While we all often use the terms interchangeably, trellises, arbors, gazebos and pergolas are distinctly different structures. But how exactly do they differ?
From the simplest morning glory to a massive tunnel of wisteria, every garden, even the smallest, can benefit from the whimsy, charm and beauty of adding height with one of these vertical garden structures.
A trellis is typically a latticework built to support climbing plants or vines. It can be a simple panel or wire frame attached to the side of a building, or it can be freestanding in a garden or yard. An arbor usually incorporates a trellis into its structure, creating a tunnel-like passageway of climbing plants. Thus, an arbor and a trellis are closely related.
Arbors have a continuous run of latticework from one side of the “tunnel” to the other, often in an arched shape. Often referred to as a “gateway to outdoor spaces”. As mentioned, an arbor usually incorporates a trellis into its structure, creating a tunnel-like passageway of climbing plants - but an arbor and a trellis are actually two distinct elements of landscape architecture.
A gazebo is generally a free standing outdoor structure with a floor and a roof. It is sometimes enclosed with screens to keep unwanted flying guests from upsetting your moment of quiet. The word “gazebo” does not have a definite origin, but it is likely a combination of the English word “gaze” and the Latin suffix “ebo,” which means “I shall gaze”, referring to its use as a viewpoint.
Pergolas simply have posts supporting a roof-like structure. They’re most commonly used to shade a walkway or a deck. A pergola (“a close walk of boughs” in Italian) combines the best parts of other three structures discussed above, and then adds a splash of ambiance and character to them.