The word "trellis" comes from the French word “treillage.” Traditionally, a “treillage” was a structure made from crisscrossed wooden batons inside a sturdy frame. The crisscrossed structure forms a latticework used to support climbing vines. The term "lattice" refers to a structure made from crossed strips of material. The lattice becomes a trellis when used to support plants.
A lattice is a structure made from crisscrossed strips of wood or other sturdy material with open space between the strips. The strips are usually arranged to form a diagonal pattern, and the construction material may be wood, plastic or metal. Home improvement stores sell sheets of lattice in a variety of sizes and gauges. Lattice has many uses around the exterior of homes and gives the property a detailed and finished appearance.
Uses for Lattice
For decorative use, enclose lattice in a wooden frame. Once framed, you can use lattice as a skirting or underpinning for porches, decks and mobile homes when you want to let air flow freely around the structure. In the garden, use lattice to edge flower gardens, mark divisions in the garden and cover planters for a more decorative appearance. Sturdy lattice makes an attractive fence or gate. Small gauge lattice, or lattice with smaller holes, adds privacy to spas and hot tubs.
Trellises are supporting structures for plants. Existing structures such as fences and mailbox poles make excellent trellises for climbing vines. You can construct a basic trellis by running wire or string between two poles or use three or four poles tied together at the top to form a teepee. Trellises save space in the vegetable garden by allowing gardeners to grow vining plants such as peas, beans, squash and melons vertically instead of allowing them to sprawl on the ground. Used as a supporting structure for flowering vines, trellises provide shade, protect the garden from strong winds and define the shape of the garden.
Trellises Made From Lattice
Lattice is well-suited to making trellises because it can be cut to any size and provides lots of points of attachment for climbing plants. Simply build a frame of the desired size and attach the lattice to the back of the frame. Attach a trellis to a wall, leaving about 2 inches between the wall and the trellis, or attach rebar to the bottom of the trellis and drive it into the ground.
- “Vertical Gardening”; Derek Fell
- This Old House: How to Install Porch Lattice
- “Trellises and Arbors”; Scott Atkinson, et al.
- University of Vermont Extension: Grow Vertical Vegetables
- “Making Arbors and Trellises”; Marcianne Miller, et al.
- Photo Credit Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images