Several different kinds of metal trellis can be purchased or constructed for use in a garden or patio garden. These include lightweight trellises that are made of aluminum as well as heavier trellises of iron and wrought iron.
General Trellis Uses
Overall, trellises are used to train clinging vines and plants to grow along a vertical structure. While many trellises are constructed of metals such as copper, wrought iron and even cast iron trellis materials, it is also possible to find trellises made of wood lattice, willow twigs, vinyl and plastic.
Trellises can be configured in flat structures that are installed on a wall or fence or be free-standing. They may be in 3-dimensional structures such as pyramids, obelisks or even spherical. Alternatively, they can be shaped as part of a bench, gazebo, gate or other garden feature. Trellises can also be fan-shaped to encourage plants to spread widely.
Lightweight Metal Trellises
Metal trellises that are made of aluminum or thin wire stainless steel are usually powder coated to protect the metal from rusting or becoming discolored.
These trellises are often used structurally to support plants and vines, like tomatoes and other plants. Most often, lightweight metal trellises are intended to support only one or two plants at a time. Common configurations include thin single spirals or single spikes that have a round or square open head for the plant to be supported.
Lightweight metal trellises are not intended to support a great deal of weight and will bend and even break easily if over burdened.
Heavier Metal Trellises
Trellises that are made of wrought iron or other heavy metals like copper are stronger and sturdier. Frequently these trellises have both a functional and decorative aspect. Functionally, they are used as screens to provide privacy between areas of a garden or along a patio or balcony. Metal trellises can be found with additional features like built-in sprinklers, hangers for small planters or other decorative elements to be hung from the structure.
It is not uncommon to find that cast iron or wrought iron trellises are constructed as part of garden elements that provide visual and artistic focal points for a garden. They may be installed as an entire length of trellis wall with the intention of allowing climbing or clinging plants to grow to a density so as to create what is, in essence, a living fence. Using a metal trellis in this manner can actually provide a very effective privacy screen.
Metal trellises are also used to hang interesting garden items. These items can include bird feeders, wind chimes, glass globes or other sculptural elements. Tucked in among flowering and growing plants, these items peeking out from between vines can be a delightful surprise for garden visitors to discover.
Before using a metal trellis in the garden, careful thought should be given to how the trellis is going to be used and the types of plants that will be supported by the trellis. While metal trellises often last a very long time and can be used over and over again as seasons pass, they also require regular maintenance and cleaning, unlike other types of trellises like rustic twig or wood trellises.