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  • Writer's pictureJesica Zebouah

Pergolas, Arbors, Trellises and Lattice

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

This is the first in several posts I'll be discussing landscaping terminology. When I speak with people about these four items in particular, they often don't know what to call them, but they know they want them incorporated into their landscapes because they are wonderful additions to most any setting.


These come in two forms; free standing and attached to a structure, usually the house. They are wonderful to grow vines on, add shade to a seating area and improve the overall look within the landscape. I think they're classy!

Above is a free-standing redwood pergola with a clear stain. We planted trumpet vines on two posts that will eventually grow up and over the top beams and provide more shade.

Here's a pergola that's attached to the house. See how it matters the direction the upper slats are installed so you capture shadows from the sun and limit the direct light?


Arbors define an entry and invite you along a path. You walk through an arbor. They can be built in many different styles; sturdy and bulky, light and whimsical and everything in between.

Here's examples of wood arbors. There are also metal arbors and some I've seen from salvaged recycled materials, but here, I'm just showing the most common types. Arbors can be two or four posts and are made of varied shapes and sizes of decorative beams. As you walk around neighborhoods, you may notice how creative carpenters get with their particular style of arbor. The basic framing however doesn't change much; there's the posts and either an arc or squared off beams at the top. Like pergolas, it's common for arbors to have vines growing on them. This is in line with an English cottage garden theme.

This arbor also has built-in trellises on each side. The term trellis is simply a structure that provides plant support for vines and fruit trees. The first arbor above is built from two posts with no trellis and the second arbor has four posts with trellises on both sides that vines could grow on and eventually cover and spill down the top beams.


We use trellises often in the landscaping for support. They're also useful if you want a beautiful vine in an area but don't want to attach it to the house. If the house needs to be painted and clearance is needed to do that work, vines attached to the house may need to be removed but if they're on a trellis, they can easily be moved off the house for the duration of the work.


We use lattice often along the tops of fences, for enclosures to hide garbage cans and a/c units and to close off under decks. Lattice comes in 4x8' panels we cut to fit the project we're working on, and also in pre-cut sizes with framing around them for fence work.

Garbage can enclosure

A/C unit enclosure and lattice along deck posts

Lattice along the top of the fence

I hope I've helped clear up confusion about what to call each of these common landscaping items, and how we use them. When you speak with friends now about your landscaping project, you can confidently name them!

Happy Halloween and please don't forget to remove all the spider webs from your hedges and lawns after Sunday, your gardener will appreciate it!



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