The Perfect Trellis For Snap Peas


Snap peas are one of the earliest crops in the garden to be harvested. I like to plant them in early spring as soon as the soil is thawed from winter and can be worked. Just a couple months later and I’m harvesting sweet, crunchy snap peas.

Aside from coming early, peas have another great benefit: they love to climb! This make them take up minimal space in the garden since they can be trellised and grown upwards.

In this article, I’ll share a few simple ideas for how to trellis snap peas in the garden. You can easily make a simple trellis, but there are also plenty of pre-made options on the market that are functional and beautiful.

Sugar snap peas growing on trellis

Do Peas Need A Trellis?

Peas are natural climbers, meaning that they are meant to grow upwards. Without a support system, peas will flop over and grow in a messy clump, making them more vulnerable to disease and pests near the soil.

While the plants will still grow without one, I highly recommend giving peas something to climb up. This can be as simple as a 4-6 foot stake, an A-frame trellis, or even other plants, such as oats.

It is best to have a structure that starts at the soil level so that young pea seedlings can immediately grab on. If the trellis is too high, the plants may not be able to reach the bottom, requiring more effort on your part.

How Do Peas Climb?

Pea plants use thin tendrils to search for something to latch onto. These are wispy, curly shoots will naturally wrap around any objects that it comes in contact with, securing the plant in the process.

Pea tendril
Snap pea tendril clinging to trellis.

The plants usually grow beside their support structure rather than growing through it. The tendrils have a strong hold, but the more places to latch on, the better.

Simple Trellis For Snap Peas

The simplest trellis for peas are branches. If you don’t want to spend a dime, find some 3-4 foot, sturdy sticks and firmly sink them into the soil. Plant your peas right next to the branches and the peas will naturally climb up them!

Peas climbing sticks
Early pea plants climbing sticks.

However, if you want a long-term trellis for your garden, one of the simplest trellises you can make is a lattice trellis. These require minimal materials, and can be built in a matter of an hour or less. Not only are they great for snap peas, but a lattice trellis can support heavier fruits like cucumbers and melons.

Trellis for snap peas
Basic lattice trellis with netting.


How you construct your trellis will depend on your garden. If you have raised beds like we do, you can attach the wood directly to the beds using 3 inch deck screws. If your garden doesn’t have borders, you’ll need to create a secure base for the trellis or consider a different format (like an a-frame).

To built a vertical trellis, cut two pieces of wood to the desired height. I would recommend at least 4 feet tall for peas, but up to 6 feet tall if you plan on growing cucumbers or pole beans on it.

Cut another piece of wood to connect the two vertical pieces at the top. This is technically optional, but it adds a lot of structural integrity to the trellis. Drill holes and screw the pieces together to make a rectangular shape.

Next, connect the trellis to the raised bed by placing multiple screws in the base of each end. This is best done as a 2-person job to keep the trellis level and secure it to your raised beds.

Lastly, apply the trellis netting to the edges of the wood using staples, covering the entire surface. You can use simple mesh netting like we did, or you could secure a wooden lattice panel for a more elegant look. Just make sure the panel is the correct size for your trellis.

Staple for trellis netting

Again, it is helpful to have your trellis netting begin close to the soil line. This makes it much easier for the plants to reach the trellis and begin climbing.

Pea plants growing up trellis
Sugar snap peas growing on trellis.

Other Trellises For Snap Peas

If making your own trellis isn’t for you, there are many pre-built options. These are all great for trellising snap peas, though they may need added support for heavier plants like cucumbers.

A-frame trellis

A-frame trellis with plants growing up

The A-frame trellis is a simple, brilliant option for growing a variety of climbing plants. The structures are self-supporting, and come in a variety of materials and sizes. You can easily make your own, or purchase a folding metal A-frame.

If your garden is next to a shed or other structure, you can make a lean-to trellis that leans against the wall. The peas can then climb up the trellis towards the structure. Browse A-frames here.

Arch trellis

If you want to grow taller climbing plants in addition to peas, an arch trellis is a great option. These are easy to make by simply bending cattle panels and securing them to the ground with metal T-posts.

Cattle panels can be bought at home improvement stores or farm supply retailers. They can be tricky to get home (they’re about 16 feet long before bending!). But they make a cheap, sturdy arch trellis that you can walk under!

Tomato cages

Tomato plant with cage in early spring

Tomato cages make a suitable support for growing snap peas. I would suggest planting at least 3 pea plants per cage. Then, allow them to climb up each of the stakes on the bottom of the cage. Once the peas are finished growing, you can use the cage to grow a tomato or pepper in the same place.

Pea tunnels

If you’re only looking to grow peas, then maybe a pea tunnel is for you! These narrow tunnels are perfect for supporting peas on all sides. It comes with nylon netting and a sturdy frame that is easy to put together. Plus, the black metal is attractive in the garden. Check it out here.

I encourage you to get creative when you choose the right trellis for your snap peas. Whether you’re building one yourself, or buying a pre-built option, there are countless ways to make a trellis both functional and attractive in your garden!

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