Add a Trellis to your Cottage Garden! 13 Ways To Do It

Add a Trellis to your Cottage Garden! 13 Ways To Do It

What is an easy way to throw some charm into your cottage garden? Add a trellis.

If you are unsure what a trellis is or get confused between a trellis, a pergola, an arbor, and lattice, see my blog here. I’ll also give you tips to choose the right one for you.

There are so many different ways to use a trellis. The type of trellis you should use is based on how you plan to use your trellis.

If you are looking for the best type of trellis, first ask yourself what purpose will your trellis serve. Once you decide the exact way you want to use your trellis, you will then be able to choose which type suits your purpose.

I will advise you on the best trellis in each of these circumstances.

Here are 13 ways to use a garden trellis:

1. Use a Trellis as a Backdrop in Your Cottage Garden

Ways to Add a Trellis to Your Cottage Garden - 1. Backdrop

Here is a trellis in my cottage garden being used as a backdrop to these ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas and a bench. ‘Sweet Clematis’ is growing on the lattice.

Trellises make great backdrops to a seating area, a water feature, or even a birdbath. Set up a wall trellis, plant a vine, then place a bench in front of it.

At one of my cottage gardens, I did something similar.

I installed two side-by-side 4’ x 8’ freestanding wall trellises then planted ‘Sweet Autumn’ clematis to climb it.

In front of the trellis, I planted two rows of tightly packed ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas.

The bench was tucked in close in front of the hydrangeas.

In the spring, the hydrangeas bloomed like crazy and fell over the bench romantically.

The trellis remained a tall green background. The hydrangea blooms dried over the summer but I just left them there.

In the fall, my ‘Sweet Autumn’ clematis put on a show behind the bench with its dainty fragrant white blooms.

It made quite a spectacular presentation year-round.

If it takes a few years to get your vine to cover your trellis, it will still be attractive on its own.

*If you need a trellis as a backdrop, choose a wall trellis or a series of wall trellises.

2. Use a Trellis as Vertical Interest in Your Cottage Garden

Ways to Add a Trellis to Your Cottage Garden - 2. Vertical Interest

Even though I have been unsuccessful getting my ‘New Dawn’ roses to climb my trellis this year, the trellis still lends great vertical interest to my garden. It is beautiful architecture all on its own.

Trellises above 5’ can add great vertical interest.

You can use just one on its own, or make an impact with several heights scattered throughout your cottage garden.

I have a 6’ round metal trellis in my garden right now.

I am babying a ‘New Dawn’ rose to see if I can get it to climb the trellis.

At present, I am losing to the Japanese beetles and leaf spot. This means my trellis is still standing proudly in my cottage garden but has no vine to support.


It adds great vertical interest to my cottage garden.

*If you want to use a trellis to add vertical interest to your garden, choose a round or tuteur trellis that is at least 5’ tall.

3. Use a Trellis as a Privacy Screen in Your Cottage Garden

Trellises are a great option for an attractive privacy screen.

Install a series of freestanding lattice trellises along a property line and plant a lovely evergreen vine at its base.

Or incorporate trees with the trellis for a more natural look.

Be creative with the trellis-as-a-privacy screen. It doesn’t have to be a straight line.

If you need privacy in just one small area, you could use a trellis as a practical privacy screen, but design it as a seating area.

For example, install an 8’ wall of freestanding trellis with a couple of arborvitae on each side. You could use ‘Emerald Heights’, ‘Skinny Man’, or ‘Green Giant’.

Or think about using a ‘Nellie Stevens’ holly. They are evergreen and lovely.

Consider angling the trees in on each side of the trellis and placing a bench in front of the trellis.

Plant your vine of choice at the base of the trellis.

You have created a privacy screen that looks like, and is, a cozy seating area.

In other words, don’t limit the practicality of your privacy screen. Also, add design elements to enhance its appeal.

