Garden Structures

Arbors: Function, Function, Function

Think of arbors as doorways or hallways in your garden. If you would to include an arbor in your yard, first decide the purpose of the arbor. Arbors can be useful in a small garden for additional planting that is vertical or to break up a narrow space and add interest.

Once you have decided on the arbor’s purpose, choose a material that compliments the home’s style and support its function. If you plan on planting the arbor with climbing plants, you may want to choose vinyl or metal. Wood is decorative in itself, but you’ll want to use treated wood as part of it will be buried like fence posts.

If you are growing plants on the arbor, be sure to research the plants, their growth habits and pruning needs. Make sure the clear space is large enough to walk through comfortably. A general rule of thumb is six to eight feet tall and three feet wide. When you select your plants, don’t forget about clean up – many plants will drop leaves but if it’s excessive, it may not be practical for a walkway. It could be slippery.

Green Fences

A trellis is a vertical element that acts more like a wall than a door. They are perfect to use as a green fence, to break up a large area into smaller garden rooms and to grow more plants on.

Trellises can be freestanding or attached to a wall or existing fence. If they are freestanding you will need to secure them much like a fence post. Consider the size and weight of the plant you plant or growing and select a material that can hold up.

If you attach to a wall or fence, realize after some period and depending on the weather, you may have some rotting on the structure to which you attach it. For example, attaching it to a wood house is not recommended.

If you want a green fence, consider designing it as a trellis. A metal post strung with thick hog-wire will make a sturdy green fence. Green fences combine planting space with privacy and generally makes the yard look larger than standard wood privacy fences do.