Garden trellis ideas – 9 ways to maximize privacy, color and growing space

Try out these top garden trellis ideas to get creative with your outside space

iluminated garden trellises by a outdoor pool
(Image credit: Stark & Greensmith)

The latest garden trellis ideas maximize your growing space while injecting color into your plot. And, along with providing a great support for climbing plants to attach themselves to – if given some thought to – trellises can also be used to add some privacy to your balcony, garden or courtyard. 

Believed to date back to the 19th century, the humble garden trellis might not be anything new. But you’ll be pleased to know many of the latest and trending backyard ideas come with a creative twist on this outdoor garden classic. From decorative screens that can be used to support climbing plants to trellis panels that look more like a work of art.

So, whether it’s an urban setting or a countryside scene, we’ve rounded up the best garden trellis ideas to add to your outside space this spring and beyond.

Garden trellis ideas for a design-forward space

1. Use your trellis as a decorative screen 

a decorative screen used as a trellis

(Image credit: The Garden Trellis Co)

If there’s one thing to note about the latest garden trellis ideas, it’s that there’s a wide range of choices available. Take this decorative option from The Garden Trellis Co. as an example, which could double up as a trellis and a screen. This design would work perfectly in large open spaces, as well as smaller more compact urban settings. 

‘These screens can absolutely be used as a trellis to support climbing plants as well as being beautiful in their own right,' says Rebecca Furness, director at The Garden Trellis Co. 'We love to encourage customers to use our trellis and screens for vertical garden ideas as it helps add extra greenery, particularly to help the environment in urban spaces where it might not otherwise be possible.’

2. Zone off sections with a wooden trellis 

a wooden trellis sectioning off a garden

(Image credit: The Garden Trellis Co)

If a classic style is more in keeping with your garden ideas, mix things up with a wooden trellis (which you can paint) and instead of using it as a space to grow, use it to zone off different spaces. 

Whether it’s a seating space or an entertainment space, using a standing trellis can help to make your outdoors look and feel bigger. 

‘The absolute best-sellers at the moment are the classic timber privacy trellis panels,' says Rebecca. 'But our modern slatted panels are also very popular and used as screening and for support for planting.’

3. Choose a trellis with an eye catching design 

Choose a trellis with an eye catching design

(Image credit: The Garden Trellis Co)

While square or criss-cross trellis designs have a well-earned place in any garden, some of the more modern takes on trellises push the boundaries of creativity.

‘As well as being eye-catching, they are a popular addition to gardens as they are very long-lasting, low maintenance and easy to install,' Rebecca explains. 

Decorative trellis designs are a big garden trend, and cast interesting shadows around your outdoor space. This type of design is only amplified when your garden climbers do start to grow over the trellis. 

4. Inject privacy into your space

a trellis creating a private space in a garden

(Image credit: MyLandscapes)

Working with a small garden? Or how about a narrow or compact balcony garden idea? Then why not put your trellis to good use and stop your outdoor space from being overlooked by neighbors or homes from across the way. So what’s the best way to do this?

‘The trellis is made from Cedarwood, which adds privacy to the neighboring property while providing shelter and support to a tall box hedge and an architectural Japanese maple,' explains London-based garden designer Amir Schlezinger of MyLandscapes. 'The generous spacings in the lateral Cedar planks enrich the terrace with dramatic shafts of light illuminating the outdoor space during sundown as the terrace faces west.’

5. Use your trellis to add interest 

trellis with planting growing up in a garden

(Image credit: MyLandscapes)

Got a plain white wall? Or are you wondering how to inject style into your small garden? Then listen up. You can add depth, texture and interest to any space by attaching climbing plants like ivy onto your trellis. 

‘This trellis is laterally arranged, constructed on-site from Cedar which is a lightweight, beautiful wood,' Amir says. 'The trellis provides support for Ivy which conceals the unsightly wall behind it. The Cedar adds contrast to the other materials in both tone and shape, juxtaposed alongside pale tiles, artificial grass and powder-coated bespoke planters.'

