8 Low-Cost & No-Cost Garden Trellis Ideas for Vining Foods and Flowers

Want to build a garden trellis that’s cheap and easy? These DIY trellis ideas for the garden are quick to make and don’t cost much.

A homemade garden trellis using string and pipe supporting tomato plants.

Trellises serve an important function in the garden. Climbing plants like cucumbers, morning glories, indeterminate tomatoes (should you be removing the suckers from your tomatoes?), peas, squashes, and other climbing vines need support to reach their maximum potential. You can purchase tomato cages or garden obelisks, but you can DIY one (or 100) for less money.

They can be completely utilitarian, or they can be a work of art. The best part is that they can cost pennies or even be free with a little ingenuity. They can be assembled in minutes or toiled away year after year to become intricate masterpieces. I love repurposing things I already have. I love it even more when it is old, beautiful, and given new life.

Below are seven functional trellis ideas that won’t break the bank.

Upcycled Trellises

A great example is this wooden ladder. It may not be beautiful, but it does have some charm.  Mostly, it serves a purpose. As a ladder, its days were over. The bottom rung pivoted, and the other rungs creaked under a small person’s weight. Now it lives its life trellising gourds and pumpkins. With pumpkins on the side with the larger steps, I can frequently rest the growing pumpkins on the steps to take the weight off the vine. If it’s sturdy enough, the little shelf could be used for some decor or even a small drip irrigation bucket.

When using a ladder for a trellis, ensure the feet are planted into the ground a bit. Once it has foliage on it, it tends to catch the wind. A strong wind could knock it over, ripping the plant up by the roots.

A wooden ladder trellis with squash.

Check out Growing In the Garden for tips and tricks for using ladders in the garden.

Window frames make another wonderful upcycled trellis. Below is a beautiful window frame trellis found on Cool DIY Ideas that uses chicken wire to support the growing plants.

A wooden window trellis with chicken wire stapled inside.

Tree Branches

After a long, hard winter, it’s often easy to find branches that have fallen under the weight of the snow. These branches are excellent trellises. You can use them to create a teepee or as a structure to attach chicken wire or twine. The best part about these trellises is the natural feel and the free factor.

By cutting or snapping the branches, you can customize them to whatever size and shape you need. Another added bonus is the bark. It creates a rough texture for tendrils to grab hold of.

A ladder trellis made of tree branches.

See the tutorial for building the tree branch trellis above at Gingham Gardens.

Bamboo Poles

Bamboo poles are as versatile as tree branches, but you can get a bit more creative because they are fairly uniform. If you have bamboo growing natively, you can use that (just be sure to dry it completely before using it so it doesn’t root in your garden). If you don’t have bamboo natively, your local garden center should have them cheaply.

A teepee trellis made of bamboo poles and twine.

House Grail has six bamboo trellis ideas for you to scope out.


Pallets are available almost anywhere, and you can sometimes find them for free. Either staked into the ground with a 2×4 or made into a triangle like shown in the picture below, they make a great trellis for your shorter-growing vines.

Some caution should be used when implementing pallets in the garden. Be sure that the pallets you are using are heat-treated and not chemically treated. They will be marked with HT or MB. MB stands for methyl bromide, a chemical that is not food-safe. HT stands for heat-treated. Heat-treated pallets are safe around edible plants.

An A-frame trellis made from two pallets.

Hog and Cattle Panels

Hog and cattle panels are great garden trellises because they are sturdy with a grid built in. Tall panels can be used to create an arch between two beds. The way they are set up means they will support each other’s weight. These tall panels are great for beans that frequently grow very tall. You can reach the topmost ones from inside the arch.  Short rows of panels can be used for short crops like snow peas. These look great grown as a border around raised beds.

Hog panels bent over to form arches.

Get Busy Gardening shows you how to make a cattle panel arch trellis.

Tip: Combine different trellis designs and materials in your garden to create a visually appealing and dynamic landscape. Experiment with a variety of shapes, heights, and textures to add an artistic touch to your gardening space.

In the video below, Urban Farmstead shows you how to make a hog-panel fence trellis.

French Tuteurs

These trellises are more “polished” than many of the ones above, but they still cost only $25 and take only 90 minutes to make. Get in touch with your weekend warrior and follow this tutorial for wooden trellises from She Holds Dearly.

Tuteur trellises made from inexpensive lumber.

Frequently Asked Questions

Trellises are especially beneficial for vining plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, and beans. These plants can climb the trellis, optimizing space and allowing for better air circulation, sunlight exposure, and easier harvesting.

The method of securing a trellis depends on its type and material. Stake-style trellises can be pushed into the soil, while larger structures may need to be anchored. Consider your soil type and the potential weight of the plants on the trellis when securing it in place.

Properly maintained trellises shouldn’t attract pests or diseases more than any other part of the garden. Regular cleaning, pruning, and inspecting for pests will help prevent any issues. Trellising can, in fact, reduce certain diseases, like powdery mildew, by improving airflow around plants.

