Tips for Landscaping Arbors

Using an Arbor in Garden
Landscape Design

Advice for landscaping arbors. Pictures and ideas for incorporating an arbor into your home landscape design. Landscaping plant guide for arbors and pergolas.

Fairfield Grande image from

Click to See a Beautiful Selection of Landscaping Arbors

If you erect something as large as an arbor in your landscape it is going to be a focal point. Because a garden arbor is sure to draw the eye, placement is paramount.

Use it to frame a view or to highlight a specimen plant or special piece of garden art.

The Fairfield Grande arbor shown here is nearly a piece of garden art in itself.

You would only place an arbor this size into an expansive space. It gives a grand landscape even more impact.

The large flowering shrubs planted around the arbor draw attention to it just as it draws the eye to them.

This is also a good example of landscaping with boulders. The stacked boulders act as a visual anchor. Their weight counterbalances the height of the structure.

Imagine the picture without them. Something seems to be missing.

The rocks also serve to unite the landscape with the mountains in the distance and repeat the color of the pavers on the path.

Buy Metal and Wooden Arbors Here

An arbor with a gate draws more attention than a lone arbor would. It also slows you down. You’ve got to stop to open the gate before passing through it.

This encourages strollers to take a moment to drink in the view which, in this case, consists of long borders filled with intensely colored plants.

Ornamental sweet potato vines creep onto the path while purple fountain grass and the annual red castor bean add height.

Wooden arbor in a Savannah, Ga yard.

The tan wood of the cedar arbor adds drama to this naturalistic landscape with a soft touch.

The natural wood leads you gently to the home’s entrance without shouting at you the way bright white vinyl sometimes can.

White arbor used as an entrance to a patio garden.

This white arch arbor forms an entrance to a patio garden in a suburban back yard landscape design.

The round raised bed at the center of the square patio brings in a contrasting shape. The flowering tree at the center of this bed is a crape myrtle.

The columnar ‘Sky Pencil’ hollies spaced around the patio are a unique choice of landscaping shrub which will only become more interesting as they mature and construct the walls of this garden room. They will give the space a sense of enclosure without ever growing wide enough to block the view into the rest of the landscape.

Once the plantings mature, the arch will be the doorway into this space and the dwarf box shrubs between the holly bushes will act as window sills.

When landscaping arbors like this simple arch trellis, you will want to smother the structure in foliage and flowers to add overhead color to your garden landscape design.

An arbor can be used to add height in a small space where a tree might be too large or cast too much shade on the surrounding plants.

This pergola arbor accentuates the entrance to the pool enclosure in this sideyard landscape design.

Large pots of flowers have been set on either side of the newly erected structure to bring in extra color until a vine can become established.

Flower pots can easily be switched out for fresh stock as the season wanes.

Plants for Landscaping Arbors

Rose Arbor

Here you have a beautiful example of using flower color to highlight and contrast with the color of the arbor. These red ‘Blaze’ roses are striking against the milk white vinyl arbor.

Another ‘Blaze’ rose is laid on the ground and used as a groundcover.

If red is not your color, a yellow rose like, ‘Golden Showers’ would do as well.

Notice how most of the roses on the pergola arbor are concentrated across the top. This happens because the canes of climbing roses bloom most heavily when they are in a horizontal position.

It can be difficult to get the upright canes growing up the sides of the structure to flower. One solution to this is to purchase an arbor with an interesting side design that you will want to show off. Another is to plant another flowering vine at the foot of the rose.

Clematis vines are often combined with climbing roses. The foliage and flowers of the Clematis will cover the “bare legs” of the rose and dress the sides of the arbor.

Annual vines like the Black Eyed Susan vine are also suitable for use with roses.

Avoid planting aggressive perennial vines with roses as such vines might smother them.

‘Sweet Autum’ Clematis would be a poor choice. The large-flowered but smaller Jackmanii would be perfect.

Choosing Plants for Landscaping Arbors

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Wisteria, Black DragonPassion Flower, Maypop

Consider the mature size and weight of any vine you want to use for landscaping arbors.

Large, heavy vines like wisteria require a large and very sturdy support like the Fairfiled Grande arbor at the top of this page. A pergola would be even better.

If you are landscaping a very decorative arbor, you may not want it to be completely covered by plants. In this case, annual vines like morning glories or old-fashioned sweet peas will not always be present.

Landscaping with annuals also gives you the chance to audition different flower colors before committing to anything.

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