'The trellis is therefore pivotal in creating graded scale in a layered composition from the Ivy at the pinnacle to the Buxus hedging below and the artificial grass at ground level.’

6. Use a Jakob rope system 

a Jakob rope system in a garden

(Image credit: MyLandscapes)

It’s time to rethink what you thought trellises looked like. In this minimal-but-mighty design, Amir has used a Jakob rope system for a sleek look that gives maximum impact. 

‘This exclusive penthouse suite in Butlers Wharf overlooking Tower Bridge features four rooftop terraces,' he explains. 'The lower North-facing outdoor space features a high masonry wall. We trained 3 evergreen Clematis armandii, grown in bespoke planters, onto a Jakob rope system,  fabricated in a marine grade 316 stainless steel. The sleek modern design, in its light appearance and slim minimalist details, give the trellis a unique presence which fits into the decor of an ultra-contemporary apartment.’

7. Light up a trellis 

illuminated trellis in a garden

(Image credit: Stark & Greensmith)

Modern-day trellises can absolutely be used as a work of art in their own right. 

Don’t believe us? Feast your eyes on this brilliant design from award-winning designers and suppliers of garden screens and fences, Stark & Greensmith

‘Some people have placed LEDs behind our trellis panels to make them glow,' explains director Mat Webb-Jenkins. 'It’s a really cool way of giving ambient lighting and creating feature points in your garden. You can get a really decent impact, very affordably.’

8. Build your trellis into your fencing 

trellis built into fencing

(Image credit: Stark & Greensmith)

Who said you had to attach your trellis to your fence? For a 21st-century twist on things, why not unleash your creativity and build your trellis into your fencing? 

Helping to add structure, style and texture into your outdoors, this clever design using Stark & Greensmith trellises makes you rethink what we could (and perhaps should) be using a trellis for. 

Plus, no one's stopping you from planting some extra greenery into your space by attaching plants to this example. 

9. Use different widths for a contemporary feel 

a garden with trellis fences of different sizes

(Image credit: Fiona Lamb)

Another way to revamp the humble trellis? Instead of making your trellis symmetrical, opt for asymmetrical designs. 

'Using trellis in an urban garden is a great way to extend your vertical space to give you extra privacy or increase your planting opportunities,'  says Fiona Lamb of Fiona Lamb Design.

'We extended the fence height using narrower batons spaced further apart to give a more contemporary take on a trellis.’

What can I use for a garden trellis?

In more modern times, you can use a range of different ideas to create a garden trellis. It just all depends on what outside space you are working with.  

If it's a balcony, maybe you have already got a railing that could be used to attach plants onto. While if you have some vertical space free, such as a wall, you could hang a wooden or metal trellis onto it. Either to add some extra attraction to your space, or to maximize your growing footprint. 

Along with metal and wooden designs, another idea for your trellis is to use a Jakob rope design. This is ideal for minimalists, as once you've trained your plants to it, you won't be able to spot the rope supporting it. 

Essentially, any vertical feature could be used for a garden trellis. Just be sure to add climbing plants such as honeysuckle, jasmine or ivy to turn your trellis into a blanket of green. 

What is the best trellis for privacy?

Want to inject some privacy into your space? As seen in the best privacy fence ideas, you can add some seclusion to your outdoors with a trellis. When it comes to the best trellis for privacy, opt for closely knitted trellis panels that can double up as fencing as well as being the perfect spot to house climbing plants. 

If your style is contemporary, choose a horizontal slated fenced – even if your garden wall is old, the contrast would be ideal for creating a garden that was a mix of modern and traditional.

Freelance writer

Becks is a freelance lifestyle writer who works across a number of Future's titles. This includes Real Homes, Top Ten Reviews, Tom's Guide, TechRadar and more. She started her career in print journalism at a local newspaper more than 8 years ago and has since then worked across digital and social media for food, fashion and fitness titles, along with home interior magazines. Her own interior style? She's big on creating mindful spaces in every corner of her home. If it doesn't spark joy or happiness, it has no place here. When she’s not writing, she’s reading and when she’s not reading, she’s writing.