Trellises are a necessary part of every garden, providing a sturdy, supportive frame for flowers, fruit and vegetables. The right trellis will also add structure and interest to your outdoor space. Here are 10 inspiring suggestions for everyday items that you can upcycle into stunning garden trellises.
Purchasing a trellis from a garden centre or specialist provider can be expensive. Furthermore, these ready-made options can also be bland and devoid of charm or character. Why not make your own, instead?
Upcycling everyday items is a great, cost-effective way to add an unique and interesting structure to your garden.
1. Reinvent the Wheel
Wagon wheels are a traditional garden decoration, hanging either on garden sheds or fencing. They aren’t just pretty to look at, however, as wagon wheels can also be a practical addition to a garden.
When attached upright, either in a frame or to a fence they are a great support for plants. Alternatively, placing the wheel on the ground allows you to plant up each different wedge with a different plant. This is ideal for creating a unique herb garden or succulent display.
If wagon wheels are too old fashioned, use bicycle wheels as a modern alternative instead. Fixing a few wheels together in a frame doesn’t only add height and structure—it’ll create a unique trellis that will support any climbing plant.
These also make great dividers for allotment plots and community gardens. Bicycle wheels are abundant, can be purchased for pennies, and just lashed together to keep your peas climbing skyward.
2. Repurpose old Garden Tools
Every gardener has a collection of old tools sitting unused in a dusty corner of the shed. Since most of these are associated with memories to throw out, we continue to hoard them. We just tell ourselves that “they may come in useful one day.” Well today is that day.
You can upcycle old tools into a range of different support structures. One of the most simple-but-effective ways is to simply plant old rakes or shovels right into the ground. There, they’ll provide a reliable support for roses or other flowers.
Attaching smaller tools to a fence or wall can also help to develop the “old gardener” theme. If you don’t want to train your climbing plants up these smaller tools, you can attach pots to them. This will create an unusual planter array, especially for culinary or medicinal herbs.
3. Upcycle an old Umbrella
I’m sure I’m not the only person who has a clutch of unused umbrellas stuffed into a cupboard. Upcycling these (usually broken) umbrellas into trellises is a great way to repurpose them and clear out your cupboard.
Umbrella frames can provide a sturdy support for your plants as well as adding interest to your garden. A standard rain umbrella is just the right size for most plants or spaces. In contrast, if you want a larger trellis, you can upcycle an old patio or beach umbrella in the same way. This will create a stunning focal point when covered in climbing flowers.
To turn an umbrella into a trellis, start by cutting the fabric from the frame. Then, with the frame open, plant the center pole firmly into the soil. Once your this trellis is firmly in place, train vining plants all around it. This is a fantastic way to support gourds, cucumbers, snap peas, and tomatoes.
4. Repurpose Disused Wrought Iron Fencing and Gates
Once a common feature outside almost every home or garden, wrought iron fences, posts, and gates have fallen out of fashion in recent years. While few people seem to mourn the loss of these—often beautiful and intricate—boundary markers, the good news for us is that there are now plenty to be found in salvage yards.
Wrought iron is a solid, sturdy option if you’re looking to add a long-lasting structure to your garden. You can easily upcycle old fences or gates into reliable trellising. If you’re aiming to create a larger support structure, such as an arbor, then you can join a few gates or fences together.
This creative freedom means that you can conjure up a unique structure that can either blend into your garden or help you stand out from the crowd.
5. Create A Trellis from Pipes
Copper or aluminum piping can be fashioned to create a sturdy support for your plants. When the sun strikes this trellis, you’ll also be delighted by the extra sparkle your garden will receive. An easy-to-assemble (but less sparkly) alternative is pvc piping.
If you don’t have any spare piping gathering dust in a corner of your shed, then it’s an easy and relatively inexpensive, material to acquire from your local hardware store.
This is a versatile option and, because piping is easy to assemble, you can make any shape you wish. Let your imagination guide you to create anything from a solid, square arbor to a sleek teepee. To make the latter, secure three or four 4-ft-long pieces together with some aluminum wire. Then spiral wire down the teepee as sturdy supports for your beans or peas to grow on.
6. A New Use for Old Wire Coat Hangers
There’s a tangled mess of old wire coat hangers at the back of pretty much everyone’s closet. Instead of letting the wire monster grow, why not repurpose them into an attractive trellis?
The wire can be manipulated into any shape you wish, but even a standard diamond shape can provide sturdy support for tomatoes and other tendril-sprouting plants.
Entwine five or six wire coat hangers together to create a taller trellis. Once fixed to a wall or fence, this creates an ideal support for taller flowering plants.
7. Old Screen Door Trellis Ideas
Old screen doors are full of character. Sadly, they’re often replaced and consigned to the scrap heap when they become worn and tired. Fortunately, with just a little bit of effort, your old screen door can be upcycled into an attractive garden structure. This is also a great way to add height and interest to your garden.
Adding chicken wire will provide additional support for plants. Just be sure to secure the door safely either into the ground or to a permanent structure like a fence. You can either use the door as it is, worn and full of character, or sand it down and paint it. Even a simple makeover can give an old door a vibrant new lease of life.
Pretty soon your old screen door will be the ideal home to climbing or vining plants such as honeysuckle, haskap berries, or clematis.
8. A Window Frame Trellis
Similar to old screen doors, old window frames can be repurposed as interesting trellis ideas for your garden. Not only will they provide height to a garden, but window frames can also become substantial architectural pieces.
You can either let plants wind their way along the frames for a reclaimed by nature look, or stretch chicken wire across the windows. Doing so will provide ample support for your climbers and vines. For an extra splash of drama, scout out the local salvage yards to find window frames from old churches.
9. Create Scrap Wood Obelisks
Scrap wood comes in all shapes and sizes. This means that you, or a talented craftsman that you know, can repurposes all sorts of bits and pieces to make interesting and unique garden structures that provide support to your plants.
Transforming old pallets into trellises or planters can be a quick project that’s finished in the space of an afternoon. Better still, upcycled pallets like the ones below are strong enough to support heavy cropping vegetables such as beans or tomatoes.
These are plenty of instructions to be found online, and are a good starting point to inspire your own, unique garden designs.
10. Upcycle Your Old Bed
You can acquire metal headboards easily and cheaply from salvage yards, auctions and yard sales. In fact, they can be planted both vertically and lengthwise for roses and other ornamental flowers to wind along.
Another option is to upcycle an old spring mattress into an eyecatching trellis. Attaching the spring frame to two pieces of wood for support can make an ideal support for beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, and other vining crops. As an added bonus, it’s also easy to access the crops from either side.
These are just some of the everyday objects that can be turned into distinctive and practical garden trellising. Whatever you choose will undoubtedly add both interest and structure to your garden. Hopefully these trellis ideas will inspire you to create some beautiful, effective supports in your own space.
Remember to choose materials that will best suit your plants. Heavy climbers like squashes and cucumbers would do best on wrought iron, while peas, beans, and most flowers can thrive on thin wire and wooden structures.