Garden arbors are the perfect way to introduce visitors to your backyard space. Arbors are arches, pergolas or gables that serve as entryways, especially when paired with gates or side wings. An arbor can also provide decorative support for climbing plants.
While most people with minimal woodworking skills should be able to make an arbor from a set of arbor plans, there are also professionally designed arbors available in kits that consumers can build at home in a day or two.
Typically, the posts of your arbor can be anchored into whatever material you're building on. If you're going to be building on undeveloped ground, you may need to dig post holes, fill them partway with concrete and anchor there, below the ground.
Gates and extensions can help you customize your arbor into whatever you want it to be — whether that's a garden arch with benches, an entrance with a locking garden gate or a photogenic backdrop for special events. These accessories help to extend and accentuate the entryway, and can also serve as a division between two different parts of your garden or yard.
A vinyl arbor has a higher initial price point than a wood arbor but will also last longer and require less maintenance throughout the years.
Wood can be the most affordable of arbor materials, and using pressure-treated lumber can ensure that even a do-it-yourself arbor will last several years. Wood is also highly customizable through different stains and paints.
A wrought iron arbor can give your yard a formal, antique look and also gives the arbor versatility to be used throughout the landscape — even as a driveway entrance.
If you intend to grow roses, ivy, grapes, hops or wisteria, an arbor can make the perfect companion. If you're looking for a garden arbor that will withstand the test of time, be sure to make sure any plants you'll have growing on it have room to develop. Otherwise, simply make sure there's enough room to comfortably pass through.
Choosing what you'll be growing makes a difference in where to place the arbor — for instance, a grape arbor needs lots of sunshine, so it should be placed in the part of your yard that is brightest for longest. You may also want to plan for how high the plants will be climbing; in colder climates, many of these climbing plants should stay lower to the ground to better prepare for winter.