Putting Up Trellises

Putting up a trellis is a relatively easy job for the DIY novice to tackle, as long as there is a wall or a fence to attach it to. It’s possible to have free-standing trellis units but they need strong supports and really the job becomes more of a fencing task.

Trellis for Supporting Plants

So in this article we’ll be focussing on the more common use. Trellis is most often put against a wall or fence to provide support for climbing plants that don’t grip directly onto stone or brick but will wind tendrils around a support.

Or you can use it to train a plant that’s not strictly a climbing plant by tying it to the trellis as it grows. Trellis can help you to cover up walls with plants without worrying about them damaging the structure of the wall.

Get the Battens Up First

To mount a trellis to a wall it’s important to put a batten on the wall first, then screw the trellis to that. Climbing plants need access to the back of the trellis; if you screw it directly to the wall they won’t be able to wind their tendrils around the bars. And if the plant you are training is not a climber you need to be able to put clips or string around the bars of the trellis.

Pick battens that are between one and two inches thick and screw them to the wall using a masonry drill, wall plugs and brass or galvanised screws (these won’t rust in the rain). Put one batten near the bottom, one near the top and add one in the middle too, if the trellis is very high.

Position Battens Carefully

You want a bit of overlap at the top and the bottom, and make the battens a little narrower than the trellis too. This way the battens will eventually be hidden by the trellis and the plants. If the trellis is very long you can cut the battens into sections and space them out.

Make sure the lowest batten is a good six inches above the damp proof course so that the overhanging trellis at the bottom doesn’t go past it. If the damp proof course is bridges by the trellis it could cause problems with penetrating damp inside the house.

Once the battens are in place, drill through the trellis and nail or screw it to the batten all the way along.

Fixing Trellis to Fence Panels

To fix trellis to a fence panel the process is the same but you might be able to get away with screwing it directly to the frame of the fence panel. It depends on the type of fence you have but as long as there is a gap of about an inch between the trellis and the panel section of the fence that should be sufficient.

If that’s not going to work simply add batten to the fence to give you that gap. There are also framed panels designed to fit directly to the top of fences panels. These are secured using galvanised fencing clips that can be bought from any DIY shop or garden centre.

Screw them to the bottom of each panel, place the panel on top of the fence then screw the bracket to the top of the fence. That’s all there is to it.