If you think of your garden as a canvas, then a custom designed trellis is like a living sculpture. Aesthetically combining ornamental metal work and climbing plants, a custom trellis can be an expression of both your green thumb and your artistic taste. It can be a simple flat panel or a three-dimensional sculpture that looks terrific bare or with vines.
A trellis can add a strong focal point to a large expanse of wall. It can serve as a wall for an arbor or a post for a ramada. Stand-alone trellises are useful for dividing garden “rooms” or screening unsightly areas. A trellis can also be used to create a living frame around another element, such as a fountain or garden art.
In choosing a trellis, remember that the design should complement the architecture of your home, as well as existing elements in the garden. Take into account its location and the plants it will support. If it will be covered by a climbing plant that remains lush year-round, like star jasmine or tangerine crossvine, then a very simple design is best. In this case, you can save money by using a metal grid like the type used for laying cement. This grid can be enhanced by framing it with thicker poles or an unconventional shape.
If you want the trellis for delicate specimens, such as snapdragon vine, or summer vines like queen’s wreath, consider a decorative design that provides sculptural beauty as well as plant support. Curved supports can be used to create a more organic feeling than standard lattice work. Another innovative touch is to create a window-like opening at the top of a stand-alone trellis by leaving space between the uppermost bar and the top frame. This creates visibility between garden “rooms.”
The ideal metal trellis for Southwestern gardens is constructed of steel with a rusted finish. Steel is highly durable, easy to maintain and never needs painting. Steel provides a strong structure that will be able to support the weight of a climbing plant as it matures. This is especially important for heavy, woody climbers such as grapevines. The rich earth tones of a rusted finish beautifully complement a garden setting. Glass, other metals, ceramics and wood can be used as accents.
Custom trellises are an excellent investment for your yard. Offering both year-round beauty and durability, they add a unique, personalized dimension to your garden.
Tidi Ozeri is an Israeli metal artist now living in Tucson. He owns Ozeri Metal Designs. ozerimetaldesigns.com
Reprinted with permission from Northern Pima County Women’s Journal.