In the green tapestry of many gardens, a trellis stands as both a practical tool for climbing plants and a picturesque element of garden design. Gardeners and landscapers often ponder whether attaching a wooden trellis to an existing fence is a feasible project. The short answer is yes, you can, but there's a tad more to consider before you commence this enhancement to your garden.

Understanding the Basics

A trellis is more than just a structure for supporting plants; it's a way to add height and depth to your garden's landscape, encourage vertical growth of climbers and creepers, and even improve privacy and security. Before you get started, it’s paramount to ponder the type of fence you have and its condition, the materials you'll need for the trellis, and the legal implications or restrictions.

Assessing Your Fence’s Suitability

The first step is to scrutinise the condition of your fence. Installing a trellis on a weak or deteriorating fence may cause more harm than good, potentially leading to the entire structure collapsing under weight or during high winds. Wooden fences in good condition are usually suitable for trellis attachment, provided they can bear the additional weight.

Metal or chain-link fences can also support trellises, but you will require specific fittings suitable for the material. For those with a concrete post fence, special clips are available that slide down between the concrete and the fence panel to hold your trellis in place without the need for drilling.

Considering Legal and Neighbourly Etiquette

Before proceeding, it's also wise to check any local planning permissions needed. In many areas, increasing the height of a fence with a trellis might require approval if it goes beyond certain dimensions. Not to mention, it's courteous to inform your neighbours of your plans, especially if the trellis will affect their side of the garden. This not only prevents disputes but helps maintain good relations with those living around you.

Selecting the Right Trellis

When choosing a wooden trellis, opt for treated wood to withstand the elements and avoid rotting. The design of your trellis should complement your garden and the existing fence. Panels can range from fully closed to more open designs, depending on whether you desire more sunlight penetration or privacy.

Installation Tips

  1. Measure Carefully: Before purchasing your trellis, measure the width and height of the area you wish to cover accurately. It's better to fit the trellis within the boundaries of the fence panel, rather than extending over multiple panels or posts.
  2. Supporting Your Trellis: For added stability, consider installing wooden posts against the fence at intervals. These can be fixed securely into the ground and then the trellis attached to these posts rather than directly onto the fence. This method is particularly beneficial for older fences that might not withstand additional weight well.
  3. Fixing Your Trellis: When attaching the trellis directly to a wooden fence, use galvanised screws or nails that are long enough to go through the trellis and deep into the fence panel or posts. Ensure not to damage any part of the fence’s structural integrity while doing so.

Final Touches

With the trellis in place, you can begin the enjoyable task of selecting climbing plants to adorn your new garden feature. From fragrant jasmine to vibrant clematis, the options are plentiful. Over time, your trellis will not only support plant life but also attract wildlife, providing a lush backdrop to your garden.


Attaching a wooden trellis to a fence is definitely possible and can bring numerous benefits to your garden. It’s an excellent way to maximise space, enhance privacy, and add visual appeal. However, it’s critical to undertake this project with careful planning and consideration for your fencing material, garden conditions, and local regulations. With the right preparation and approach, your trellis will soon become a cherished element of your outdoor space.