Five DIY Garden Trellis Plans – Inexpensive Ways to Garden Vertically

A trellis is an architectural structure for your garden with a purpose: a vertical support for training plants to grow up and around it. Trellises make it easier to access some vegetables – like cucumbers – and make an attractive structure in your garden when full of trailing vines, fruit and flowers. Because trellises encourage upright growth, they can actually give you more space in the garden since plants are growing up rather than out. Generally trellises have an open framework or lattice of interwoven pieces of wood, bamboo or metal or really any found object that you may have.

There are many types of trellises that can range from very inexpensive to hundreds of dollars. But, you can make a trellis yourself for very little. Many DIY garden trellis plans are available that will add an attractive flair to your garden or landscaping. Whether you make one or several of the designs, definitely consider looking at them all.

Garden Obelisks

No DIY garden trellis plans would be complete without designs for a garden obelisk. I have to admit, this is one of my favorite types of trellises. They stand tall in the garden and allow your crop or flowers to stand tall too. They can be natural colored or painted a variety of colors to match your color scheme or tastes.

Leo from Cottage at the Crossroads shares his detailed plans on how to make the garden obelisk.

Very Easy DIY Garden Trellis

Gina Michele gives detailed directions on how to make this easy and inexpensive garden trellis. It is made out of 1 x 2 and 2 x 2 strips of lumber and will easily attach to your wall. It would be easy to change the configuration to fit the space in your garden.

This could easily be made in one afternoon and would provide a great trellis for morning glories or passion flowers. Plans on how to build this trellis are available here.

Easy Lattice Garden Trellis

This is another easy to built garden trellis that you could build in an afternoon. Lorraine from Of Faith and Fiber shares her plans with you on how to build this trellis.

This would be a great trellis for a vertical garden of veggies – peas, cucumbers, squash or beans. But, it would also be quite attractive as a privacy screen with flowers growing on it. Directions for the design are found in two parts: Part 1 and Part 2.

TeePee Trellis for Under $5

Angela from the Coupon Project shares her design for a very simple three-pole trellis.

Angela uses bamboo poles and twine for these very easy to build trellises. They are easy to put up at the beginning of the season and easy to take down at the end. The directions are pretty simple, but she provides additional tips on trellises.

Simple Wood and String Trellis for the Garden

A trellis can be as simple as tying some string onto a wooden frame using nails, screws or hooks as anchors. If you use reclaimed wood, it can be virtually free and easy to construct.

You can watch a video about how to construct this simple trellis or just look at the ample plans on the site. Jute twine was used for this trellis because it is inexpensive and can be cut down and thrown in the compost bin at the end of the growing season. This simple trellis can be attached to a raised bed or be freestanding.

Five Plans to Build Your Vertical Garden

These DIY garden trellis plans are by no means the only ones that are available. I will have continuing posts on additional plans that are available. The good thing is that you can spend as little or as much time building trellises that will allow you to grow plants up instead of out. The trellis will give you more garden in the same space, thus improving your harvest. Trellises also give the plants air and room to spread out as they grow. You don’t have to worry about stepping on plants or fruit as the growing season progresses. In addition to making your plants happy, trellises just make your garden look great! Try some of these ideas and let me know how your garden grows!

How to No Dig Garden – Esther Deans’ “Easy” Way to Garden

Gardening provides many health benefits – beyond just eating good, healthy food. However, gardening can be difficult for the elderly and those who have health issues. Learning how to no dig garden can make gardening a real possibility for anyone – regardless of age or health. In addition, home gardeners can benefit the environment – more specifically build the topsoil that is being rapidly depleted by current agricultural practices. David Montgomery, a geologist at the University of Washington and author of Dirt, “Estimates that we are now losing about 1 percent of our topsoil every year to erosion, most of this caused by agriculture.” Recent research has determined that the topsoil in the United States used for crops is being eroded at least 10 times faster than the time it takes for lost soil to be replaced.

Soil isn’t just dirt – it is actually an outer protective layer over the bedrock of the planet that is teeming with life: living organisms, nutrients, and minerals. The busy environment in soil provides a habitat for plants and animals as well as helping to regulate water flow and temperature. According to Ecology Action, current farming practices reportedly destroy about six pounds of soil for each pound of food produced. Indeed, worldwide only about 33 to 49 years of farmable soil remains.

Alarming? Yes. But as the home gardener, you can indeed implement practices that will help replenish Earth’s topsoil. One way to do this is through Biointensive Gardening. In another post, I will review this type of gardening. However, it is not easy – in fact, to get started, you will find Biointensive gardening to be – well, intense. However, in 1977, Harper and Row published their first book in Australia, a little gardening book called No-Dig Gardening & Leaves of Life by Esther Deans, which offers a way to grow an abundant garden, build topsoil and never have to dig in the dirt. Often called lasagna gardening in the U. S. her easy way to garden will get you started in one season. You will be amazed at the ease with which you will learn how to no dig garden.

