Unique Arbor Designs | Garden Arbor Ideas for Your Backyard

Do you feel like your garden is a bit mediocre? Are you frustrated by constantly searching Pinterest for great ideas, only to be disappointed by the overwhelmingly high price of your favorite projects? What you may be looking for is the perfect arbor design idea – to beautify your garden on a bargain budget!

With spring and summer just around the corner, we want every homeowner to have a garden they can be proud of and show off to friends and family – all on a budget that doesn’t take up any of their holiday funds ! Read on to learn all about the different arbor ideas and designs that can transform your space from average to amazing!

Even a small wooden gazebo can be expensive if you buy it pre-made or hire a landscape carpenter to build it to your specifications. But luckily, this is one of the easiest (and cheapest) do-it-yourself landscape projects.

Although many arbor ideas have a flat top, you can give your arbor an arch or cover it with latticework to make it your own. Arbors need to be anchored well to prevent them from collapsing in wind and weather, by attaching the posts to a sturdy object or using concrete footings. They are at least 7 feet tall, but can grow up to 10 feet or more. The best wood for a gazebo is rot-resistant wood, such as redwood, cedar, or pressure-treated pine or fir.

Combining columns and transoms, arbors were originally used to create a cool, shady passageway in medieval and early Renaissance gardens. Nowadays they serve many functions, from providing shade to paving paths and gates to increasing the height of the garden.

“For most people, I think there is something romantic about an arbor,” says Paula Rosch, a garden designer with over 14 years of project management and garden design experience and owner of Garden Planning Services, LLC in Hillsboro, Oregon. About a recent project She added an arbor and several trellises to open up a narrow side yard and create more depth. Here she shares her tips for incorporating an arbor into the landscape.

Use arbors in small or narrow gardens.
“As a designer, I tend to use arbors primarily in small or narrow gardens to add a structural element, frame an opening or entrance, provide privacy to the homeowner and also as a vertical growing element. Small and narrow outdoor areas usually don’t offer much space for planting. Arbors and trellises provide a structural element for vertical planting. I also find that using spikes breaks up a tight space and makes it more interesting,” explains Rosch.

Determine the purpose of the arbor before choosing a location.
“How you decide where to place an arbor depends on the space you are designing and the intent or way you want to use the space,” says Rosch. “Using an arbor as an entrance provides privacy and frames the entrance. If the room is narrow and long, using an arbor can help divide the room into smaller areas or rooms for different uses.”

Choose materials for the arbor according to the architectural style of the house and its function.
“The style of the arbor depends on the architecture of the house and the function of the arbor. Knowing these two factors will narrow the choice,” she says. “Particular attention should be paid to the selection of materials for the arbor if vines or other plant material will grow on the arbor or if there will be hanging pots.

The arbor must be able to support the weight of the planting material or flower pots and also withstand the weather over time. If the main purpose of using the arbor is to grow vines, fruits, etc. then using a vinyl material would be well suited. If the arbor is primarily made of decorative entryway redwood, cedar or pressure-treated wood can make a beautiful entryway statement. If wood is the desired material, keep in mind that the lower part of the arbor is underground, so using pressure treated wood for this part of the arbor would be important.”

Before construction, select plants for the arbor.
“Before selecting plants, specific care and pruning instructions should be found for each plant. The growth patterns of certain plants vary, so you should choose plants based on the look you want. For example, wisteria has an aggressive growth pattern and a heavy woody trunk compared to clematis,” explains Rosch.