Nothing completes a raised bed garden like a trellis. Not only do they look whimsical, but they're an easy DIY project and very functional. Turn one into a raised bed trellis and you have the perfect backyard gardening setup!
DIY trellises are a great idea for any garden, especially since they are so customizable. You can make one with a few stakes and some shredded chicken. Or, you can go all out and build one out of wood. The choice is up to you...we're just here to give you the information you need!
So let's start with one of the most basic questions: why do you need one of these in the first place. Then, we'll discuss the various types of trellis, along with some helpful tips on how to DIY some of them.
Why do you need a raised bed frame?
The best thing about trellis is that it maximizes space. Your plants are no longer confined to horizontal spaces in raised beds. They can grow up now! You will be able to grow more produce and use it to create a beautiful aesthetic garden.
You will need a trellis for typical viticultural plants such as beans, peas and tomatoes. There are also many plants that often grow above the ground but are good climbers, such as cucumbers, winter squash, and even squash. Some other plants, such as peppers and raspberries, are not climbers but grow well with support.
Another advantage of trellis gardening is that the harvest will be a small affair. No need to bend over, most of the product will be at your level.
A trellis can be used with all types of loft beds, no matter what they are made of. While we're partial to the galvanized steel loft beds that we sell in our store at EpicGardening, there's nothing stopping you from putting one of these on a DIY loft bed!
Types of Shelves
Climbing plants can grab onto just about anything as they grow, so you can get really imaginative with trellises. There are many standard DIY trellis types to build, but these can be modified as needed (there are tons of free designs online). However, when choosing a design, keep in mind the structure of a raised bed. Some should be attached to the bed, which is suitable for wood construction, while others should stand in soil. Also, consider which plants you'll be planting so that you have enough vertical space.
To give you a starting point, here are some of the most common types of DIY trellis you can use:
This is probably the most popular design, and for good reason. It has a rectangular frame that spans the entire side of the raised garden bed. Chicken wire or cattle fences are fastened to the frame to provide sturdy support for the vines.
The downside to this DIY trellis type is that it blocks the entire side of the bed, so you can't reach the soil either. However, if you have a large bed, you can place the trellis in the center of it, leaving the outer edges free. Therefore, the plants do not get in the way of each other and are only planted on one side of the sides, leaving the back free.
This is similar to a rectangular design, but with a twist. You will use heavy strings, not fencing. You will be weaving the rope yourself, so you can choose the size of the mesh. You can customize the grid to best suit the plants you plan to grow. This one might take some time to put together, but you'll find it's fairly easy.
Rope trellises are only suitable for light plants (vegetables larger than cucumbers may be too heavy). Strings just don't provide the same support as wires. This is a good choice for tomatoes or peppers, but probably not winter squash.
This unique shape takes up only a small amount of space at the soil level, so it is less disruptive to raised garden beds. It provides a lot of ground growing space; this is great for plants with a central stem that splits into many vines, such as passion fruit or grapes. This trellis is a great choice for small garden beds.
This trellis can easily become top-heavy and fall back if not properly secured. It is usually attached to the side of the bed or even a wall.
This is my favorite raised bed garden look and I'm guessing it will be yours too. To do this, you will use a long wire fence that bends in the arch. It can be built over the entire bed or between two beds (walking on top of the arch is pretty cool). You can even create a tunnel of vines several feet long!
DIY arch pergolas provide vertical and horizontal space above raised garden beds. You must pick your veggies on time or some might fall off when you walk under you!
This support is just that: a wooden ladder. Each side must be set within a raised bed. If placed outside, it will take up more space on the ground than the bed (we tried to keep it compact here! There is much more space between each rung than chicken wire, so you'll want to use it for large vines.
Like a ladder, this DIY trellis has two sides joined together to form a mountain peak above the bed. Instead of wooden rungs, it has chicken wire on the sides. This is a very sturdy design that will provide support for most plants.
Triangular String Lattice
String techniques are not limited to rectangular frames. With this DIY design, the strings are tied vertically to the A-frame. It's great for small vines climbing up lonely posts like beans.
This is a bit of a cheat. If you have a raised bedspread, it's easy to attach chicken wire or string in the center. This way, you have a great 2-in-1 design!
If you're just not in the DIY mood, you can always stick some tomato cages in the soil and call it good. It's not a great long-term solution and will only support smaller plants, but it does work in a pinch.
Basic DIY Plaid Ideas
We'll cover how to build some of these DIY trellises. Supplies to make them should be cheap at the gardening store; you may be able to get some for free from other DIYers. Ideally, you should schedule your trellis installations together before the growing season, as most trellises should be installed before planting.
This may be the most basic style, but it's still very free form. For the sturdiest types, you'll need to build a three-sided frame out of wood. It should be the length of the bed that will be paired, and as high as needed (mostly a few feet long). Remember, if you make the frame tall and skinny, you will need extra support at the bottom to keep it from falling.
Lay a length of chicken wire or cattle fence over the frame. The fence can only go down to the soil level of the plant. Since the frame is made of wood, it is easiest to hold the fence in place.
To install the trellis, you must attach it to the outside of the raised bed using nails or screws. You can also insert each post into a raised garden bed, although they can take up a lot of space. However, you can choose to build framing posts from something slightly thinner, such as metal fence posts or PVC pipe.
Selfie Cover Shelf
This one is super easy because it just builds on the scraps of your raised bedspread. If your cover is the one we recommend for our loft bed, this trellis is a great idea. All it takes is a wire fence, wire cutters, and a zip tie (or other related tie).
Cut a piece of fence to cover the space between two or more covered posts. Secure fences throughout the space and reduce any overhanging edges. That's it! The trellis will be as strong as your covering supports. Plus, you can still shade the plants as needed.
Dee Arch Scaffolding
If you want your arch to be rigid, you'll need a sturdy material (the chicken wire won't cut it). The cow fence should work fine, as should the ladder-like structure used for the arch. To add some extra support, use T-posts on the bottom and attach the fence to them with zippers, wires, or even screws.
Each side of the arch can be placed on the ground inside or outside the gardening box. If you put the fence inside, it's easiest to install the trellis before filling the box with dirt.
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