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Classic Wooden Trellis Design -- Details!

Here we will go into more detail on the 'classic wooden trellis' -- addressing the design of the lath heads, how to determine the measurements for the laths, how to determine the spacing between the slats, and other techniques for extending/dividing lath axes. Additional information can be found in the sections of the different trellis anchors and mounts, including info on maximum recommended distance (between trellis mounts and wall), how to attach the trellis to the facade, and which mounts to use.

House greened with grapevien, old wooden trellis system
House greened with grapevien, old wooden trellis system

Bemessung der waagerechten Holme


Wood Profiles of vertical laths

The vertical laths mostly have a square cross section of 25 - 27 mm and therefore appeal delicate. A thickness of 30 mm is quite strong, but now and then necessary in the case of heavy fruit espaliers.

Abstände der waagerechten Riegel

Abhängig vom Lattenquerschnitt sind aller 1,5 - 2 m Querriegel erforderlich, um das Spalier ausreichend zu fixieren.

Distances between the vertical laths

The distance between laths is approx. 15 - max. 35 (40) cm, depending on aesthetics, wood cross section and type of climbing plant. 22 - 25 cm is standard.

A simple espalier with minor lath gap (circa 22 cm)

Lath protrusion

Even the cross bars slightly protrude, about 5 cm.

Rose trellises made of wood with short lath protrusions.

Designing the lath heads

Usually lath heads are bevelled (receive a 45 degree mitre cut). However, other forms and designs are also possible.

Old trellis system made of wood. The water drainage is directed away from the wall thank to the bevel cut lath heads. A metric bolt serves as a historic trellis anchor.
New hard wood trellis (Robinia). Bevel cut on the upper and lower lath heads. The lath heads are always arranged so that the water is directed away from the wall.
The lower lath ends are also receive a bevel cut, so that the water drains away from the wall.
Fancy trellis laths
A good detail solution for the heads of flat trellis laths
Doubly bevelled lath heads

Lengthening laths and cross bars

Vertical laths on large trellises are easily lengthened, cross bars less. Sometimes gaps are necessary, also to create sensible dividing lines.

Very long laths can consist of two 2 bevel cut pieces set together. Here: Robinia wood with "Falun Red" coating.
Overlapping trellis laths
Overlapping cross bars are (at least with non-impregnated wood) vulnerable to damage through invading water. Instead, the solution shown to the right should be used.
A connection of two Robinia wood cross bars with a stainless steel bracket
The best way to lengthen a cross bar is to leave a small space and have a separate cross bar continue. The space between the cross bars is later barely noticeable. Each cross bar needs at least two fixations to the wall, depending on the anchor, maybe mor
Later, when the trellis is finished, the gaps do not stand out unpleasantly.

Attaching the climbing plants to the trellis

How are the plants attached to the system? Either with their own tendrils (Continuous Bloomers and Clematis), or additionally with binding materials as shown here.

Some plants climb up trellises themselves. In this case: grapevines
We recommend elastic bindings for attaching shoots to trellises.
Thick, old vines (in this case grapevines) are fixed to the front of the trellis.