8 Unexpected Materials That Make Great Trellises

Building a great trellis may mean looking no farther than the nearest junk pile.

by Moira McGhee

While you could buy a pre-made trellis at almost any garden center or big-box store, building your own often has many advantages. Because you can build a trellis out of almost anything, a quick trip to your local junk yard often provides a treasure trove of potential construction materials. You might even find some interesting choices lying around your own property, especially if you possess hoarding tendencies due to a love of reusing and recycling. Best of all, when you use “found” items, they’re frequently free, so you’re saving major money.

Using found items has the added perk of being eco-friendly, which is important when you’re striving to do your part to protect America’s landfills. Plus, you often get the surprising bonus of a beautiful, yet unusual, vertical-garden-worthy work of art. You’ll find tons of ideas and inspiration from around the web for building your own unique trellises out of the most unexpected materials, but here are a few I found noteworthy.

1. Trellis From Old Fishing Net

This magnificent homemade trellis is made of a discarded fishing net that the builder found at the harbor in Puget Sound. According to the notes, the size is nearly 25-by-6-feet and has kabocha climbing up it. Kabocha is a type of winter squash also commonly called a Japanese pumpkin. Apparently, commercial fishing operators dump their damaged nets at the harbor and eager gardeners snatch them up for various projects like this one.

2. Rustic Trellis Made Of Sticks

Using vertical features to maximize garden space, I have squash and runner beans climbing on a rustic trellis #eastcoastgarden #gardeningbythebay #veseysseeds #gardentrellis #princeedwardisland

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This wonderfully rustic trellis utilizes sticks and plastic gardening netting for a simple vertical garden structure. The builder has both squash and runner beans climbing up and proves you don’t have to use expensive materials to maximize your garden space.

3. Ultra-Sturdy Beam-And-Bar Trellis

sturdy trellis
Field Outdoor Spaces/Flickr

These trellises are both amazing and hardcore. They look exceedingly sturdy with wide beams as the supporting posts and metal bars and wires for plants to vine up. I can only imagine how much weight each of these trellises could hold in a vertical garden, but I think heavier melons would do fantastic with slings added around each fruit. Photo: Field Outdoor Spaces/Flickr.

4. Multi-Purpose Bicycle Tire Trellis

bike tire trellis
J.H. Fearless/Flickr.

This ingenious design makes multiple use out of recycled materials. What captures your eye immediately are the recycled tires wrapped in string being used as a trellis in the Earth Works Community Garden in Detroit. What’s even more interesting is the tires are spaced close enough together to also function as a fence and with a cord strung across the top, it also serves as a clothesline on what appears to be a fairly busy wash day.

5. Trellis Made Of Bicycle Wheels

bike wheel trellis
David Silver/Flickr

While a previous builder used the tires, this one went with the bicycle wheels themselves. As you can see, it makes a pretty display while also serving a vertical-gardening purpose.

6. Antique Headboard Trellis

antique headboard trellis

This is beautiful example of a vertical garden supported by the wall of building. The trellis material includes a rusted, antique headboard, which is being used for vining ivy. While any items that provide a good grip for plants is worth considering, certain choices add extra flair and showcase plants better than a generic store-bought frame.

7. Tree Trellis

Here’s a wonderful example of using what you find in nature. Various sizes of tree limbs were screwed together for this trellis, which the builder indicates will be used for peas. While it’s a great creation, it’s sturdy enough to grow way more than peas, which only require lightweight support. I would use this one for heavier vegetable varieties and fashion a matching, “younger sibling” version out of much smaller branches for the peas. Willow branches make an excellent choice and look neat!

8. Willow Trellis

willow branch trellis

This trellis, likely made of willow and holding up some type of vining plant, is a beautiful example of how versatile these branches can be. While they’re only appropriate for light-weight plants, if you’re goal is an eye-catching display made of material you find in nature, willow branches are an excellent choice.

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