H Potter brand metal garden trellis outdoor landscape architectural structure inside greenhouse

Trellises: Buy or DIY?

Trellises are a longstanding staple of a gardener’s tool kit, used to beautify their garden or add some simple functionality. Trellising can serve a number of different purposes, whether they are only trellising small plants and vegetables, standing as the base for large climbing flowers, or even just as vertical yard art. As a result of these many different ways in which trellising is used, DIY trellising has become popular as it lends itself particularly to each unique situation. This method has also been linked to a cheaper experience for the gardener as DIY trellises will last longer than cheaper alternatives, while perhaps not running at the same price as a high quality trellis. However, for decades manufacturers have been selling trellises to the general public and there are numerous providers and a handful of high quality sellers that look to provide for the gardener’s needs. Trellises from this outlet are often more intricate, though they may either need to be replaced more often or perhaps are slightly more expensive. So what is the best option, should you Buy or DIY?

The Price?

One of the most obvious things that attracts gardeners to make their own trellising is the apparent price of purchasing a trellis. It seems as if the price would be substantially less to make the trip down to the local outdoor supply store and purchase the lumber that is necessary to build a trellis. This method appears to be fool proof, but we all know that lumber or whatever other material you might purchase to trellis your plants is not the only thing you will need to build your own trellising. The construction of DIY trellising will require a number of different power tools, screws, and the materials. The cost of these will quickly grow and make the project a bit more expensive than the builder may have thought at the beginning of the construction process.

Purchasing a trellis seems to be the worst of the options for pricing when compared to DIY. It seems like too many of the big box stores are selling extra-cheap options that will be lucky to last a full growing season, while smaller sellers will offer more durable products that appear to cost significantly more than a homemade option. However, what we really have to do is compare the pricing and longevity of a trellis when it comes to the best bang for your buck. Cheap purchased trellising will be lucky to last the year, though it will appear to be the most cost effective method, you will have to purchase a number of these every spring that you choose to garden. DIY methods will come at a heftier price and require more time commitment than these cheap trellises, but they will last for a few extra years. Investing in a higher end trellis will come at a slightly higher price than a DIY version, but a well-built metal trellis will last for years in the elements. For this facet of trellising, the gardener will want to look at the needs of their garden and the longevity of their plants. For heavier perennials, you may choose DIY trellising as a quality method. But for annual plants that flower year after year, having a heavy duty metal garden trellis will certainly pay dividends and keep your plants healthy.

The Look?

When you’re looking to Buy or DIY a trellis for your garden, you may make this decision based on the aesthetic of your garden and how the type of trellis may compliment this distinct character. Oftentimes a manufactured trellis will provide a garden with a more professional look. These trellises may display traditional lattice, scroll work, and other designs that can not only amplify, but add to the artistic beauty of the garden. This makes finding a beautiful piece for your garden easier than you think, and will take the pressure off the gardener who may not have the same artistry with woodworking that they do with their plants and gardens.

Beauty can be a more difficult virtue to attain for DIY trellising. While modern manufacturing can turn the art work of one professional into an easy to replicate structure, starting from scratch does not often come with this ease. Simple lumber does not make for the easiest material to create art from with a simple set of household tools. Blocky wood can be a durable material that is certainly another key piece of your garden, so you may have to trade beauty for functionality if you choose the DIY route. This difference between two methods once again is entirely dependent on the environment the gardener chooses to create. Some gardens may be better complimented by the rugged and handmade look of a homemade garden trellis, while some others may find themselves better integrated with an artistic piece that highlights the subtle beauty of the garden.

One Size Fits All?

An alluring aspect of the DIY trellis is the gardener’s ability to cater the construction of their trellis to fit the specific needs of their garden. Whether you’re dealing with a tricky corner or a space that’s like no one else’s, a DIY trellis can be made to account for these quirks. This makes the ability to build your own trellis a powerful tool in the gardener’s tool kit to create the perfect environment for their plants to thrive. This also becomes another one of the reasons for which people find that making their own trellises can be more valuable than purchasing one of many. However, DIY trellises aren't one size fits all either, as you will have to build different trellises for different plants and environments. This often means some research to find the best construction type for each of the plants in your garden.

Any trellis that you buy will never be created specifically for your exact garden. However, many are built with a type of plant or garden they will work best for, meaning that with a little searching there’s an option out there for any garden. If you’re looking to trellis smaller plants you won’t be looking for an 8-foot tall garden trellis, and likewise if you're growing a climbing rose you won’t want small lattice. Finding these different types of trellises means that you can create the type of garden that you want to while using trellises created for a general need.

Overall, different struggles present themselves whether you are building or buying a trellis for your garden. Our best advice is to choose the option that best fits your own garden, some unique gardens might require something custom built, though others may thrive with a durable and artistic manufactured trellis. As a gardener, knowing your strengths and weaknesses is key, if you have the ability and desire to build your own trellis then you might as well. However, for those who don’t feel qualified (or have the time) to create elegant objects for their garden, purchasing one is a great option for your garden. Look for a durable and well built trellis that will last for some time and you won’t be disappointed.

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