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A wire trellis is a support framework for a climbing plant made with tensioned wires. Most commonly, wire trellises are constructed against walls, but they can also be hung between poles or framed to create a freestanding trellis. Wire trellis structures are often made with stainless steel wire, galvanized steel wire, or aluminum wire, to minimize rust issues.
The wire trellis is one garden trend that’s here to stay. Wire trellises for climbing plants are an easy DIY way to extend the garden vertically up a wall or privacy fence. A long-lasting metal wire is the perfect match for a timeless plant such as ivy (or wisteria, clematis, or climbing rose). Read on to learn how I installed a simple wire trellis for my ivy wall.
Wire trellises for climbing plants are a traditional method of training climbing plants in formal courtyards and in cottage gardens.
Here are the supplies & gardening equipment I used for my wire trellis:
Here are the steps to make a wire trellis:
These are the steps I used for my DIY wall trellis. It has a bit of a modern look with the diamond-shapes, but also a bit of the classic appeal of a European garden.
Here is a video I made of the process from start to finish:
“Always install a trellis so that there is space of about 1 inch (2.5 cm) between the wall it’s against and the trellis itself. This will allow air to circulate behind the plant.”Thrifty Gardening: From the Ground Up, by Marjorie Harris
So, what type of wire is used for trellis? Wire used for a plant trellis is typically selected for its ability to act as a support framework while also resisting weathering from the elements. Here are some common types of wire used for trellising plants:
The wire wall trellis I built used up most of two 50′ packages of 18-gauge aluminum wire from Home Depot. I had a little bit of wire left to make a simple wire guide for the neighbouring Blue Moon wisteria that will grow along the other side of the garage. Its just one piece of wire that goes from near the base of the plant up towards where I’d like the mature vine to grow.
The material, gauge, length, and fasteners chosen will depend on the specific wire trellis application. Plant trellis requirements vary by application and may use other materials like metal cable and/or additional fasteners like turnbuckles. Each application will vary.
“Climbers that produce substantial stems can be trained on taut, horizontal support wires. Use vine eyes to hold the wires 5cm (2in) away from the vertical surface, to provide room for the stems to grow and allow air to circulate behind the plant, to minimize diseases. Space the wires 25-45cm (10-18in) apart, depending on the climber, how strong its stems are and how vigorous it is.”Pruning & Training (Royal Horticultural Society), by Geoff Hodge
So how much does a trellis cost? My wire trellis required 17 eye bolts at $0.65 each, along with two 50′ packages of aluminum wire at $5.80 each. After tax, the materials to make this wire trellis cost about $25 total.
DIY trellis structures are generally cheaper than kits or landscaper-built trellises. This particular trellis covered quite a large area. A smaller trellis made with wire and eye bolts would likely cost much less than $25 for the project supplies.
“There is a timelessness to classic gardens that is often interpreted by other styles, fashions, and people. Influences from France, English country estates and grand designs on a large-scale landscape are primary drivers.”Best Garden Design: Practical inspiration from the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, by Chris Young