Garden umbrella trellis planter

During the summer, I saw a garden umbrella trellis in use and regretted not having my camera with me. The garden structure was about 7 feet tall. Resembling an open umbrella, the garden trellis is designed with a center core of one or more legs supporting an upside-down bowl-shape. Imagine the bowl-shape as an umbrella with no fabric, only the evenly spaced metal ribs with cross pieces to create a grid pattern. Use a garden umbrella to train climbing plants such as roses or clematis to extend up the core and over the top.

In looking online for a picture to share with you, I discovered an umbrella trellis picture taken by Sheila in Moonducks. These garden structures are in the Getty Center garden in Los Angeles. They have planted a bougainvillea whose rosy red blooms display through the framework of the umbrella structure. These structures, which look to be at least 20 feet tall, are unique and probably cost prohibitive for most homeowners. Smaller umbrella trellis structures are available for home use. I did a Google search on "umbrella trellis roses" to see the garden trellis in use.

Select a Location

The height of an umbrella trellis can range from 3 to 7 feet tall based on what I see in garden magazines. To determine the best height for one or more garden umbrella trellises in your landscape design, decide where you will place them. The location should be away from a tree so you can better appreciate the structure of the trellis. In addition, unless you want to grow shade or partial shade tolerant climbing plants, like Climbing Blueberry, the location should have full sun.

Uses for a Garden Umbrella Trellis

Single Umbrella Trellis. Create a focal point. Place the trellis in a flower bed as an accent piece or by itself in the landscape with a curved bench beneath it. A short umbrella trellis in an opening of a group of trees can look like a large mushroom of color.

Use the trellis to create privacy by sitting at a favorite location in your yard and then envision where the height of the umbrella trellis can best be used to block a less-than-favorable view. An umbrella trellis located at the corner of a building can soften the corner. The trellis can also add interest when placed in the corner of a fenced-in area.

For a touch of whimsy, lay a short umbrella trellis on its side with the base partially embedded into the ground to hold the trellis in place. This approach looks well next to a seating area, rock garden, or a pond. Train colorful flowers to cover the umbrella portion while the base is left open or is covered with a single color plant, like English ivy.

A single, tall umbrella canopy covered with climbing plants will create a shady spot next to a seating area. 

Multiple Umbrella Trellises. Balance a seating location by placing trellises at the far corners of your patio or low deck. Create an enchanting walkway by placing an odd number of umbrella trellises the length of the walkway, spaced back from the edge to prevent visitors from hitting their heads. When using the trellis to soften the corner of building, consider grouping three trellises of varying heights.

Large (2 to 3 feet tall and about 4 feet square) raised flower boxes on either side of a path entryway can each hold a short or medium height umbrella trellis. When in bloom, the trellises give an image of flowering trees.

Choosing an Umbrella Trellis

Select an umbrella trellis designed to support the amount of weight of the vegetation growing up the trellis. A mature wisteria with its thick, woody stock will be heavier than clematis of the same length. Wisteria will need a very sturdy frame of metal or dense hardwood.

Consider the color of the trellis. Vinyl trellises are usually white and would go well in a landscape where there are other white accents, like a fence. Paint or stain wood trellises to complement nearby structures or to contrast with the shade of the climbing plants.

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