If you have a pergola or back porch that needs some privacy on one side, use a lattice trellis on that one side.

It will serve as an attractive wall in all seasons. It can also be used to block the sun from a porch or seating area.

*If you want to use a trellis to create a privacy screen, choose a large lattice trellis or a series of lattice trellises.

4. Hide Unsightly Areas in a Cottage Garden with a Trellis

If you have an area around your cottage garden that you want to hide, trellises are a great solution.

I placed five 3’x5’ freestanding trellises around my air conditioning unit at one of my houses.

The clematis vine was stunning on it in summer and in the winter, the trellises were still charming.

They broke up the view of the less-than-appealing unit.

At one house, a lot of necessary boxes for cables and wires had to be attached to my home.

It was right where you pulled into the house so it was in a highly visible area.

I put a lattice trellis in front of the ugly parts giving enough room for a person to slide behind in case anyone needed to access the boxes.

I grew an evergreen vine on the trellises. Problem solved.

*If you want to use a trellis to hide unsightly areas, a large lattice trellis is best. A series of smaller freestanding trellises may also work to break up the unwanted view.

5. Use a Trellis as a Focal Point in Your Cottage Garden

If you are designing a new cottage garden or want to add a focal point to an existing garden, a trellis is a great idea.

Put a round or tuteur trellis in the garden.

Place blooming perennials at its base with a background of hydrangeas.

My round trellis in my cottage garden is a focal point.

I have salvia and black-eyed susans placed on one side.

Low-growing crepe myrtles are on another side.

Joe-Pye weed grows on still another side.

The trellis isn’t even centered in that part of my cottage garden, nor have I mastered the vine that should be climbing it.

It remains a beautiful focal point.

*If you want to use a trellis to create a focal point, a round or tuteur trellis is your best choice. Or use a collection of round or tuteur trellises at different heights for a big impact.

6. Use a Trellis as Winter Interest in Your Cottage Garden

Trellises are such an easy way to add winter interest to your cottage garden.

Any type of trellis you choose could work here.

I love the architectural interest my round metal trellis gives my garden in the winter.

I also have obelisk trellises in each of my containers that flank a bench in my cottage garden.

They are so pretty whether they have flowers or vines on them or not. Summer or winter, they’re still gorgeous.

*If you want to use a trellis to create winter interest, choose one that offers architectural interest on its own. Obelisk trellises are a great choice.

7. Use a Trellis in Garden Containers for Added Interest

Way to Add a Trellis to Your Cottage Garden - 7. Containers

A trellis has been added to this container. It gives great height on either side of the benches. This is a picture taken by my friend, Trisha Mitchell, when we took a girls’ trip to Nantucket, MA.

Trellises in containers can amp up the charm.

You can add a round trellis in a container and plant a vine to climb it then plant blooming annuals all around it.

Or take a long rectangular planter and put a lattice trellis in the back.

Grow a vine to climb the lattice and plant your annuals in front.

As I mentioned before, I have obelisk trellises in two containers in my garden.

I have planted pansies in them in the fall without any vine at all.

Another year, I planted a vine from seed with no flowers at all.

This summer I put some red ‘Gerber’ daisies in them and they were gorgeous.

*If you want to use a trellis in a container, an obelisk trellis is a beautiful option, but you can also use a smaller round or lattice trellis.

8. Use a Trellis Over the Garage to Increase Curb Appeal

Ways to Add a Trellis to Your Cottage Garden 8. Garage Trellis

This garage trellis we added to a new home brought a ton of charm even without a vine growing on it.

I have built homes as a residential contractor for years.

To increase curb appeal on our homes, we would occasionally add a garage trellis.

If you are implementing a garage trellis, expect the charm to skyrocket.

We build the garage trellis ourselves but you can purchase kits which make it much easier.

They are beautiful on their own but if you want to grow a vine on it, place containers on the ground at each end of the trellis.

Plant your climbing vine in the containers.

Attach a string from the container to the trellis.

