How to fit trellis to a garden fence

If you want to add a touch of decoration to your garden fence, then some sections of trellis definitely make a good start.  

Trellis not only looks good, but it has other uses and benefits too.

It's a great extender to a low fence which you might want to increase in height for a variety of reasons.  Trellis doesn't add a lot of weight to an existing fence, so you can usually go right ahead and attach the trellis panels to the existing fence framing without having to worry about placing additional strain on the fence posts.

Trellis is also great for holding up a variety of climbing plants to, so climbing roses, ivy, clematis, sweet peas and all the other climbing plants will knit themselves through the gaps in the trellis panel and weave their way in and out, which looks fantastic when the flowers come out.  It can really frame off the garden nicely and soften the edges of a dominant garden fence.

Another advantage of using trellis is for the security aspect it provides.  What I mean by that is, an intruder will be put off climbing a fence is it won't carry their weight as they climb over, and the trellis is not as strong as a traditional fence, so it will break or give way under the weight of someone trying to climb over.  By adding a foot of trellis to a 2m high fence, it makes for a high barrier too, and anyone thinking of climbing up there and facing the prospect of falling from that height, will probably think better of it and move on.

Trellis also avoids any legal complications, should an intruder hurt themselves during a break-in.  It's a sad fact that you may bear some legal liability if you were to, for example, add barbed wire or anti-intruder spikes which deliberately cause an intruder injury.  Trellis does not present an intentional cause of injury in that way, so an intruder who causes themselves harm in the event of an attempted break-in, would only have themselves to blame, if you see what I mean.

There are two ways to install trellis.  You either plan for it when the fence is being built, and use fence posts which are long enough to build the fence and then add the trellis.

Option two is to add the trellis to a fence which already exists, and to do that, I simply add extra upright supports to the existing posts and then secure the trellis panels to those.

Trellis isn't usually heavy, so simple lengths of 2"x2" or 50mm x 50mm batons screwed to the fence posts works well.

If you want to use taller trellis panels, then you can upgrade to 3"x3" posts or 75mm x 75mm and they will do the job well.

In the third photo above, we used 6'x6' panels or 1.8m x 1.8m and simply bolted them directly to the existing garden wall using thunderbolts.  I still remember that job.  There was a lot of whinstone in that wall and we burned through our drill bits fast lol.  

Trellis panels come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs, so shop around, have a good look at the prices too because they can vary wildly and depending on how many panels you need to cover the section of the garden you want to add them to.

The advice I would always give my clients was to spend a little more on the more decorative, dressed timber trellis on the front-of-house area, for good kerb appeal.  In the back garden, it's not going to be seen as much, and it's usually a much bigger area back there, so drop the budget per panel there and use the stock panels made from the less expensive rough sawn timber.

You don't have to do any of that of-course, just do whatever you want.  At the end of the day, it's your garden and you're the one who has to be happy in it lol

Other uses for trellis are as backdrops and supports in random areas around your flower beds.  Inserting a couple of posts at either end and just screwing the trellis to them, makes a nice feature and when the plants grow up through the trellis it can make a big difference to an otherwise dull area of the garden.  

I hope that has given you some new ideas about the possibilities of using trellis on your garden fences.  

In the next page, we'll be talking about post caps, post finials and all the little decorative pieces which really finish off a fence nicely, adding that extra detail which makes all the difference.  See you in there.

Fence post caps and finials