Adding a trellis to your balcony has plenty of uses aside from providing support for climbing plants. Done properly, a trellis can be a design feature in itself.
Of course, if you’re working with an apartment balcony, space is at a premium. So, to get a balcony trellis that works for you, it’s easiest to build one yourself.
In this article, you’ll find some useful DIY trellis ideas. We’ll cover uses for a balcony trellis, the best materials to use, and a step-by-step guide to building your own trellis.
Uses for a Balcony Trellis
Of course, the most obvious use for any trellis is to support plants. But, their uses go beyond just that. Here are some brief DIY trellis ideas for your balcony.
A DIY privacy trellis is great for blocking the view into your balcony (and your apartment). The best privacy screens still let in light but make it difficult to see in.
This is particularly helpful for lower-level balconies, but anyone can benefit from a privacy screen. You can either grow plants up it, which can take a few years, or fit a screen or faux plants over the trellis for instant privacy.
When trying to design a garden on a balcony, vertical plants are your best friends. You’ll want to favor climbing or hanging plants that don’t have a large footprint, as this’ll allow you to squeeze more in.
It really depends on whether you want plants for looks or plants for food. Either way, a DIY bamboo trellis is a good starting point.
A trellis is a perfect starting point for some interesting balcony décor. For example, you can use a trellis to hang lights, candles, or other decorations.
Alternatively, a trellis is perfect for hiding or disguising boring bits of wall. Granted, you probably don’t have much to hide on an apartment balcony, but a DIY trellis is a more convenient option than drilling and screwing things into walls.
DIY Trellis Ideas – Styles for Balconies
The best trellis styles for a balcony are all flat. While a frame or freestanding trellis can look great in a small corner, their footprint doesn’t make them viable when space is at a premium.
Trellis panels are quite easy to make and the steps are detailed below. You can mount a trellis panel on a wall or use it as a DIY privacy screen.
Also, it’s easy to build a small trellis and put it in a plant pot. This is a better idea than a frame trellis because the pot will already be there, meaning you don’t need to increase its footprint.
A T-post trellis is perhaps the most basic design. It’s simply 1 or 2 vertical poles with horizontal canes tied to them. This would be ideal for walls or staking into plant pots.
If you’re feeling really fancy, consider making a honeycomb trellis. It takes some DIY skill, though, so check out this video for a full tutorial.
The Best Materials for a DIY Trellis
Deciding on the right materials for your trellis will depend on its purpose. Freestanding trellises will need sturdier materials than something strung up a wall.
Also, a trellis intended for fast-growing plants (such as honeysuckle) will need to be stronger than one for hanging lights. The same is true for growing food, as a tomato plant can get surprisingly heavy.
The best materials for making a DIY trellis are:
- Bamboo canes – cheap, versatile
- Lumber – more expensive but easy to use. Best to use cedar strips
- Gardener’s wire – great for a wall trellis
- Gardening twine – the least expensive option, doesn’t hold much weight
- Chicken wire – almost no construction needed
- Remesh wire – equally easy to use
Alternatively, you could repurpose some old bits and pieces you have lying around. For example, a shoe rack can make a great small trellis for climbing plants, as can a coat rack.
While they might have a larger footprint, it’s easy to stand them inside a plant pot.
How to Build a DIY Trellis
Below are several simple methods for some DIY trellis ideas. None of these take much effort and should be compliant with building regulations, which makes them renter-friendly. Be sure to check first though!
DIY Wire Trellis
This method is only suitable for a wall but you can make it as big as you want.
- Begin by sticking some adhesive hooks on the wall. This saves you measuring and drilling holes.
- Stick them in an M pattern – one at the top, one at the bottom in a diagonal pattern.
- Finally, thread wire around the hooks from one end to the other. Wrap the wire several times around each hook for greater security.
DIY Bamboo Trellis or cedar trellis
A DIY bamboo trellis can either be mounted on a wall (just use some adhesive hooks) or can be freestanding. These steps are also suitable for a lumber trellis panel.
- Measure the size you want the trellis to be. You can get long bamboo canes from DIY stores, but if you need ones longer than 6-7’, consider building 2 panels.
- Make the outside frame first. Simply arrange canes in a square or rectangle and tie them together with cable ties.
- Next, tie down more canes to create a panel of small squares roughly 2” x 2”.
- Finally, hang the trellis.
DIY Privacy Screen
For a DIY privacy screen, simply make a trellis panel using the method detailed above and then cover it in a mesh screen. You can easily staple or cable tie this over the frame.
To make the privacy screen more secure, consider installing some screws about the balcony edge to fix it in place.
There are plenty of suitable DIY trellis ideas for balconies. Whether you want to grow plants or need a bit of privacy, a trellis is the way forward. Plus, the benefit of building it yourself is that you can make it to your exact dimensions, always a plus when space is tight!