High Yield from a No Dig Garden

Esther Deans had health issues and could not grow a garden the traditional way. But, she didn’t know how effective this method of gardening would be – no research was out there since really no one had tried it before. Her first try was a 6 X 8 foot garden using her no dig method – and from just the first planting, her yield was 49.5 pounds of potatoes. A visitor to her garden became very excited about the prospect of growing this way and during her first season of the no dig garden, she produced 200 pounds of zucchini and button squash – enough to feed her family and sell to others. Clearly, you can expect high yields from this type of garden.

How to No Dig Garden – A Garden of Paper, Straw and Hay

No dig gardens are maintained using organic principles without toil and sweat. It is easy for a child or old person to build and if built up on a raised bed, can be built and maintained by someone in a wheelchair. The idea is to build a garden on top of the existing ground – even if that means building it on top of concrete – or as in my case, on top of hard, packed red clay. The garden comprises rectangular beds raised above the ground, surrounded with hardwood, small bricks or concrete blocks, or anything that can hold the rich organic moisture in place. The no dig garden can be built in two environments – one that will go on lawn or an existing garden, the other one that will go on top of hard, rocky ground or concrete.

To build on top of a lawn or existing garden, select a sunny area. Surround the area with a wall, then spread a layer of newspapers at least a quarter inch deep. Overlap the pages of the newspaper to keep the lawn from growing through. Do not use the colored paper from the newspaper or cardboard for this step. Cover the newspaper with pads of alfalfa hay. Then sprinkle a light dusting of organic fertilizer or dry chicken manure over the hay. Cover with eight inches of loose straw and sprinkle with more fertilizer. Finally, top with a patch of good compost three to four inches deep and about 18 inches across where you will plant the seeds. According to Deans, two bales of alfalfa hay and one bale of straw will make a good-sized garden.

To build on top of hard, rocky ground or concrete, first put down a layer of old leaves, small sticks and pieces of seaweed three to four inches deep. On top of this, build the garden as described above.

Follow the steps below to build your first no-dig garden – seemingly instantly.

  1. Make a frame of any materials you have available – old timber, pallet boards that have been heat treated, bricks or concrete blocks. The purpose is to contain the garden – around the area you have selected for your garden.
  2. Cover the area with a layer of newspaper at least 1/4 inch thick, overlapping the layers four to six inches to keep weeds and grass from growing through. Thoroughly soak the newspaper before laying it down or water it once on the ground. Remember: do not use glossy colored paper as it bleeds ink that can be toxic.
  3. Cover the newspaper with pads of alfalfa hay as they come off the bale, about four inches deep. Water the hay lightly. NOTE: You can use other types of carbon containing materials such as pea straw, straw, sugar cane mulch, etc. but alfalfa has a much higher nitrogen content making it preferable for no-dig gardening.
  4. Sprinkle the hay with blood and bone fertilizer or chicken manure and lightly water it in.
  5. Cover this area with about eight inches of loose straw and lightly water in.
  6. Again sprinkle the straw with blood and bone fertilizer or chicken manure and lightly water.
  7. Top in a circle of compost about four inches deep and 17-18 inches across. If you have enough compost, you can cover the whole area.

Planting in the No Dig Garden

This is quite simple: Plant your seedlings in the compost. Water gently.

Maintaining the No Dig Garden

To maintain any type of no-dig garden, remember one simple rule – don’t dig it!!!! If you dig the garden, you will ruin all the work the earthworms and other aspects of nature are doing for you. Earthworms continue to cultivate the soil and they don’t like to be disturbed.

After harvesting and the end of growing season, the layers will have rotted down into the soil, enriching it and improving the structure. At that time, you can replenish the no-dig layers and will replenish them again at the end of each major growing season.

How to replenish the layers of the no-dig garden:

  1. Add a layer of manure. As an option, you can also add compost.
  2. Next, cover the manure layer with a layer of straw
  3. Water the straw and compost it in and you are ready for the next growing season.

No-dig Gardening is the Way to Go

Learning how to no dig garden is definitely a great way to enrich your soil, improve the environment and make your job as a gardener easier. For those who have disabilities or who are elderly, this could be a way to be able to garden again or for the first time. This is definitely a way to make your life and gardening more sustainable. If you would like more information about how to no dig garden, I found these sites to be helpful:

Deep Green Permaculture – No Dig Gardening

Charles Dowding’s No dig gardening on No Dig Gardening