Low Cost Plant Supports

Homemade branch supportOne main ingredient in any successful garden are support structures for your growing thriving plants. This is especially true if you live in a “wind prone” area like here in the desert.

Supports can come in a mind-boggling variety of shapes, sizes and materials, as well as a sizable price tag, depending on your selection.

In the past, I’ve been drawn to more formal structures. With this “formality” comes a price tag that is in direct conflict with my lean budget these days, so I find myself turning my eyes toward a less formal structure style.  One that is still smart in design with a bit of whimsy.  In the future, I’m sure I’ll invest in a few formal structures, but for now, I’m content with informal and rustic.  And when the time comes, the combination of formal and informal will be the perfect blend for my cottage garden ~ that’s why I love this style so much.  It’s so flexible and comfortable.

Now with that said, here are a few interesting samples of both formal and informal plant structures that I came across for your viewing pleasure…

Formal (higher cost)

source: flickr


source: digginfood

How to Make a Pyramid Trellis

source: freshhomeideas

Structure built in a vegetable garden for vining beans and peas to grow up.  It can then provide shade.

source: houzz


source: pinterest

source: gardeningbren

Informal (lower cost)

source: ewainthegarden

source: ewainthegarden

Angled rails

source: vegetablegardener


source: sunset

source: karmaperdiem

And who says informal is simple in design…


source: prieuredorsan

source: gardenista

With a few ideas of formal and informal in mind, what would you choose?

What if you have little time or energy to put together anything elaborate, formal or informal, and all you want is something quick and easy to install that’s also forgiving to your wallet?  The best solution… reuse something from your home or garden.

For me, I needed a “quick something” for my two yellow pear tomato bushes that were reaching out beyond the limits of my raised bed. My simplest “go to” solution was to re-use branches that I had recently pruned off my Artic Star Nectarine tree. Let me just say, this tree is a never-ending producer of raw materials for homemade plant supports… it’s a nectarine tree gone wild. I’ve pruned this tree three times this summer and it continues to grow beyond my 7 feet high x 8 feet wide limit. Healthy tree or what!?!


Because of its propensity for fast growth, I took full advantage of the wide selection of branch sizes (and I love the color, too).


I find it very helpful to leave some of the branch crotches intact.  It allows easy placement of crossing branches and helps to give it extra support when lashing it together.  The arching side shoots also adds visual interest to my garden.




Typically, I would have preferred to use twine to tie the branches together but in this case, I grabbed what I had on hand (18 gauge galvanized steel wire) making this project economically fitting for my budget.

100313_PlantSupport3 100313_PlantSupport4

In addition to supporting my tomato plants, I used a 3 foot long sturdy branch to help support my Lemon Queen Sunflower.


In the desert, we experience quite a bit of wind on a regular basis, especially during the spring and summer months.  During these times, the wind can kick up quite a ruckus and be particularly damaging to both plants and structures.

Now that summer 2013 has come and gone and this year’s monsoon season is officially behind us, I can take comfort in knowing that my basic support has held up fairly well and kept my tomato and sunflower plants neat and tidy.  Despite this fact, come next January, I plan to spend more time building a few sturdier informal structures to get me through the gusty days of next spring and summer.

Interested in making your own informal supports but are lacking in the “tree department” on your property?  No problem.  Next time your neighbors prune their trees, ask if you can help them in exchange for a bundle or two of their “choice” discarded branches.  You can also talk with a local tree pruning service or orchard.  A lot of times, they are very willing to part with their branches, stumps, etc…. and usually for free or a nominal fee.

It’s been nice chatting with you. Time to head back into the garden ~ have a wonderful day.

God Bless,




Filed under Garden Art & Structures

4 responses to “Low Cost Plant Supports

  1. lois

    What happens to the sunflowers in the winter? Do they keep growing ? Do you re-plant next season?

    • One of my sunflower plants is starting to go down for the count now. Sunflowers will die back completely before winter and need to be replanted again next season (unless you let the seeds drop into the soil – they may pop back up on their own when the weather warms up again). I am still monitoring my plant’s progress and plan to provide an update on how long the blooms took to go to seed and to completely die back.

  2. Perfect timing for me to read this post. I am trying to decided how to draw the eye away from neighbor’s ugly mc mansion remodel that now dominates my backyard view. Some of the formal pictures you posted could do the trick nicely. Thanks!

    • Hopefully their remodel is not blocking sunlight to your awesome garden.

      We live behind the only two story mc mansion in our neighborhood. When funds are less tight, my hubby and I plan to build a beautiful lattice wall/arbor that we can grow a ton of sunflowers against, lovely climbing vines, espalier fruit trees… something beautiful to gaze upon when we look out our back window 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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