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Trellises with 2 Cross Beams

One of the most common forms for a wooden trellis is the 2-beam espalier in the classic design-- 2 solid cross-beams on which vertical laths are attached, extending at the top and bottom (ocasionally a bit more on top).They resemble a garden fence fixed to the wall of the house. Conifer wood (which do not warp) are most suitable. With larch, oak, and robinia wood-- hardwoods-- you can expect a warping (slight deformation over time) and a correspondingly rustic appearance-- which is even sometimes desired to give the latticework a rustic 'antique' look. In that case, 3-beam espaliers are then preferable. 2-beam espaliers can be set individually or in groups side by side to cover a wider strip with greenery (espalier 'belts'). Further details, are available (cross sections, spacing between laths, fastenings, and so on...

Old wooden trellis
Old wooden trellis

Single Trellises

It is really important to plan your wooden trellis such that space is left around the espalier in all directions: it will make the trellis look all the more delicate (smaller and somewhat 'indented'); the plants will in any case spread beyond the boundaries of the espalier. The number of wall fittings needed depends on the trellis width; usually, 4 anchoring points -- 2 per each horizontal beam -- are sufficient. Please keep in mind the maximum recommended distance for our different anchors and mounts. Anchors are not mounted near the end of the beams but 20-40 cm from the outer edges. At least two vertical laths will then be attached to these cross-beams.


A simple espalier with minor gaps between the vertical slats (circa 22 cm)
Simplest trellis, Dresden / Saxony
Old grapevine espalier in winter
Outbuilding with grapevine espalier, near Artern / Saxony-Anhalt
Thicket creeper next to a street
Greening next to a street, Kötzschenbroda / Saxony
Gable greening with grapevines
Gable greening with grapevines, near Torgau / Saxony
Wooden espalier for two vines
Simple wooden trellis for grapevines, near Kreischa / Saxony
Trellis on framework, Dreiskau-Muckern / Saxony
Old trellis on a village street
Old trellis on a village street, Jena-Ziegenhain / Thuringia

Long Trellis Walls

Long espaliers for trellising fruits and grapevine were a traditional ornament for the facades of large farm buildings, for long dividing walls, and especially in kitchen gardens of aristocratic manors. They have a tradition in garden art as well, and were often planted with roses. In a separate section we'll discuss narrow horizontal espalier bands called “belt espaliers.”

New wooden trellis for roses
Wooden trellis for roses
A transition of long espalier laths (hardwood – robinia) to a narrow espalier belt
Trellis laths made of hard wood (Robinia)
Very long espalier wall with grapevines
Espalier wall, Dornburger Castle / Thuringia
With a particularly strong cross section (here about 6 cm), you can build very high espaliers-- here for fruit and grapevine.
Castle Gnandstein / Saxony, trellis built after a historical model
Blooming apple-espalier in a historical garden
Historical garden in Weimar / Thuringia
Three espalier pears
Three espalier pears, Auerstädt / Thuringia
Rose trellises
Rose trellis in Dornburger Castles / Dornburg / Thuringia

How to deal with windows

What to do when (small) doors and windows are present on the facade where the planned trellis will go? In the past, the latticework was simple placed over the window and greened; today the solution is to go around the openings, which requires a change in the arrangement of the slats. How to proceed? You will find photo examples here; the easiest way is to interrupt the trellis at the windows or area of recess and to continue after that, i.e. to place a lattice both on the left and the right side of the wall opening.


Large wooden espalier for two vines, vineyard training
Larger wooden trellis, near Priestewitz / Saxony
Very high lathing, vines in spring
Very high lathing, grapevines, Diesbar-Seußlitz / Saxony
A church with grapevine; vines on two trellis levels, placed one above the other (2-beam espaliers)
Grapevine Church (Sankt-Urban-Church) in Meißen / Saxony
This old worn espalier wall shows additionally installed cross-pieces. Here, there is no lath protrusion in the window area, creatively enlarging the window frames.
Old espalier wall, Priestewitz / Saxony
Connection between two espaliers with additional cross-pieces under both windows
Gable front with trellis, near Meißen / Saxony
Trellising around a window without extra beams; grapevines
Trellising for grapevines, near Dresden / Saxony
Over-lathing of a window, fan-shaped vines
Trellis with vertical lathing, Markkleeberg / Saxony
Storey high espalier wall on an old farming house
Dreiskau-Muckern / Saxony
Long wall espalier, windows 'cut out,' without additional cross beams below; vines and laths do not protrude from the top edge of the windows.
Long wall trellis, near Meißen / Saxony
Connection between two espaliers with additional cross-pieces above both windows
Gable with trellis

Several Trellises

Several espaliers can be placed between doors and windows if they are so large that a continuous trellis strip is not possible. Sometimes the choice to install several individual trellises rather than a single wide strip is also aesthetically preferable. The lines of the windows can be continued by the trellis by aligning the top of the trellis laths (or the top cross beam) and the top edge of the windows.


Two grapevine espaliers; here the cross beams are level with the top edge of the windows.
Old day-labourers' cottage, near Nünchritz / Saxony
In the past, diagonal reinforcement was added because trellis beams were not screwed to the facade but only hung.
Bracing, Dornburg / Thuringia
Two small espaliers; top of laths align with the top border of the windows.
Two small trellises, near Jena / Thuringia
Two high-lathed trellises hung to the left and right of a barn door
Lath-trellis, Maua / Jena / Thuringia
Trellis for roses, only 2 laths
Trellis for Roses
A grapvine espalier with unusually far protruding laths
Grape espalier, Meißen / Saxony
Two separate climbing support elements
climbing support elements made of wood, near Jena / Thuringia
Small grapevine espalier with 3 beams
Small trellis, Radebeul / Saxony