The Garden Guide

Trellis - review

Landscape and Garden Product Directory

A trellis is is a lattice of wires, slats or bars upon which plants can be trained. Trellis can be used indoors or outdoors or in a pot. Crossing trellis rails offer more opportunity for fixing plants than a set of horizontal or vertical trellis rails. Wire trellis should be galvanized. Wooden softwood trellis should be treated with preservative. A good quality trellis can be made with oak slats and brass screws.

Some of the oldest illustrations of trellis work are in the garden frescoes of Pompeii and Herculaneum. The Romans used trellis work, as we do, to form a light demarcation between areas of a garden and to support plants. Pliny the Younger wrote about trellis in his celebrated garden letters. Horace Walpole, in perhaps the most influential short history of garden design, wrote of the use of trellis in Roman gardens. After the decline of the Roman Empire, the next appearance of trellis-work is in illustrations of medieval castle gardens. A herber was a small garden often within the bailey of a castle and for use by ladies and minstrels. The trellis was used to create seclusion and to support sweet-scented plants. Trellis was used in renaissance gardens and its use was revived with the late-nineteenth century Arts and Crafts movement.

Trellis comes from the Latin trilicius ('three threads' describing a strong woven fabric)

Give me an arbor, give me the trellis’d grape,
Give me fresh corn and wheat, give me serene-moving animals teaching content,

Walt Whitman (1819–1892)

Painted softwood trellis

Rectangular galvanized trellis

Diagonal galvanized trellis

Faded softwood trellis

Architectural uses of trellis