For some plants, survival of the fittest has meant learning to climb. Many use their strong tendrils like rock climbers grasping handholds. Others sprout clinging roots or twining stems to spiral up the nearest vertical. The trusty white trellis on the wall is one way to offer a hand. But you can also scrap the traditional methods and go freestyle.

Smart Design

Start with the simplest, strongest shape: a triangle. Three-dimensional garden tripods can be made from bamboo, driftwood or salvaged lumber. When fastened teepee-style with twine or other simple materials, the basic shape provides some height while creating the option for horizontal rungs, which sustain smaller, more delicate plants.

For the base, use a halved wine barrel. Although this somewhat ubiquitous vessel can look uninspired—for instance, pansy-packed sidewalk planters—adding an internal trellis will help the container come to life with color, texture and, of course, height. And because of their weight, wine barrels can support a tall trellis without tipping over.