An espaliered plant benefits from the radiant heat of a wall it grows against, which can be great for fruit. This is an espaliered apple tree.
Vines were trained in meticulous patterns in the formal gardens of 17th-century Europe.
This flowering dogwood makes an excellent espalier with a slightly more informal shape.
Formal or informal, espaliers can take years to establish. First the main stalk of the plant must be trained to grow upright next to the wall. Shoots must be pruned to grow at the desired locations. Once the plant has achieved its shape, only minor pruning is necessary.
One of the easier espaliered designs to grow is a main trunk with three or four vertical branches growing from it. This espalier is trained on a lattice.
When vines are trained in a diamond-shape pattern resembling a lattice, the result is called a Belgian fence.
The possibilities for the design of an espalier can be endless, but typically fruit trees, shrubs with compact growth and vines that cling are the best choices.