Best Trellis Direction for Vertical Gardening + 3 No-Fail Trellis Ideas

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Are you wanting to maximize your growing space? Growing crops vertically is a great space saving option to get the most out of a small space (or even a large space). You’ll find that vertical gardening will allow for maximum yield while hopefully deterring pests from snacking on the food you worked so hard to grow.

Let’s talk about your options for supporting your vertical plants, including my recommendations for what direction (or orientation) your trellises should face.

Why would want to use a trellis in your garden?

Many crops can benefit from being grown up a trellis or can use support as they get taller. Some examples are pole beans, cucumbers, peas, and tomatoes. Supporting these plants with a trellis makes harvesting easier and keeps your harvest off the ground and away from pests that may eat your crop. Growing vertically also saves garden space, as you can grow more crops in the same garden area by growing some of them “up.”

What types of trellises can you use in your garden?

Different trellis designs serve unique purposes for vertical crops. Some are better suited for certain crops based on their growth habit. Some are stationary, but others can be moved around each year to aid in crop rotation. (To read more on crop rotation and how it works, click here.)

While I’ve used various trellis methods over the years (in this post I share 9 trellis ideas I used as a beginning gardener), below are the three I use most of the time in my garden.

A-Frame Trellis

The A-Frame trellis is a sturdy and long-lasting option great for green beans, dry beans (such as pinto beans), cucumbers, and more. It can be constructed to work either an in-ground bed or in a raised bed.

As crops grow up the trellis, it serves as a shady location for other crops that may benefit from the shade, especially in the hot summer. It also creates an easy to reach system for harvesting crops from beneath. To find the building plans for this trellis, click here.


This system does require purchasing lumber and string. It also requires building the trellis and cutting lumber. Two to three would be needed to move the trellis if you were to need to move it to a different spot in your garden.

While I prefer to keep the A-Frame trellis in one place, if I need to move it, it’s possible.

Crops You Can Grow up an A-Frame Trellis:

  • Pole Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Luffa
  • Climbing peas

Cattle Panel Trellis

This trellis only requires three things: T-posts, a cattle panel, and zip ties. This option is very versatile and can be used for all different types of crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, climbing squash, pole beans, cantaloupe, and peas.

A flat cattle panel trellis is versatile enough to be used in an in ground area of your garden or a raised bed. You could even situate it behind containers that are growing vertical crops!

My favorite way to use the flat cattle panel trellis is when I grow in straw bales. (Click here to learn more about straw bale gardening)

Crops You Can Grow on a Flat Cattle Panel Trellis:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Pole Beans
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Small Melons
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Climbing peas

Arch Trellis

This trellis, which uses a cattle panel, is quick to assemble and can be used in several ways. Like the flat cattle panel trellis, this one only requires 4 T-posts, a cattle panel and zip ties. Arch trellises work well between raised beds or in ground beds. When used between two raised beds, you create a walkway between the beds while still maximizing your space.

This option does require two people to assemble but your climbing plants like pole beans, cucumbers, small melons, and sweet potatoes will love it! This trellis allows for easy harvesting and keeping your plants off the ground for space saving.

While you can move Arch trellises if needed, I prefer to situation my arch trellises in a location I want them to stay.

Crops You Can Grow on an Arch Trellis:

  • Tromboncino Squash and Sweet Potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Pole Beans
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Small Melons
  • Luffa
Tromboncino Squash

What direction do I place a trellis in my garden?

While different gardeners place their trellises in different orientations in the garden, I prefer to face mine where crops can grow up the East and/or West sides of the trellis. For example, in the case of an A-frame or Arch trellis, the sides are on the east and west side, and if I were to walk under the trellis, I would be walking north or south.

Why do I prefer this orientation? With the broad side of the trellises facing east or west, I’m assured that the crops will get either morning or afternoon sun exposure. They will also benefit from shade in the heat of the summer.

I have grown crops the other way, with the broad sides facing north and south. The problem here was that the crops on the north side struggled because of lack of sun. I ended up moving that arch trellis to my preferred east/west orientation.

The exception to this is if I’m using a flat cattle panel trellis in a raised bed. I would prefer to situate it on the north side of the bed and allow vining crops to grow up with smaller crops planted on the south side.

The key to deciding on orientation is sun exposure and shade.

Final Thoughts

If you want to learn about even more options for trellises and different crops that are better suited for each type of trellis, click here to access my free download for 6 Beautiful & Functional Trellis Ideas.

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