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Outdoor Design Ideas: Pergolas, Trellises & Arbors

There are many great design ideas for hardscaping an outdoor space. Pergolas and trellises are two ways to add beauty and dimension to a variety of areas surrounding the home, including a lawn, garden, patio or deck. Whether you want to create a subtle and charming area in your backyard, or seek to build a truly functional outdoor living space, pergolas and trellises are an easy and exciting outdoor beautification project.

Pergolas and Trellises

Faux wood pergola kitPergolas are semi-covered structures that range in size from small and open, to large and enclosed. They are constructed from vertical posts or pillars that support cross-beams and an open lattice. Typically, pergolas have a flat, planked roof with beamed support structures to hold up the ceiling. A trellis can be added to the sides of a pergola to create an enclosed area. Described as a decorative fence, a trellis can support the growth of a climbing plant, also referred to as climbers, like honeysuckle, wisteria and ivy.

Arbors

Arbors are another structure commonly used in conjunction with pergolas and trellises. An arbor is an arched passageway that like a pergola can provide shelter or simply accent an outdoor area. Other uses for arbors include connecting one area of an outdoor space to another, directing traffic and supporting climbing plants.

Design Ideas:

  • To build a pergola that is a functional living space, think about how you most use your outdoor areas. Pergolas can create shade and privacy for a spa or Jacuzzi, dining nooks, outdoor lounges and entertainment areas.
  • Hanging plants or flower baskets, stranded lights and other outdoor décor are a great accent and finishing touch to a pergola or arbor.
  • Use a trellis in conjunction with a pergola as a freestanding wall on which to grow climbing plants and create privacy.
  • Attach a trellis to a side of your home that faces the backyard or one backs up to a deck or patio. Simple trellis panels accent and enhance the siding of your home in a very unique way.
  • To include all three structures, build a simple arched arbor and create a pathway with gravel or patio stones that lead into a pergola that is enclosed with trellis walls.