project. There are smaller planks of wood you use for vertical support ladders, and the size you need will depend on your preferences. You should measure the space where you’re going to put your fan to ensure you don’t run out of space. However, no matter what size you decide on, the build is the same.
- The longer planks you have go vertically. To start, lay them out flat on a woodworking surface like plywood. Pull them apart to form a fan shape. You’ll have one plank in the middle and two fanned out on either side of the middle one.
- You want to ensure that your planks have the proper spacing at the bottom and top. Get a flat edge and use it at the bottom to push the trellis slightly upwards. This will help align the longer ends of the planks correctly at the base until they all match.
- Measure your aligned base width, and add two inches or one inch to each side. From the leftover planks, saw off the plank to the measured width plus two inches.
- Align your cut piece on top of the base so you have two inches on each side.
Assembling the Trellis
- Once you’re satisfied with the spacing, get a nail gun and use it to fasten the longer planks. You’ll get your base leveled to help with building the tellis and make it easier to get the angles right.
- Center the base of your rose trellis idea perfectly with the edge of your sheet of plywood. Make sure that the distance from both sides to the base on both sides is equal to the edges of your plywood.
- Go to the top of your trellis and measure the centerpoint of it before marking the center plank. From here, it’s easy to measure and spread out the other planks at an equal distance on either side.
- Find a measurement from the top to the bottom of the plank, and measure two or three inches. This is the level where you’ll put the support bar for your trellis.
- Find the measurement midway from the base bar at the bottom to the top bar. This midway measurement is where you’ll put the next support bar. Once you cut it out, leave two inches on either side and fasten to the long planks using a nail gun.
- All you have to keep doing from here on out is to find the midway measurements of all of your vertical planks and fasten your support bar to them. You also want to have two inches on each side for overlap.
Finally, once you finish, hammer your new rose trellis idea into the ground near a wall.
In spite of what you may think, it’s not too hard to bring your rose trellis idea to life, even if you’re not very DIY experienced.
Rose Trellis Idea Two – Grid-Style Trellis
Next up is a grid-style trellis that is slightly more involved and complicated to make, but it shouldn’t be an issue for the seasoned DIYer. You will need a few more tools and supplies to get started.
- 1 cedar 2×6, 6 feet long
- 2 1/2-inch and 3 1/2-inch deck screws
- 6 cedar 2 x 2s, 8 feet long
- 8 2×4 cedar boards, 8 feet long
- Circular saw or miter saw
- Drill with driver bit
- Framing square
- Post-hole digger or shovel
- Tape measure
- 3/16-inch twist bit (optional)
- Concrete mix (optional)
- Lag screws or angle brackets (optional)
- Paintbrush (optional)
- Wood sealer or stain (optional)
Step 1 – Cut Your Trellis Parts
Unless you bought pre-cut cedar boards for your rose trellis idea, you’ll need to cut them down to the necessary length for your project. You’ll need:
- Four cedar 2x4s – cut each 8 feet long (leg pieces)
- Six 2×2 cedar balusters – cut each to 4 feet long (horizontal grid pieces)
- Three cedar 2x2s – cut to 6 feet long (vertical grid pieces)
If you find it necessary, cut the 2×6 down to a six-foot length as this serves as your header. Any saw works well for this, but a power miter is the best pick for making fast cuts that end up being perfectly square.
Step 2 – Lay Out Your Pieces
On a hard, flat surface like your driveway, position two of your 2×4 pieces four feet apart while making sure the tops are perfectly aligned. Over the two parallel leg pieces, positioning the six horizontal 2×2 grid pieces across the legs, making sure they’re exactly perpendicular. You’ll position the top grid piece a foot down from the top of your leg pieces.
The bottom grid piece will be two feet up from the bottoms of your rose trellis idea’s legs. Space your remaining four horizontal grid pieces at even intervals between the bottom and top pieces, roughly a foot apart. It’s extremely important that you have everything as square as possible as you position the pieces. A framing square will be good here.
Step 3 – Attach the Horizontal Rails
Use 2 ½-inch deck screws with a drill and a driver bit to attach each horizontal grid piece to your leg pieces. Put a single screw in each leg. If the cedar rails seem to have an issue with splitting, you can drip pilot holes using a 3/16-inch twist bit before you drive the screws in.
Position your remaining two leg pieces over the ends of your grid pieces so you carefully align them with the bottom leg pieces. The grid pieces should now be sandwiched between your two leg pieces. You have now created a basic frame for your rose trellis idea.
Step 4 – Attach the Header
Position your 2×6 header flat over the top ends of the trellis legs so there is a foot overhang on each side. Align one edge of the header so it sits flush with the legs on the back of the trellis, and the header’s front edge will overhang the legs on the front side by an inch or two. Secure your header to the leg pairs using 3 ½-inch deck screws that you drive through the top of your header and into the end grain of your leg pieces. Make sure you secure the header to each of the four leg pieces.
