Budget garden trellis ideas – 5 ways to affordably create a garden feature and support your climbing plants

5 budget garden trellis ideas to support your climbers without spending too much

A patio with planters and a trellis fence with climbing plants
(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

A garden trellis can be found in most gardens as they come with many benefits and functions - from the practicalities like providing support for your climbing plants and helping to create privacy in your outdoor space to more aesthetic purposes like creating an eye-catching feature. And the good news is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy the many uses with our budget garden trellis ideas.

Garden trellis ideas are one of those things were you can spend the big bucks if you'd like. However, with a little bit of creativity, DIY skills and general know-how, you can unlock a whole of budget garden ideas.

If you want to save some cash, then we’ve put together 5 budget-friendly garden trellis ideas, all of which are 100% practical, nice to look at and come approved by our gardening experts.

A garden with a trellis fence and plants displayed on a ladder

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

5 budget garden trellis ideas

A trellis can be one of the best garden screening ideas once they become covered with one (or more) fast-growing climbing plants ideal for creating privacy in your garden or patio, hidden away from nosey neighbours and passers-by.

As all you need to do is attach them to your fence or garden wall, a garden trellis don’t require a lot of space and if you take one of our wallet-friendly ideas on board, a trellis can be a great budget small garden idea.

1. Repurpose a ladder

A ladder turned into a suspended trellis for ivy

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Making a trellis on a budget is the perfect upcycling idea for the garden as you can repurpose something like an old ladder that you already own and turn it into an upcycled trellis.

‘You can encourage plants to climb and grow up the ladder rungs and attach the wooden ladders to a wall or fence and even just lean them up against the wall,’ says Steve Chilton, garden expert at LeisureBench.

And the best part is that you don’t really have to do much to turn a ladder into a DIY trellis, other than attach the climbing plants to it. The structure is already there. But if you want to make it look a little bit sleeker, you can give it a lick of paint or varnish to make it look like new.

Steve Chilton portrait
Steve Chilton

Steve is a passionate and knowledgeable garden expert with several years of experience within the field. As the director of LeisureBench, an industry-leading garden furniture company, Steve has developed strong expertise for all things nature and plants.

2. Turn wire mesh into a trellis

A garden flower display made with an upcycled picture frame and chicken wire

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Brittain)

If you want an almost invisible trellis that will make your easy climbing plants stand out, then utilising wire mesh is the best option.

‘Using wire mesh as a trellis can be sturdy and very affordable, as well as easy to put up on a wall or a fence. Wire mesh also blends in quite well to where it's located, so if you're looking for your plants to grow up tall without having a highly visible trellis, this is a great option,’ Steve advises.

For this, you can either use fencing mesh or chicken wire, both of which are incredibly affordable and can be bought from as little as £7 for one metre.

Where to buy wire mesh:

3. Make a trellis from bamboo poles

Garden storage made from upcycled wooden crates

(Image credit: Future PLC/Spike Powell)

If you are a fan of the organic look, then using bamboo poles to create a trellis grid is a great option as they are both a very sustainable and affordable material to source. But make sure you opt for the thicker poles rather than the skinny bamboo canes which wouldn’t offer enough support for your climbers and could break over time.

‘Bamboo poles can be arranged into a format that works just like a trellis. Although this method might be a bit difficult to put together, it is cheaper and will offer quite a natural look,’ Steve suggests.

You can just use some string to tie the poles together rather than nails or screws, which would reinforce the natural look. If that’s what you’re going for.

Where to buy bamboo poles:

4. Get an expanding trellis

A garden with potted plants and a trellis with climbing plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

Most store-bought trellises from the likes of hardware stores and garden centres tend to be quite affordable, as long as they’re made from softwood timber.

‘Some would probably be available in garden centres or hardware stores for around £20, and of course it would be much quicker to just buy one instead of making your own,’ Steve says.

But by far the cheapest type of trellis is expanding trellis. So if you don’t feel like DIY-ing your trellis and don’t want to spend much, this is an excellent option.

‘The most cost-effective is expanding trellis, which can be picked up from DIY and bargain home stores from just £4 to £5,’ says Thomas Goodman, property expert at MyJobQuote.co.uk, the UK’s leading trades matching site.

Where to buy an expanding garden trellis:

5. Make your own trellis out of timber battens or pallets

A garden trellis with hung planters and tools

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Similarly to using bamboo poles to arrange them into a trellis, you can do the same with either newly bought timber battens or you can upcycle an old pallet and repurpose its slats.

‘Use framing lumber and make your own trellis by coating it with sealer to make it more weather-resistant,’ says Petar Ivanov, Fantastic Gardeners' gardening expert. ‘You can also use recycled pallets, which you can disassemble and use the slats as you like.’

Thomas adds, ‘You can make your own trellis from treated timber battens. Thin, treated battens of softwood can be found at your local timber yard or fencing supplier for between 30p and 70p per metre. However, you will also need some nails to fix the wood together and screws to fix the trellis to your wall or fence.’

Where to buy timber:

A patio with potted plants and a trellis fence

(Image credit: Dobbies)


Is it cheaper to make your own trellis?

Whether a homemade trellis ends up being cheaper than a store-bought one largely depends on your chosen materials. But if you opt to upcycle materials already in your possession then it is certainly cheaper to do that over buying a ready-made trellis from a store.

‘The best option if you want a cheap garden trellis is to make it yourself. It would be cheaper to make your own if you're reusing materials such as wire and ladders, as these materials already exist and you already own them,’ Steve says.

A patio with planters and a trellis fence with climbing plants

(Image credit: Future PLC/Joanna Henderson)

Can a trellis be free-standing?

A trellis can be free-standing if you go for a specific type of trellis with an attached planter which anchors it and lets it stand on its own, like this one from Argos.

As you can see, garden trellises don’t need to be expensive as long as you use a bit of creativity. So have fun with it.

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.