Arbors and Trellises in the Landscape

Add an arbor or a trellis and create beauty and function in your outdoor space.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Brief Respite

      A few added amenities dress up this simple wooden arbor.

      • A wider-than-normal arbor offers enough space for built-in benches.
      • A simple length of outdoor fabric provides seclusion and shields from the sun.
      • A solar-power light fixture eliminates the need for running wiring to a small outdoor structure.
      • Draw inspiration from the architecture of an arbor and repeat the elements in hardscape materials, such as the gentle curve of these raised beds that mirror the arbor's lines.
      • Arbors typically mark an entrance or transition to a space; this one directs visitors to a focal point and a fork in a path.
    • Rose Beauty

      An arbor becomes a backdrop for a bounty of blooms.

      • A deep arbor offers enough room to shelter a small table and chairs.
      • With plenty of screened space from above, pavers define a section underneath the structure.
      • Romance comes courtesy of elegant accents, including this delicate, detailed candlelit fixture.
      • A profusion of climbing roses blooms from every angle; choose plants that will offer robust growth and vigorous flower patterns.
      • Hide the base of an arbor with a flowering groundcover or dwarf shrub.
    • Carefree and Easy

      A laid-back design and free-flowing plants establish a devil-may-care vibe around this arbor.

      • Arbors can work in tandem with paths to establish a defined entry point. Here, the informality of the structure is reinforced by round pavers and gravel.
      • Plants spill over the borders of the pathway for a sweet, cottage-style garden.
      • Curves can either be traditional or casual; this arbor relies on a gentle swoop overhead.
      • A robust vine rambles up and over the arbor.
      • Typically a gate is a single piece; this one -- divided into two equal portions -- offers a distinctly different entrance point.
    • Traditional Beauty

      Architecture and accents supply this arbor with classic flair.

      • Doors or gates are often included as part of an arbor or trellis. Here, a center section of a metal grate relieves the mass of the wide door.
      • Although all arbors have columns that support the overhead structure, there's no need to use ordinary timbers or latticework. These columns nicely meld two types of brick for interesting detail.
      • Geometry and material choices are key to enhancing the traditional style of the overhead section.
      • Wood and stone are the two primary materials in this arbor and fence, but a slight flair in the construction of the fence creates visual variety.
      • Randomly spaced pavers direct visitors under the structure.
    • Appealing Arbor

      A casually assembled structure offers a welcome to a garden.

      • An arbor bridges the gap between a landscape's expanse of lawn and a collection of flowerbeds.
      • There's a definite DIY feel to this arbor -- various-sizes of supporting timbers, smaller branches as a rooftop -- that complements the casual nature of the garden.
      • Other elements enhance the style of an arbor, as with the gentle curve of the branch-turned-handrail.
      • Large boulders act as informal edging and design elements in the landscape.
      • Flowers and shrubs can be used to hide an arbor or to gently transition from built structure to plants and flowers; this one does both.
    • Classic Charm

      An arbor relies on timeless style for good looks.

      • Equal parts arbor and trellis, geometrically spaced latticework gives a pretty structure some formal style.
      • Many arbors function as a support structure for a gate; this one uses an entrance to designate the border of a garden.
      • Plant materials can mark an area around an arbor, as with these gently curving topiaries.
      • Many times a path leads up to, under, and past an arbor, but in this structure, the path begins only after passing into the garden.
      • Paint color can brighten and lighten an arbor, or make it recede into the background.
    • Arbor Aesthetics

      Clean lines and careful design create a stylish arbor.

      • Trellises are often used to support growing plants, but this one's primary purposes are to shield the view and offer a border for the yard.
      • A subdued color scheme used on the trellis blends in with the warm hues of the foliage and flowers in the surrounding garden.
      • A slim, undulating metal roof -- a detail reminiscent of the garden's Asian-influence design -- tops the trellis.
      • Container gardens are a fantastic way to provide both color and structure.
      • Left to weather gray, a trellis will continue to recede into the surroundings.
    • Double Duty

      A set of doors finds new life as a trellis.

      • Repurposed materials, such as two wood doors, can provide the perfect structure for a nontraditional trellis.
      • If a trellis is to be located close to a fence, place it with enough space behind the structure for vines or other plants to grow up and around.
      • In addition to supporting plants, trellises can serve as a backdrop for another focal point, such as a fountain.
      • If sturdy enough, a trellis can also support low-weight garden ornaments, such as a set of wind chimes.
    • A Tuteur Tutor

      Pint-size trellises offer flexibility in a garden bed.

      • Trellises are called many different things, including tuteurs; this version -- a pyramidal structure -- is often included in a garden in order to train climbing plants.
      • If a trellis or structure is smaller, include several in a garden to keep them from getting lost.
      • In deeper garden beds, trellises or tuteurs can mark the placement of particular plants.
      • In these beds, a collection of flowering plants nearly camouflages the base of the structures.
      • The undulating curves of these tuteurs lend themselves to the garden's cottage style.
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      Trellis Trail

      A simple structure offers ample space for climbing plants.

      • A trellis can be freestanding or attached to another structure; if it's the latter, a trellis and plants can help to break up large expanses of exterior wall space.
      • If a trellis is attached to a building, it should be propped far enough away from the structure to allow portions of plants to vine around the slats.
      • The beauty of many climbing plants is that they can be grown either in the ground (as with this plant) or in containers.
      • Colors and plant types that grow up a trellis should be repeated in the surrounding landscape, such as in this window box.
      • Consider refinishing needs -- such as repainting -- before choosing materials and colors for a trellis.
    • Next Slideshow Fall Landscaping Ideas

      Fall Landscaping Ideas

      See how two great gardeners -- one on the East Coast and one on the West -- created knock-your-socks-off fall yards -- and learn how you can do the same.
      Begin Slideshow »

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