The vine will attach to the string and the string will guide it to the trellis.

I simply screwed an eyebolt in the side of my house and then another one in the pergola.

I tied the end of the string to the eyebolts. So easy.

You can paint the eyebolts the same color as your house so they will blend in as I did.

The string was also the same color as the house.

Choose string that can handle the weight of your vine as it climbs, will hold up to the weather, and will hold a knot easily.

I used string that was intended for an exterior clothesline. It was perfect.

*If you want to use a trellis over the garage, choose a kit that fits your design preference.

9. Use a Trellis as Support and Charm in a Vegetable Garden

If you are looking for tips on how to grow excellent vegetables in your garden, don’t come to me.

BUT…if you want to know how to design your vegetable garden to be lovely, I have a ton of ideas!!!

I planted a garden at one of the houses I lived in and toiled over it year after year.

I’m just not good at it. (It’s still fun to try.)

But let me tell you something, it was so pretty.

I loved going out to my garden.

My vegetables struggled but the flowers and the design were amazing.

I designed my vegetable garden with 2 rows of 3 raised garden beds.

The raised beds were 4’x4’ squares.

In the center aisle of the rows, I placed two tuteor trellises with honeysuckle vines growing on them.

They added height and the vines thrived and were gorgeous, as my tomatoes looked on miserably.

If I had been a good vegetable gardener, I could have grown a bean vine right there on those beautiful trellises.

At the entrance to my garden, I placed an arbor with a trellis on the sides.

‘New Dawn’ roses grew up on both sides with vigor.

Why couldn’t you place your bean vine there?

Then you have beauty plus some lovely vegetables.

I love the a-frame lattice trellises for cucumbers or squash or peas.

Use a round trellis to support tomatoes.

Choose a tuteor for your beans.

You know how to grow beautiful vegetables.

Make your whole vegetable garden a retreat.

Start by using trellises with architectural interest.

*If you want to use a trellis as support for your vegetables, choose a tuteor or a-frame lattice trellis for your vines. Choose a round trellis to support tomatoes.

10. Use Trellises in the Cottage Garden to Flank an Entryway

At one of the houses where I have lived, I placed a 4’ obelisk trellis just to the left of my front porch steps in the corner.

I planted a white clematis on it and within one season, the clematis had completely covered it.

In the spring, the most outrageous white blooms covered it. It was a showstopper.

The rest of the summer it was covered in beautiful green leaves with a bloom here or there.

In the winter, when the leaves dropped, you could see the obelisk.

It was such an interesting addition to my cottage garden.

I just wished I had used a taller obelisk but didn’t want to disturb the thriving clematis to replace the obelisk.

If you want, you can place a trellis on each side of your entrance.

I’m a big fan of a cottage garden and tend to choose balance over symmetry.

You could place a 6’ tuteor trellis and a 4’ tuteor trellis to the left of your entrance.

Place the 6’ trellis in the back about 4’ from your steps.

Place the 4’ trellis in front of it about 2’ from the steps.

On the opposite side, if you feel you need to balance out the height, use an ornamental tree like a hydrangea tree.

Or a tall shrub like a ‘Heavenly Bamboo’ nandina or a taller camelia.

*If you want to use a trellis to flank an entryway, use tuteor, round, or obelisk trellises or a combination of one type of trellis.

11. Use a Trellis on an Arbor in Your Cottage Garden

Ways to Add a Trellis to Your Cottage Garden - 11. Arbors

This arbor has a trellis on each side of it to support a climbing vine. It takes an ordinary doorway and amps up the charm.

If you are in the market for an arbor, choose one that has a trellis on the sides.

You will automatically have an opportunity to grow an amazing vine to enhance the charm of an already charming piece in your garden.

If your arbor doesn’t have a trellis on it, but you want to grow a vine up it, there is a way. I have done it.

My birdhouse in my cottage garden sits on a 4’x4’ post.

