Arches & Trellises

Want to instantly add romance to your yard or garden? Consider installing an arch or trellis. Arches and trellises are easy to put in. If you are handy with a few tools, they make excellent do-it-yourself construction projects.

What are Arches and Trellises?

Primarily used for aesthetic purposes, arches and trellises share many of the same features.

Arches provide shade in place of trees and elegant transitions between landscape areas. Arches can be a two-dimensional, single panel structure used in tandem with a fence gate, or a complete archway supported by four posts. There could also be benches and planters on either side.

Trellises lend themselves well to dressing up blank walls and planter boxes. Originally developed as fencing used to support plants, trellises are flat structures. They can be rest or hug against another surface, such as a house or wall, or driven into the ground and left freestanding.

Arches and trellis forms are often combined. You will find the terms pergola, arbor, arch, bower, and trellis used interchangeably to describe any garden structure that supports climbing plants or provides shade.

Trellis Latticework

Trellises feature framed latticework surfaces. For the lattice, thin strips of wood, metal, vinyl, or plastic are interwoven to create a flat surface. The strips are widely spaced, making surface of the lattice the perfect structure on which to train vines like Bougainvillea and Jasmine.

Trellis latticework is normally laid:

  • Vertically or horizontally - forming square or rectangular patterns with the strips
  • Criss-cross - forming diamond or triangular patterns with the strips.

The lattice pattern may be of consistent or varied sizes. They make lovely backdrops for fountains and statuary, can be used to fence or frame a garden area, and are often used as a privacy screen.

Arches and Trellises - Options Available

A quick trip to your local garden shop can help you become familiar with the variety and types of arches and trellises available for your garden. There, you will find everything from rustic country structures made from raw willow twigs to elaborate sculpted archways of wrought iron finished in brass patina suitable for the most fanciful or formal garden.

Cedar is a popular material for arches due to its high resistance to deterioration and inherent strength. Pressure-treated pine is a less expensive alternative, but can require more care. Of course, you don't have to choose a wood-wrought iron, vinyl, copper, and plastics are also used to create beautiful and enduring arches and trellises.