Arbors-How to Build and


Arbors are simple but very functional and beautiful structures for either your frontyard or your backyard.

Because of the simplicity of virtually every type of arbor, it is one of the most common types of garden structure that people build themselves. 

If your passion is woodworking, here's the best source anywhere for anything and everything that can be made with wood:

In addition to arbors, bridges, trellises and other structures for your outdoor gardens and landscapes, you will also find detailed instructions, blueprints and illustrations for anything imaginable made of wood.  Not just garden structures of every kind, but also for some really great items for inside your home as well.

Arbors have the capability to bring brilliance to even the smallest design aspect of your backyard, garden and home. They fit in naturally and seamlessly with any landscaping you may already have in place.

You will often see arbors in frontyards gracefully framing gates and entryways in a country garden. The delicate plants you most commonly see for these lighter, more decorative types of arbors are: roses, bouganvillia, morning glory, ivy and other beautiful flowering plants such as clematis. What a gorgeous and welcoming sight! You feel like you're home before you even enter the house.

Arbors are most commonly seen in backyard landscaping in the form of stronger structures such as the ones you see over benches, swings and gliders as well as stand-alone types that divide one part of your garden from another. You can see the more delicate plants I mentioned for frontyards above as well as arbors for very strong and heavy plants such as the breathtaking Wisteria, heavier and more dense climbing roses, or even grapevines.


Here are the basic styles and types of garden Arbors available today to build or to buy, and links to a few that I think are particularly striking: 

Archway Arbor – Archway arbors are the most commonly used types to divide large lawns and give a clean break for growing different plants on either side of the structure. The resulting look is a better flow of color and texture in your garden. Here's one I like that is amazingly affordable:

Traditional Arbor – When you think of an arbor, the traditional arbor with its flowering plants or vines growing toward the top of the structure is probably what you visualize. The traditional arbor has a flat top and a clean line for the more often seen garden entrance.  I think this one is gorgeous!

Gable Garden Arbor - This arbor has a charming pitched 'roof' design. Many gardening enthusiasts love the sharp angles of the gable garden and often build their entire landscape and garden design around this single feature.  Here's a perfect example of one that is reminiscent of a peaceful and charming Victorian garden.  One you would design your whole landscape around because of its unique design and appearance:


And here are the most common materials used for arbors: 

Wood – Arbors made from wood are typically the most affordable choice. Wood arbors will obviously vary in quality due to the many types of wood that can be used to build them. Wood is also more susceptible to decay and wood rot when weather conditions in a paricular area are frequently wetter than in others.  

Intense heat and sun can also dry out the wood, so try to either purchase a wooden arbor made from treated wood that can withstand harsh weather conditions, or be sure to properly coat it when building one yourself.  I found a woodworking kit for $5.75 for this one you can build yourself that's large enough to cover a comfortable bench swing:

Plastic – Plastic arbors, also known as vinyl arbors, are growing in popularity due to their accessibility and easy portability. Available in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes, these types of trellises are a little more expensive than those made from wood, but plastic trellises are more durable and will last many more years than a wooden arbor that is not properly maintained. Look for a plastic arbor that is UV stable, meaning the color will not fade over time as it is exposed to the sun's powerful ultra-violent rays.  Here's a really nice one with UV protection that will never have to be painted, and it's a perfect example of a 'yard divider' style I discussed earlier.

Metal -  metal trellises, once seen often in Victorian landscapes,  are once again being used in modern landscapes.  Metal arbors hold up longer over time, and they are also sturdier due simply to their weight   You will see them in black, vertigo (the aged green color often seen in established landscapes), and even in brighter or more creative colors such as white, lavendar or lime green, which can better reflect the intense rays of the sun in warmer climates.  I found a black one that is  extremely attractive.  If you're the type who wants garden accessories to blend into your landscape, it's the perfect one for you.    

Whether you build or buy an arbor, it will make a delightful addition to your landscape that you will enjoy for years to come.