Vegetables that Climb & Sprawl: Trellis Options for Your Garden

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I just love growing vegetables “up,” and each year I’m still looking for new trellis options. Not only does it make room for more crops (which is a huge plus if you have a small garden space or just a couple of raised beds), but they are just so pretty, too!

Thankfully my husband is pretty handy, and he built a few trellises for me. But even if you have no experience or know-how to build anything (because I certainly don’t!) you can make do many of these trellis ideas yourself.

In this episode of The Beginner’s Garden podcast, I discuss your best bets for beans, peas, cucumbers, and tomatoes.  Click to listen or read the accompanying blog post below.

Before you start making trellis plans, first we need to consider the crops that need trellising and what their individual growth habits are. One trellis certainly doesn’t fit all.

Pole Bean Trellis Ideas

I have to start with my favorite: pole beans. Not sure the difference between bush beans and pole beans? In this blog post I explain the differences between the two: What Kind of Green Beans Should You Grow?

I prefer to grow pole beans. Pole beans vine up in a spiral, which requires a tall structure. While you can find endless trellis options for pole beans, these are the ones I’ve used.

Bamboo Trellis

My first try at building a support for pole beans was this bamboo trellis. It’s actually a great idea if you have access to bamboo or other tall supports. I made several mistakes in my design, though. I should have dug the poles into the ground further and anchored both ends. But it was my first garden, so I had to start somewhere!

Bamboo Garden Trellis

Tepee Trellis

I have also used bamboo poles in a tepee formation. This is a great option, and kids love them! The only problem was their height, which limited the upward growth of the beans. If you go with a tepee trellis, I’d choose taller poles.

Pole Bean Tepee

A-Frame Bean Trellis

And, this is my favorite bean trellis. It has lasted over six seasons (and counting).

A-Frame Bean Trellis | Journey with Jill

(For step-by-step instructions on how to construct this A-frame trellis, click here.)

Whatever method you think will work best for your garden, you need something tall, and you need it relatively small in diameter, less than five inches.

*Some links below may contain affiliate links, which means if you click through and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Trellis Options for Peas

Peas, though similar to beans, possess a slightly different growth habit. Instead of vining in a spiral, they grow up and attach tendrils to what they’re next to. Like beans, the options for supporting these plants are plenty.

A-Frame Trellis for Peas

My first year, I wove twine horizontally between the vertical bailing twine of the A-frame trellis, up to about 4′ high. Because peas are a cool-season crop, I planted them first, and after they finished producing, I pulled them up, ripped out the horizontal twine, and planted my beans. They did fine with this method.

Peas on Aframe Trellis

Netting for Climbing Peas

Now, I hammer in T-posts at the end of my rows of peas and weave twine in between the t-posts in a grid pattern or purchase a trellis netting like this one

peas on vertical trellis using t-posts and twine

If you’re interested in weaving your own trellis, this post shows you how: Weaving the Pea Trellis by Lady Farmer’s Garden.

Cucumber Trellis Ideas

While you can grow bush-type cucumbers,  every one I’ve grown sprawls out of control. Their growth habit is similar to peas in that they use their tendrils to hook onto the support, but they don’t just grow up; they grow out so you’ll need to train them a bit. Here are the methods I’ve used:

Livestock Panel for Cucumbers

The quickest setup for cucumbers can be found in using a section of livestock panel. Just anchor them into the ground and train the cucumber plants up the trellis.


Arch Trellis for Cucumbers 

Using a section of livestock panel and t-posts, you can create a beautiful arch trellis. One way to make the most of your garden space is to plant peas as an early season crop and plant cucumbers after they’re finished harvesting. Garden Arch Trellis for Cucumbers and Beans

Cucumbers love growing up this structure, and when you train the plants to grow up, it makes harvesting so much fun!

Cucumber on garden trellis

How to Build an Arch by Get Busy Gardening gives you another option on constructing an arch trellis.

Small A-Frame Trellis for Cucumbers

You can also construct a small A-frame trellis or cucumbers to climb. Cool weather crops like cabbage or lettuce happily grow underneath and enjoy the shade of the growing cucumber vines. 

Small cucumber trellis

Pea Trellis for Cucumbers

As mentioned above, cucumbers are a perfect succession plant to grow after peas. This video shows how I use my pea trellis for my cucumbers through succession planting with those two crops:

Want more ideas? I’ve pinned some neat ideas on my Garden Trellis Pinterest Board here.

Have you used any of these methods, or do you have any you would add to my list?

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    1. Absolutely! And if you didn’t want to make one this tall, you could make it shorter, which would work well for cucumbers, too.

    2. If you do use this for cucumbers, I recommend you string horizontal strings in addition to vertical ones. They climb best when they have horizontal lines to wrap their tendrils around.

      1. Hi! Love your suggestions! I have been gardening with OK results for a few years. I am looking forward to expanding my garden this year. I have been looking into cattle panel for trellising my climbing vegetables. I’m curious for the arch what size panel did you use? I love that idea especially for little gardeners helping!

    1. Yes, but I recommend if you’re doing both, doing one on one side and one on another. OR if you do both on the same side, space each plant 6″ apart at minimum. They are both very prolific plants and need plenty of sunlight; you don’t want them shading each other out.

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