What is an Obelisk Trellis?

Donn Saylor

An obelisk trellis is a tower-like structure typically made from wood or wrought iron that offers support for climbing plants. They are available in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and colors, and add a dramatic flair to any flower bed or garden arbor. Obelisk trellises can support virtually any climbing plant type, the most common being clematises, certain varieties of roses, climbing hydrangeas, morning glories, and vines.

Man mowing the grass
Man mowing the grass

A standard obelisk trellis will usually range in height anywhere from 3 feet (.91 meters) to 7 feet (2.1 meters). Gardeners frequently find the taller the trellis is, the more striking and vivid the result will be. Towering toward to the sky, the structure offers optimal exposure for sun-loving plants, allowing them to access the maximum amount of light and grow and blossom in abundance.

Many obelisk trellises currently on the market are crafted from interwoven slats of wood, usually in the shape of a pyramid, and offering a lattice through which the plants grow and ascend. Cedar is the most common type of wood used in the construction of an obelisk trellis. At-home builders, however, typically find that any variety of sturdy wood can function sufficiently in the construction of a towering trellis.

A stronger and longer-lasting alternative to wood is wrought iron. An obelisk trellis made of wrought iron sits more firmly in the ground and, as opposed to the standard lattice design and pyramid shape of wood, can be fashioned in several different styles. During the creation of a wrought iron trellis, the bars may be bent and curved into various impressive designs. These designs might include circular or cylindrical trellises, or trellises with additional flourishes such as domes, fleurs-de-lis, or leaf motifs. Some styles may even take on the shapes of readily identifiable structures, like the Eiffel Tower or a Christmas tree.

An obelisk trellis, whether made of wood or wrought iron, can be topped off with paint or finish. Wood trellises are sold in a selection of different colors to provide an ideal accent to the colors of the supported plants or the surrounding garden. Iron trellises may be coated in a finish such as matte black, bronze, or brown, thereby further enhancing the theatrical panache of the overall structure.

Both cedar and wrought iron obelisk trellises are known to be exceptionally durable. Secured with the appropriate foundational requirements, they can withstand weather extremes and allow plants to flourish. As even a bare trellis can create an eye-catching effect, they can be kept in a garden year-round.

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