Concepts for raised mattress grids to save lots of area

Nothing completes a raised bed garden like a trellis. Not only do they look whimsical and an easy DIY project, but they are also extremely practical. Turn one into a raised bed rail and you have the perfect setup for backyard gardening!

DIY trellises are a great idea for any garden, especially since they are so customizable. You can make one with just a few stakes and some chicken wire. Alternatively, you could go all out to build one out of wood. The choice is yours … we're only here to give you the information you need!

So let's start with one of the most basic questions: why do you even need any of these? We'll then discuss a variety of different types of trellises that are out there, as well as some helpful tips on how to craft some of them.

Why do you need a raised bed rail?

Raised bed grilleA raised bed grid is required for good plant support. Source: Rachel Black

The best thing about a trellis is that it maximizes space. Your plants are no longer limited to the horizontal space in the raised bed. You can grow up now! You can grow more products and turn them into a beautifully aesthetic garden.

You will need a grid for the typical vine plants such as beans, peas and tomatoes. There are also many plants that often grow on the ground but make great climbing plants, like cucumbers, winter squash, and even gourds. Some other plants like peppers and raspberries are not climbers but grow well with support.

Another plus of trellis gardening is that harvesting will be a breeze. Instead of bending down, most of the products will be at your level.

A trellis can be used with all types of raised beds, regardless of what they're made of. While we're interested in the galvanized steel raised beds we sell here at the Epic Gardening store, nothing prevents you from using one of these in your DIY raised bed too!

Types of trellises

Inclined grid for cucumbersInclined grids can support cucumbers or other vine plants above the ground. Source: jfeuchter

Climbers grab practically anything as they grow, so you can get pretty resourceful with trellises. There are many standard DIY grille types that can be built, but these can be modified as desired (there are tons of free designs online). However, consider the structure of your raised bed when choosing your design. Some should be attached to beds suitable for a wood construction while others should be in the ground. Also, consider what plants you want to grow so that you can provide enough vertical space.

To give you a starting point, here are some of the most common DIY grille types you can use:

Rectangular grid

This is probably the most popular design out there, and for good reason. It has a long, rectangular frame that spans one full side of the raised bed. Chicken wire or cattle fences are attached over the frame and provide stable support for the vines.

The downside to this type of DIY trellis is that it blocks an entire side of the bed so you can't reach the floor as well. However, if you have a large bed, you can place the grille in the middle, leaving the outside edges free. The plants do not disturb each other, but only plant on one of the two sides and leave the back free.

Cord grille

This is similar to the rectangular design, but with a twist. Instead of fencing, use heavy duty line. You weave the cord within yourself so you can choose how big or small the lattice is. You can adjust the grid to best suit the plants you plan to grow. Putting it together may take some time, but you will see that it is pretty easy.

Thread grids only work on light plants (vegetables larger than cucumbers can be too heavy). String does not provide the same support as wire. It's a good choice for tomatoes or peppers, but probably not for winter squash.

Fan-shaped grid

This unique shape takes up little space at ground level, so the raised bed is less affected. It has a lot of space above the ground; This is ideal for plants with a central stem that divides into many vines such as passion fruit or grapes. This trellis is a great option for smaller garden beds.

If not well secured, this grille can easily become top heavy and fall back. It is usually attached to one side of the beds or even to a wall.

Archway grille

This is my favorite look for a raised bed garden, and I suspect it will be yours too. To do this, use a long piece of wire fence that is bent in an arch. It can be built over a whole bed or between two beds (it's very cool to walk under the arch). You can even create a tunnel several feet long using grapevine plants!

DIY archway grilles provide both vertical and horizontal space over raised beds. However, you need to pick your vegetables on time, otherwise vegetables may fall on you while walking underneath!

Ladder grid

That support is just that: a wooden ladder. Each side must be in the raised bed. When placed outside, it takes up a lot more floor space than the bed (we're trying to keep it compact here!). The distance between the individual rungs is considerably larger than with chicken wire. You should therefore use it for large vines.

A-shaped grid

Like the ladder, this DIY trellis also has two sides that connect in a point above the bed. Instead of wooden sprouts, it has chicken wire on the sides. This is a pretty sturdy design that could support most plants.

Triangular thread grid

The string technique is not limited to rectangular frames. In this DIY design, the strings are tied vertically over an A-shaped frame. It's great for small vines that climb up individual posts like beans.

Cover the grid

This one is cheating a little. If you have a loft bed cover, it's super easy to put chicken wire or string in the middle. That way you have a great 2-in-1 design!

Tomato cages

If you're just not in the DIY mood, you can always stick a couple of tomato cages in the ground and call it good. This isn't a great long term solution and only provides support for smaller plants but works in a pinch.

Basic DIY trellis ideas

Trellis in the raised bedYour grille can be adjusted to the spacing you need. Source: Indiana Public Media

We're going to look at how to build some of these DIY grids. The supplies to make them should be fairly cheap in a gardening store; You may be able to get some for free from other home improvement providers. Ideally, you should plan your trellis installation before the growing season, as most trellises should be installed before planting.

DIY rectangular grid

This may be the most basic style, but it's still a very free form. For the most sturdy type, you'll need to build a three-sided frame out of wood. It should be the length of the bed it will be paired with and as high as necessary (most are several feet long). Keep in mind that if you make the frame tall and thin, it will need extra support at the base to keep it from falling over.

Spread a piece of chicken wire or cattle fence over the frame. The fence should only reach the bottom of the plant. Since the frame is made of wood, the easiest thing to do is to nail the fence down.

To install the trellis, you need to attach it to the outside of the raised bed with nails or screws. You can also tuck each post into the raised beds, although they take up a lot of space. However, you can also build the frame posts out of something thinner like a metal fence post or PVC pipe.

DIY cover grille

This is super easy because it only builds up on the parts of your loft bed cover. If your cover is built like this one we recommend for our raised beds, this trellis is a great idea. All it needs is wire fence, wire cutters, and zip ties (or any other related zip tie).

Cut off a piece of fence that will cover the space between two or more of the cover posts. Secure the fence over the room and trim back any overhanging edges. That's it! The grille is as sturdy as your cover stay. Plus, you can still cover your plants as needed.

DIY archway grille

If you want your archway to be rigid, you'll need a sturdy material (chicken wire won't cut it). Livestock fences should work well, as should ladder-like structures intended for archways. Use T-posts on the base for extra support and secure the fence with zip ties, wire, or even screws.

Each side of the archway can be tucked into the ground inside or outside the garden box. When installing the fence inside, the easiest thing to do is to install the grid before filling the box with soil.

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