I painted it white and wanted ‘Jackmanii’ clematis to grow up the side of it.

I put a screw in the base of each side of the post but didn’t screw it all the way in.

I put another screw in the top of the post on each side the same way.

Then I tied string loosely from the bottom screw to the top.

I painted my screws white and used white string so they would disappear on the post.

Next, I tied my clematis onto the string to get it going and it worked!

I’m looking forward to the next season now.

If you have a wooden arbor that you can drill into, you could accomplish the same thing.

At any rate, figure out a way to attach the string and watch your vine climb.

*If you are wanting to climb a vine on your arbor, buying one with a trellis built-in is the easiest method.

12. Use a Trellis Attached to a Wall of a House or Building

Ways to Add a Trellis to Your Cottage Garden 12. Wall Lattice

This lattice is attached to a wall of a home in Nantucket, MA to support these gorgeous roses. Picture was taken by my friend, Trisha Mitchell.

Have you seen those English homes with ivy growing all up the side of the house?

So gorgeous.

If you want to get just a touch of that feeling in your garden, you can attach a wall trellis to your house or building and plant the vine at its base.

Very soon, the trellis will be encompassed by the vine and the impact will be breathtaking.

You can use a large rectangular one or choose a trellis with some architectural design.

Vines can get heavy over the years.

Attaching the trellis to the wall will give it strength to be able to hold up over time.

If you have a vinyl-sided house, this isn’t a good idea.

The vine will find its way between the vinyl and can take over before you turn around.

Brick and stone are great options for this but even then, you need to keep an eye on the vine and keep them in check.

I have grown a vine right on vinyl siding on a shed.

I used an annual vine, so even though it grows aggressively, it dies back in the winter and I completely remove it.

Another time I placed a freestanding wall trellis near my vinyl-sided house.

I left several feet between the trellis and the house.

‘Sweet Autumn’ clematis, a vigorous grower, was my vine of choice this time.

I would check the vine throughout the summer to be sure it wasn’t growing into my house.

At the end of the season, I would cut it back considerably.

*If you are wanting to grow a vine on a wall of your house or a building, use a substantial wall lattice trellis.

13. Use a Trellis for the Low-Maintenance Cottage Garden

Ways to Add a Trellis to Your Cottage Garden 13. Low-Maintenance Addition

If you are looking for a way to increase the charm in your cottage garden without adding any work, consider a trellis! Here is a round trellis in my cottage garden. My vine isn’t thriving (yet!) but the trellis still looks great and no work is needed!

If you are looking to design a low-maintenance cottage garden, a trellis can add all the charm with ZERO effort after it is installed.

My son wants a front garden that is beautiful but he simply does not have the time to take care of it.

He wants to plant it and forget it.

This is nearly impossible but a trellis is one thing you can install and forget.

It can be beautiful even without a vine climbing it.

*If you want to use a trellis as a zero-maintenance garden addition, choose a highly architectural tuteor, round, or obelisk trellis. Or a collection of several of the same type.


Tracy Crosland, owner of Hey Honeysuckle

Written by Tracy Crosland

I was born and raised in small town, Tennessee. As an adult, I found myself thrown into the construction business, building new homes in our little town. My son has now taken over the business, which means I do what I want - a lot of playing in my cottage flower garden (zone 7). I hope you feel the love in my garden and in my blogs and that we can be friends.

For more about me, click HERE.

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I want you to be happy too…so this one’s on me.

  • Learn to create your first cottage garden with step-by-step instructions
  • A checklist to keep you on track
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My Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your First Cottage Garden

My Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your First Cottage Garden

Cottage gardens make me happy!
I want you to be happy too…so this one’s on me.

  • Learn to create your first cottage garden with step-by-step instructions
  • A checklist to keep you on track
  • Images to inspire
  • Increase the value of your home by thousands
  • Explode your happiness quotient
  • Oh, yeah. It’s free! Free happiness.