Step 5 – Attach Vertical Grid Pieces
Next, carefully position your three six-foot vertical grid pieces across your horizontal pieces so the top ends but up on your header. Measure everything carefully to make sure your vertical pieces are evenly spaced and square to your rails. Attach your vertical pieces to each of your horizontal ones using 2 ½-inch deck screws.
Step 6 – Get Creative (Optional Step)
If you wish, you can easily dress up the trellis by adding more elements. For example, you can create diamond shapes in your grid by cutting and attaching diagonal pieces between your vertical and horizontal ones. If you want to get a more solid privacy screen, you can add more vertical pieces to reduce your grid size.
You can also shape your ends of the overhanging header by rounding them off, or it’s possible to attach post caps or finials to the header. You can attach eye hooks to the ends of your support posts and have hanging baskets on them. Wood trim pieces can be used to cover your joints where the rails and leg pieces meet. The list goes on.
You can leave your trellis with the standard grid, or you can get creative and make it with diamond-shapes to make it easier for some roses to climb.
Step 7 – Finish the Trellis (Optional Step)
Cedar lumber will age to a very pretty gray that has a weathered look if you allow it to remain exposed to the elements. If you want to keep it looking like new, you can put a layer of weatherproof stain or sealant on it. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations if you choose to go with this one. Some people suggest you allow your cedar to age for a few months before you seal it.
Step 8 – Mount the Trellis
To mount your rose trellis idea, dig two post holes two feet deep and insert your trellis legs into them. Adjust it for level and pack and plumb the soil around the legs. In most cases, this will be enough to hold the trellis solidly in the ground. If you want to make it very permanent, you can fill the holes with concrete.
- HappyDIYHome Note – If you plan on attaching the trellis to another structure in your yard like a fence or one of your house walls, you can change the design when you build it to have shorter legs. Then, all you have to do is attach the trellis to your chosen structure with angle brackets or lag screws.
Rose Trellis Idea Three – Rustic Oversized Trellis
Maybe you have a more rustic design aesthetic. If so, you can make this rose trellis idea out of raw lumber you get from young trees if you live in a wooded area. You may have to do a bit of hiking to find a dozen or so straight trees that are roughly two or three inches in diameter. You may find many options if you have a hedgerow that you won’t mind cutting out to use.
Step 1 – Measuring the Rose Bush’s Fan
Start by measuring the height of the building you want to put your trellis by and the width of the natural fan of your rose. If you have a shed or shorter building, you can use the building’s height, under the eaves for the length to cut your upright trees. You can cut your cross beams to roughly 90% of the width of the widest point of the roses’ natural fan.
Step 2 – Lay the Trellis Poles in a Grid and Connect Them
For your next step, lay your logs out on the ground however you visualize your trellis looking. Get a wood drill bit and predrill holes for screws in the logs at your intersections. Doing so will help prevent it splitting during the construction process.
Next, get three-inch deck screws that are rust-proof and use them to join the horizontal trellis beans to the vertical supports using your predrilled holes. If your wooden poles are any thicker, you may need lag screws instead of deck screws. If they’re not much thicker than our recommendations, the deck screws offer more than enough support for the weight of your rose canes and small logs.
Step 3 – Weatherproof Your Trellis
A small bit of weatherproofing can help your trellis last for a decade or more. To quickly weatherproof your rose trellis idea, spray your cut ends of the wood and any exit or entry points for the screws using a water sealant. For more durable waterproofing measures, you can paint the whole post, including the bark, with a polyurethane sealant you use to finish your outdoor patio or deck.
Step 4 –Finish the Joints (Optional Step)
Your trellis may look slightly raw when you have just cut wood. To cover the screws and create a very natural and rustic look, you can get a roll of jute twine and wrap it around each joint of your trellis where your horizontal beams meet and you secure them to the vertical supports. To secure your rope, all you have to do is tie knots behind the joint. The rope will fray after a few seasons, so you will have to eventually refresh it. You can also use a hammer and fence staples to secure your string to make it last longer.
Step 5. Finish and Install
If you didn’t build your trellis in the space you want it, you can now move it to the permanent location. If you plan on connecting it to an existing structure, you can dig in your base and use heavy-gauge wire to secure it. If it’s going to be freestanding, you’ll need to install two or three fence posts into the ground to hold your trellis in place and keep it upright. Don’t cheat on this part as you don’t want your trellis to collapse.
The taller your trellis is, the higher your plants will grow. You can easily create a focal point or a shaded arch in your yard with them.
