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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


Appealing Arbors

What's Your Style?

What mood are you trying to create? An arbor can help to define the style of your garden.

Perhaps your arbor is a gateway to the backyard of your Victorian home, and you want to evoke a traditional feel with roses on white latticework.

Or maybe a lighter, iron arbor with clematis is the right touch for the back of your modern split-level home. Think of the romantic sweetness of honeysuckle vines screening the hot tub.

It's a Decorative Device

The arbor is a device that draws attention to a particular element of your garden. Perhaps the plain lines of your vegetable plot could be augmented by an arc of bright flowers. Or a series of arches could define a pathway. Adorned with plants, the overhanging greenery invites you to stroll or stop and smell the roses.

Keep It Simple

The design shouldn't overwhelm the viewer or upstage the plants. The simplest design works in your favor. Your choice of materials and geometry will produce different effects.

Miles of Styles

A plain, unpainted wooden arbor with flat, right angles will appear utilitarian. A shapely 180 degree arc with decorative posts is more ornate. Experiment with styles but decide on your goal. Do you want the arbor itself to draw attention, or just blend in with the plants?

Shade vs. Light

A dense mass of vines over a tight pattern of supports will fully engulf an arbor, it maximum greenery or shade is your goal. But plants can still work their wonders if you leave more space between the cross members, for light to penetrate to the ground.

Make It Strong

Whatever you do, make it sturdy enough to support the plant. A clematis may not need as much support as a large grape vine. Remember that a plant can quickly overgrow an arbor in a few years.

That's the approach for creating appealing arbors. Now let's meet the arbor's close cousin, the trellis.

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