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Trellis Functions

Trellises are ideal for yards and garden spaces of any variety, but especially those where square footage is at a premium. In these spaces, it’s sometimes difficult to achieve a feeling of outdoor immersion, the sense that you are truly one with the natural world. This happens because the amount of greenery you can display is limited to the amount of ground in your garden.

A trellis serves as a vertical growing area, facilitating maximum flora coverage via latticework-style frame designs. Vining plants naturally cling to these. Trellises can also support fruiting plants by deterring insect pests and preventing ground contact. These elements cater perfectly to ornamental flowers and foliage, bolstering backyards and allowing you to make the most of your space, no matter its size.

Coral Coast Willow Creek Metal Trellis - Black
Coral Coast Willow Creek Metal Trellis - Black
Trellis Styles

There are five common trellis styles, each with distinct characteristics.

Panel Style

Wall panel trellises sport a flat vertical design, allowing them to sit flush with the side of your house or garden shed. This protects the structure’s exterior from the elements while displaying your vine plant’s natural beauty.

Panel-style trellises, in both folding and non-folding varieties, can also serve as smart, modular dividing walls in an expansive garden area. This function is a great way to increase visual interest and cozy up your space.

Obelisk Style

Obelisk trellises exude more drama than their panel-style counterparts. Their three-dimensional design comes in myriad shapes, though most typical are the column and pyramid styles.

Unlike panel-style trellises, obelisk trellises are overtly decorative. They tower above your space, proudly displaying greenery. Place them strategically within your yard or garden to enhance flow and aesthetic authority.

Arch Style

Arched trellises evoke Victorian-era elegance with rounded tops and latticework foundations. This design can be found in both obelisk and panel styles, which allows for an array of versatile uses.

Fan Style

Fanned trellises are almost identical to arched trellises, aside from one crucial distinction. This style sports a flared top, resembling the soothing appeal of a Japanese fan. It’s an easy way to add an element of visual serenity to your yard.

Planter Box Style

Planter box-style trellises pull double duty. Using a grow box as a base, these trellises afford you an extra plod to plant flowers alongside the vine plants you’ve chosen to showcase on the attached wall-panel trellis. This design is ideal for urban dwellers without a full-blown garden. Planter box-style trellises seem custom fit for patios and apartment balconies.

Column Trellis
Column Trellis
Trellis Materials

Trellises are available in three basic materials, each of which features construction that caters to outdoor use.


Natural and timeless, wood is an undisputed classic when it comes to trellis materials. Its rustic charm only increases with wear, giving your garden a lived-in warmth that’s difficult to attain with synthetic materials. Try a cedar or teak trellis for one with wood dense enough to withstand a dramatic range of environmental conditions. Before you make a decision about material, be sure to research your specific wood type as intermittent maintenance may be required to ensure long-lasting integrity.


Consider a vinyl trellis if your location is regularly subjected to severe weather conditions. Vinyl is a virtually indestructible material that won’t fade when exposed to intense sunlight or shatter when exposed to frigid temperatures. It’s versatile to the extremes. It’s also a cinch to clean. Just like the vinyl siding found on homes around the globe, vinyl sheds dirt and grime with a simple spritz of hose water.

Vinyl’s only downside comes when it’s compared to natural materials. Though it can be molded to resemble real wood, its simulation tends to fall short upon close inspection.


Metal is low-maintenance and nearly indestructible. This means it works stupendously in gardens and backyards of any variety. Often metal trellises feature a ladder-style design that can brilliantly offset a foliage-dense green space. Such style works well in conjunction with screen-style trellises, breaking up your area with complementary flair. Metal also weathers well. With time and exposure to the elements, most metals develop an earthy patina that exudes character and vitality.

6.5-Foot Outdoor Rectangle Vinyl Sunburst Lattice Planter with Trellis
6.5-Foot Outdoor Rectangle Vinyl
Sunburst Lattice Planter with Trellis