Arbors and Trellises in the Landscape

Arbors and Trellises

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

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Brief Respite

Arbors and Trellises

A few added amenities dress up this simple wooden arbor. Wider than normal, it offers enough space for built-in benches. A simple length of outdoor fabric provides seclusion and shelter from the sun. A solar-powered 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 your hardscape materials, such as the gentle curve in these raised beds mirroring the arch. Arbors typically mark an entrance or the transition to a space. This one directs visitors to a focal point and a fork in a path.

  • Add more hardscape elements to your landscape with a raised bed.
02 of 10

Rose Beauty

Arbors and Trellises

Here an arbor becomes a backdrop for a bounty of blooms. It's deep enough to offer room for a small table and chairs, and with plenty of screened space from above, pavers define the seating area. Romance is courtesy of elegant accents, including this delicate, detailed candlelit fixture. Climbing roses bloom from every angle. Choose plants that will offer robust growth and vigorous flower patterns, and hide your arbor's base in flowering groundcover or dwarf shrubs.

03 of 10

Carefree and Easy

Arbors and Trellises

A laid-back design and free-flowing plants establish a devil-may-care attitude around this arbor, which works in tandem with the pathway 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 path 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, but this one—divided into two equal portions—offers a distinctly different entry point.

04 of 10

Traditional Beauty

Arbors and Trellises

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 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.

05 of 10

Appealing Arbor

Arbors and Trellises

A casually assembled natural arbor offers a welcome to this garden, bridging the gap between the 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, 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 base or to gently transition from the built structure to the lawn. This example 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 this pretty structure some formal style. Many arbors function as a support structure for a gate; this one uses its entrance to designate the border of a garden. Plants 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 only begins once you've entered the garden. Paint colors can brighten and lighten the structure, or make it recede into the background.

07 of 10

Arbor Aesthetics

Arbors and Trellises

Clean lines and careful design create a stylish arbor. Trellises are often used to support growing plants, but this one's primary purpose is 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 reflecting the garden's Asian-influenced design—tops the trellis. Container gardens are a fantastic way to provide both color and structure, and left to weather and gray, a trellis will continue to recede into its surroundings.

08 of 10

Double Duty

Arbors and Trellises

Here, a set of wood doors finds new life as a trellis. Repurposed materials can provide the perfect structure for a nontraditional trellis. If the trellis is to be located beside a fence, place it with enough space behind 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, for example, a fountain. If it's sturdy enough, a trellis can also support light weight garden ornaments, such as a set of wind chimes.

09 of 10

A Tuteur Tutor

Arbors and Trellises

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 structure is small, include several, so they don't get 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 bases of the structures. The undulating curves of these tuteurs lend themselves to the garden's cottage style.

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Trellis Trail

Arbors and Trellises

A simple structure can offer ample space for climbing plants, and a trellis can be freestanding or attached to another structure. If it's the latter, the trellis and its climbers can break up large expanses of exterior wall. If it's attached to a building, it should be propped far enough away from the wall to allow portions of the plants to vine around the slats. The beauty of many climbers is that they can be grown either in the ground (as with this rose) or in containers. Colors in the trellised plants should be repeated in the surrounding landscape, as they are in this window box. Be sure to consider upkeep needs—such as repainting— before choosing the materials and colors for your trellis.

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