Arbors and Trellises in the Landscape

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

By Kelly Roberson


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Arbors and Trellises
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

8/11
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.

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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.

10/11
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.

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