Arbors and Trellises in the Landscape

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

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.

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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