Nick Bailey on creating rooms with trellis
This cheap and easy design trick will transform gardens big or small
There’s a simple but effective design trick I use time and again. It’s not difficult to do and it makes a world of difference to your plot. I’m talking about dividing up spaces. This tried and tested design approach is guaranteed to make even the smallest garden feel bigger and, in the process, add mystery and allure.
From hedges and walls to fences and gabions, there are lots of ways to do this but the simplest, fastest and cheapest option is trellis. Just a few 1.8m x 1.8m (6ft x 6ft) panels, positioned in the right place and flanked with climbers, will change how a garden feels. Long plots work best, divided two or three times to produce square ‘rooms’. Large gardens can also accommodate multiple trellis screens to make interconnected rooms.
There are many styles of trellis on the market. Some are so densely gridded that most plants would struggle to get a grip on them, but can work as stand-alone, plant-free divisions. Others are high-end and high-price, or constructed from steel rather than wood. The most commonly available from garden centres and DIY stores are those with a roughly 30cm (1ft) grid. They tend to be sold in 1.8m (6ft) heights and different widths. Trellis is also easy to build yourself but can be more expensive than pre-made panels.
Although it doesn’t receive the same wind buffering as a solid fence panel, trellis does take a battering, especially if it’s flanked with climbers, so sturdy support posts are essential. Go for a minimum of 10cm x 10cm (4in x 4in) tanalised timber posts. These should be plunged into around 45cm (18in) of concrete below ground. Keep it simple by buying pre-mix bags of concrete and adding water. Equally, the posts can be placed in the ground and dry pre-mix rammed around them and allowed to set with soil moisture. Get spacing between the post perfect by using trellis panels, tacked between them while their concrete is setting. Once fully set you can nail or screw the panels to the posts.
Most pre-made trellis is tanalised with preservative so should last 15-20 years but this can be extended with stain or paint. Choose your colour so it fits with your plot or sets off another theme. However you do it, inexpensive trellis panels are a sure-fire way to easily divide up your garden and create the illusion of more space.
Create an air of seclusion with a single trellis panel covered in pre y climbers
Sectioning off your garden into rooms adds mystery and a sense of journey