What’s the Difference: Trellis, Arbor, and Pergola
Although the terms often are used interchangeably, trellises, arbors, and pergolas are distinctly different structures. One or more of these structures might become part of a complete landscaping plan that might also include plantings, lighting, and a patio or terrace.
A trellis is typically a latticework built to support climbing plants or vines. It can be as simple as a panel 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. Arbors have a continuous run of latticework from one side of the “tunnel” to the other, often in an arched shape.
These structures typically are built from wood, so choosing a species that will stand up to weather exposure is key. This is doubly important when part of the structure is in contact with the ground or below grade. Pressure-treated wood is a safe bet, but unless it’s painted its distinctive color might be a turn-off. Softwoods that are naturally rot resistant, such as cedar or redwood, are another option, although they can be pricey. Look for wood that’s locally harvested, or certified as sustainably harvested.
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