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Courses in this Department

Build a Safe Home Playground

Fences Make Good Neighbors

All About Arbors and Trellises

Deck Design

Green Grass the Professional Way

Mailbox Beautification: Landscaping to the Letter

How to Live with Wildlife

Termite Proof Landscaping

Ornamental Trees are Year-Round Performers

No More Deer

The Arrival of Jack Frost

Parameters of Proper Pruning


What Exactly Are They?


Technically, an arbor is an open framework structure that forms a shelter, gateway framework or bower. Its primary purpose is to be a semi-architectural place for climbing plants to grow, while providing shaded seating, directional form to frame a view or to create a private out-of-doors area.

An arbor can be arched or square-topped. It can be constructed out of materials as diverse as metal, rustic logs, light-weight concrete, milled and painted lumber, stone and mortar, bundled twigs, bamboo or even molded plastic. You can make one yourself or purchase pre-constructed arbors. An arbor differs from a gazebo in that its roof area is open to the elements, while a gazebo traditionally has a solid roof that protects those seated beneath it from the elements.


Trellises are also light-weight elements used for controlling the shape or to support climbing and other plants. In most instances a trellis is usually constructed on a flat plane, in a two-dimensional way, unlike an arbor, which is frequently a three-dimensional structure.

For instance, a trellis may be no more complex than a grid of cable or heavy wire stretched and anchored across an existing brick wall or board fence. A trellis can also be constructed as a series of open grid panels that are secured to posts and function like a fence.

Arbors and Trellises Raise Your Sights

A successful garden, even if it's no bigger than a re-cycled whisky barrel, starts with simple good soil and plants. But to really be successful, good garden and landscape design needs to take more into consideration than just the soil and plants. It needs to include everything that's visible in the garden area - including the neighbor's house and dish antenna; a graceful hill or tree in the distance; the boring garage wall or empty flat lawn that goes on and on without interruption.

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