What is the Difference Between an Arbor, Trellis, and Pergola?

Arbor, Trellis, Pergola

Many of the structures built on a landscape have a specific name. In some cases though the name of the structure can be difficult to remember because the structures are so similar to each other. That is the case with the following terms:

  • Arbors
  • Trellises
  • Pergolas

These are fairly similar structures that have unique differences between them. If you’re working with a Capital Landscape designer and have one of these envisioned, do not worry too much about the terminology.  Describe what you desire to your landscaper and they’ll be able to customize the design to meet your needs.

What is an Arbor?

An Arbor is a passageway, usually made of wood, that marks an entrance to some part of the property. It is often arched in shape (but not always) and has plenty of open space to let light in. Many people use an arbor as an unofficial entranceway into a yard, surrounding it by bushes or plants and placing some type of hardscape as the walkway. Often the structure is also designed to easily grow vines, which directly relates to the next term.

What is a Trellis?

A trellis is both a standalone structure and a part of an arbor. It is a generally flat structure with an open framework so as to allow vines or plants to grow easily through the openings. Some trellises are placed on walls as decorative pieces. Others are part of the arbors (some arbors are called “arched trellises”) which allow vines to crawl up the sides. Trellis refers to more of a style of design, rather than a functional structure.

What is a Pergola?

While arbors tend to be arched, pergolas tend to be more square shaped. They use thicker pillars to hold up what is usually wooden beams. Some of the tops of pergolas are covered completely. Others are not. Pergolas are also far more common over gathering spaces, and are rarely used as entranceways the way arbors are.

Custom Building Coverings For Your Needs

In general, unless you already have an existing landscape design and simply want to use these as additions, you do not have to know the difference between these three types of structures. Your specific custom landscape design from Capital Landscape will be created according to your needs, and you’ll have an opportunity to discuss where you want coverings, what you’d like the ambiance to be, and more.

But if you’re looking for inspiration, knowing the difference between them can help you plan your vision in your head and communicate it better with the landscaper. The differences can be difficult to remember, but as long as you understand them you’ll be able to communicate them to the designer.

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