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What Is a Fan Trellis?

B. Turner
B. Turner

A fan trellis is a fan-shaped frame used to support outdoor plants. The base of the fan trellis consists of a simple stake or pair of stakes that can be inserted into the soil for support. As the trellis extends up from this stake, it fans outward to create a structure that's much wider at the top than it is at the bottom. The trellis provides a convenient growing environment that allows users to artfully display a plant, and also serves as a decorative and attractive feature in its own right.

These trellis structures are often used with climbing plants, such as vines or rose bushes. The fan trellis gives these plants a place to grow other than along a wall or fence, which helps to prevent damage caused by the roots. The trellis is anchored both into the ground and against the wall or fence for support, but the plant itself is pruned so it only attaches itself to the trellis. This also allows the homeowner to move the plant later, as needed, without too much disturbance.

Woman with a flower
Woman with a flower

Manufacturers produce a wide range of wood trellis designs to meet the needs of different users. Wood serves as the traditional material for these structures, though some may consist of metal, fiberglass, or even vinyl. Some homeowners build their own trellis out of wood, with redwood and cedar among the more popular species.

A fan trellis provides both aesthetic and functional benefits to gardeners and homeowners. It helps climbing plants grow up and outward with ease, while protecting walls and fences from damage. By fanning out at the top, the trellis also helps to expose a larger area of the plant to sunlight, which may improve growth rates. These structures also serve as an effective way to cover a bare or damaged wall in the garden. A trellis can also serve as a privacy screen, or may simply serve as a decorative item year-round, whether or not plants are present.

Buyers can choose from many fan trellis shapes and sizes. These units may range from just a few feet in height to the height of a building. They come in both narrow and wide profiles to fit both large and small spaces. Wider units help to spread a plant out, making it easier to care for, while taller units keep climbing vines and other plants on display over a larger area.

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Discussion Comments


A fan trellis looks very pretty, but since it moves and it's not a solid piece, it doesn't take a lot of weight. I tried using one for tomato vines and the weight of the tomatoes was just too much for the fan trellis. It kept sliding to one side or the other. I think this trellis is best for light climbers like jasmine.

And although some people do uplift a plant and move it along with the trellis. That's not a good idea for most plants, unless the plant is in a pot. So it's a good idea to place the trellis where it can remain indefinitely if possible.


@discographer-- Yes, I've made several fan trellis frames for my garden. They are fairly easy to make. The hardest part is finding the thin strips of wood, but you can cut them yourself if you're good with that.

You first need a stack to keep everything together. You can attached the thin wood pieces with bolts. Make sure that they spread out like a fan and then attach a cross piece at the very top to keep it all together. You'll also need a stake at the end to stabilize the frame into the ground.

Also, if you have random decorative items that you're going to throw away, think about whether they can be cut or adjusted in a way to make a fan trellis. A lot can be achieved with a little bit of imagination and creativity.


I want to make my own fan trellis. I checked out a few at stores, but they seemed a little expensive to me. They are fairly simple frames. So I think I should be able to make one without too much difficulty.

Has anyone here made their own fan trellis?

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