Rose Trellis Idea Four – Simple Square Trellis
- 2 planks of wood that measure 1 inch by 2 inch by 6 feet
- 7 planks of wood that measure 1 inch by 3 inch by 3 feet
- Nail gun
- Triangle for measuring corners
Lay down the longer pieces of wood vertically on the ground or on your work surface. The shorter pieces will go across them to form a ladder. Space your longer pieces roughly 18 inches apart, and make sure all of your wood pieces are an equal length and end at an angle. You want to cut your edges to a 45° angle to make them easier to hammer into the soil when the time comes.
Lay your bottom and top bars onto your longer upright planks to form the frame. Use a metal square or triangle to make sure all of your angles are 90°. Finally, once you get the frame together and it looks solid, use long nails and a nail gun to fasten them at the intersections.
Mark along your long planks at the correct intervals where you want your shorter planks to form the ladders, depending on whether you want a spacier or tighter setup. Tighter ladders will help your roses grow quicker.
Keep placing a plank by a plank onto the longer planks on the markings you made earlier. Fit each one, measure it, check your corners and angles to be sure, and secure them using the nail gun. Once you finish the rose trellis idea, you hammer it into the ground or drill it to hang it from the wall.
Rose Trellis Idea Five – Tree Branch Trellis
The final rose trellis idea on the list is a very simple one. It’s easy to make, you can finish it in an afternoon, and it’s a fun, natural project to build by yourself or with the kids. And, it looks lovely in your garden. This trellis looks very rustic, so don’t worry if your branches aren’t perfect. You will get some variety, and this allows your makeshift trellis to look more charming.
To start, you’ll want to pick up roughly seven large branches that are five feet or longer. You can collect these from the ground, especially in the fall months. You can also prune them right off the tree. Look for trees that have healthy, older branches that aren’t prone to breaking easily.
- Copper wire or a nail gun
- Garden twine
- Handsaw or an automatic saw
- Pruning scissors
Take or find several branches from hardwood, sturdy trees. Make sure your branches aren’t too thick, but they also shouldn’t bend. If you can’t harvest branches that have already fallen, or you can’t find good ones, use branch shears to get seven tree branches to create your rose trellis idea. Cut four of your branches five feet long, and cut three branches three feet long. You want to prune away at any offshoots to give the branches a very clean, neat look.
To start your project, lay out your branches on a flat surface to make it easier to put together. The longer branches are the ones you want to space out vertically, and leave roughly a foot between them. You can use a ruler to mark your spaces. The other three branches you have left will lay over them horizontally, and make sure to space them out evenly. The vertical branches should extend further at the bottom than at the top as this will make it easier to bury them in the ground.
Once you get the branches aligned how you want them, get your nail gun and carefully secure your branches where they intersect. For more support strength, you can wrap these intersecting points with copper wire. Make sure to wrap it in diagonals, over and around, to keep the branches in place.
The final step is to bury your trellis with the longer side down into the ground wherever you want to put it.
The nice thing about having rose trellis ideas and doing them by yourself is that you can customize it to suit your wants and needs without spending a huge amount of money.
Growing Plants on Your Trellis
Outside roses, there are many perennial and annual vines you can get to grow on a trellis. However, each plant will have different needs, and many vining plants vary in how they climb, and this can impact your plant choice. You have:
- Aerial Roots – Some plants use these to climb. English Ivy is a great example of a plant with an aerial root system. The tiny roots will grab onto virtually any rough surface. Plants with these roots aren’t great to put on your rose trellis idea as it’ll grow very rapidly and overwhelm the trellis as it does.
- Ramblers – Ramblers aren’t true climbers because they don’t have a genuine way to grab onto the supports. These plants grow very long stems that you have to manually attach to your rose trellis idea. Climbing roses fall into the category actually, and they don’t climb as much as they ramble on. All climbing roses will require that their canes get manually secured to your trellis.
- Suckering Discs – You will see these on some plants, like the Virginia creeper. It grows tendrils that have tiny suckering discs on the end that stick to what they touch. They can badly discolor or cause damage to the surface, so you should be very careful where you plant them. On other types, the thorns will work as grappling hooks to hold the stems in place.
- Tendrils – These plants have antenna-like, thin shoots that whip about until they find a support structure to wrap around. Common tendril plants include passion flowers, grapes, sweet peas, and clematis. A trellis that has a relatively small in-fill grid works best for these plants. With this project, you may want to run some invisible, thin wires through the grids to help them climb faster.
- Twining – These plants will find a way to climb virtually any structure you can come up with. Honeysuckle, wisteria, and chocolate vine are all part of this category. With these types of vines, you won’t have to do much except plant it and let it grow. The entire stem system will grow in a corkscrew pattern to wind up vertical support fields. This type of plant can be very strong and heavy, so you’ll need a very sturdy rose trellis idea to support them.
Now you know how to create five sturdy rose trellis ideas you can incorporate into your yard or garden design. They’re DIY-friendly, cost-effective, and you get a very sturdy result that will support your plants season after season.
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.