If you are working on setting up your first garden, be sure to check out Setting Up a Veggie Garden in the Backyard and Container Gardening with Fun Planters to Suit Your Style.

If you’ve found value in this blog post and enjoyed reading it, why not share it with your Pinterest community? Pin the image below and spread the love!

A Pinterest-friendly graphic for my post on how to make your own trellis for your garden.

Trellises are an inexpensive way to add style and functionality to your garden. Get inspired to creatively enhance your garden’s vertical space with the variety of low-cost and no-cost trellis ideas shared in this post. By being creative, you can improve your gardening capabilities without breaking the bank, transforming your yard into a beautiful and functional refuge.

Have you discovered a great free or cheap garden trellis system? I’d love to hear what it is. I’m always looking for new and exciting ideas.

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  1. Nenamaradiaga says:

    Estoy feliz con todas las ideas.
    Por ahora les dejo pues no veo la hora de empezar!!! Muchisimas gracias!!

  2. Greg Sanderson says:

    We using hog panels over the driveway and ramp for permanent trellis. I wish that I
    had used cattle panels instead as those are wider. And in front of the house to trellis the roses as living security . Using a sapling oak tree as a bean/pea pole. This will feed both us and the young oak.
    Now we can get out of the car and pick food on the way into the house. Next we will attack the neighbors bamboo patch, this should be fun.

  3. Nancy Dumas says:

    *I’m looking for a “cheap” sort of trellis that I can use for my roses. They look sorta of like this. They are made of cheap metal and sets behind the rosel

  4. Where have you guy’s been all my life !!!!!.

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      That’s a great idea! I used my chicken coop/run for our grapes. It took advantage of an existing structure, provides shade for the hens in the summer, and if you shake it all the june bugs fall off and the ladies gobble them right up.

  5. We had some pieces of an old crib someone threw out. My husband staked some of the sides and planted pinto beans around it.

  6. If you have bamboo in your area along the side your roadways and the city or county cuts them down. Ask your city’s or county’s authority if you can get them. Most likely they’ll be glad for you to take them off their hands. You can make great trellis’s out of them there are so many ways that you can arrange them for any project. The bugs want eat them just take the leaves of and any of sprouts on the stokes of bamboo.

  7. šetrne s pozemkom says:

    Treba sadiť súčasne kukuricu,medzi ňu fazule aj tekviece. Fazula sa vytiahne po kukurici

  8. S. Begley says:

    My problem is not creating a place or finding places to put trellises;but getting my chinese wisteria to bloom!

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      I love wisteria!

  9. What great ideas! We had one of those pop-up canopy tents blow over last year and I used parts of the frame for my pea trellis this year. I never thought to use branches….we have tons of those!

    Thanks again for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. I hope to see you this week!


  10. Ashley Hetrick says:

    I love the ladder trellis idea, but I disagree with it not being beautiful. It’s stunning! Really draws the eye. Thanks for the idea!

  11. I have twin bed springs zip tied to T post or hanging on the back of our shed with iron hooks for my butternut squash and gourds to climb. It works wonderful ! This will be out 2nd year for them. I also have a iron bed headboard in one raised bed for climbing cukes.

  12. My first trellis was made of branches that I harvested off the tree they cut down next door. I found about 50 4 inch nails in the dumpster of the house they were building across the street to help build it. It became un-sturdy after 3 years. I took the sides and made a fence trellis for the cucumbers. I had to replace that trellis so I made another trellis with re-purposed PVC that I bought at the habitat store. ($1 for 10 ft, 25 cents for the connectors) I made the frame with PVC, threaded a nylon web trellis on to the frame. I had some old 4 ft stakes that I slipped the PVC frame on. It can be taken down in the winter or moved to a diff bed if needed. Yes i also have a ladder for squash.

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      I love the creativity!

  13. Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says:

    Great ideas! How I wish I had an old wooden stepladder lying around! That would be so perfect in my garden.

    1. Jessica Lane says:

      Keep your eyes peeled. You can find stuff like that all over the place when you are looking for them. My husband laughs at all the “treasures” I bring home from the side of the road because I’m sure I can repurpose them.

  14. Anonymous says:

    We have an above ground pool with a large deck surrounding it, and a huge garden behind it. This year, I’m growing pole beans going up the sides of the fence that surrounds the pool!

    1. That sounds like a great idea. I love when people use edible landscaping to soften hardscapes. It make the man made look more natural. Feel free to share pictures on our Facebook page. I love stuff like this!

  15. I love seeing how creative people get with cheap/free trellis ideas. I got freestanding pool ladders from FreeCycle once and trellised cucumbers up them. The blue plastic steps weren’t exactly pretty with all of the natural colors of the garden, but they were functional and provided a little bit of shade for the heat-stressed plants.

    I don’t pull every, single weed and one grew tall and sturdy last year — a cucumber trellised itself up the weed.

    I saw DIY stuff on building an A-frame for tomatoes, so this year a couple of my tomatoes are strung up underneath an old swingset frame.

  16. I’m glad reading your article. Good job, cheers.

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