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How to Install a Trellis

By Kate Evelyn ; Updated September 21, 2017

If you want to grow roses, tomatoes or another climbing plant in your garden, it’s a good idea to install a trellis. A trellis is a wood or metal grid you can use to help the vines grow vertically without tipping over or becoming too entangled. You can also use your trellis to decorate a seating area or hide an unsightly wall. Note that it will take anywhere from several weeks to several months before your trellis is completely covered in greenery.

Pick a spot for your trellis. Consider the light and soil moisture requirements for the plant you will be using it with.

Use the tape measure to determine the exact distance between posts. Dig a hole with the post hole digger for each post on the bottom of the trellis that is 1/3 its height and ½ inch wider in both width and depth. Put a 6-inch layer of gravel in the bottom of the holes.

Place your trellis in the holes and hammer it into the ground by lightly but firmly tapping it from the top of one of the rungs near the base. If your trellis is wider than 3 feet, tap it on the left side and then on the right side so it is more even.

Place a level on the top rung to check and see if the trellis is straight. If not, tap the side that’s higher until they match up. Fill in the holes with a mixture of 50 percent soil and 50 percent gravel.

Tamp down the soil that was disturbed when you installed the trellis until the ground is completely level.


Things You Will Need

  • Post hole digger
  • Hammer
  • Gravel
  • Tape measure
  • Level
  • Tamper


  • Check the stability of the trellis by putting gentle pressure on it near the top. If it feels very wobbly, plant a wooden post behind it and anchor it to that post using a metal bracket. You can hide it later with ivy.
  • Put your climbing plant in the ground directly in front of your trellis. If it already has some vines on it, weave them through the bottom rungs. As the plant grows, continue to do so, going upward and to the left and right until you've filled it out.
  • You can grow more than one plant on a single trellis if it is large enough. Allow at least 6 inches of space between them at the base.
  • Plant your trellis deep enough that the base is below the frost line.


  • Do not secure the trellis to the side of your home unless you want the vines to attach themselves to the siding. It's best to keep it at least 6 inches away to discourage the plant from crossing over.
  • If your trellis is taller than 6 feet, ask a friend to help you place it in the ground.