What’s In A Name? Know Before You Build!

arbor-1-275x300It’s been an unusually hot summer. We’re all looking for shade and a degree or two less, particularly when you want to enjoy the outdoor living space of your home. Interchangeable terms such as arbor, pergola, trellis, and gazebo come up a lot. Do you know the differences? Do you know what you really want when you ask your professional home remodeler to add a little something extra to your home?

A one sided, open framework or lattice structure of interwoven or intersecting pieces of wood, bamboo or metal that is typically made to support and display climbing plants, especially shrubs. A trellis can stand alone or it can stand against an existing wall or other structure, but it is typically not a permanent structure, and does not have to be placed within the ground. A trellis does not have a roof. When made of wood, they are typically very simple, but can look ornate or decorative when made from metal. A trellis can be a decorative screen used as a privacy barrier instead of a fence.


Typically thought of as a gateway garden feature forming a shaded walkway, passageway, or small sitting area of vertical posts or pillars that usually support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice. Like a trellis, an arbor is often used to support thicker, woody vines or shrubs such as climbing roses. Arbors often, but not always have an arched roofway. The sides of an arbor can be made of two trellises.


Gazebos are freestanding or attached structures with roofs, and are open on all sides with typically a circular or polygonal shape. A gazebo is often set apart from the deck and is a sturdy structure, typically with a raised floor and attached bench seating. They provide shade and shelter, and a place to rest. Some gazebos in public parks can be large enough to serve as a bandstand or rain shelter. Quite often, a permit is required to construct a gazebo, so check with your professional remodeler before simply putting one up for your home.

According to http://pergoladiy.com, a “pergola combines the best parts of the other structures, then adds a splash of ambiance and character to them. Pergolas are secured into the ground with posts of columns. They can be attached to a house on one side or they can be free standing. They don’t have the full roof of a gazebo, but instead provide plenty of shade through a dappled pattern of beams and rafters. The edges of the roof pieces are given a fancy cut to add flare to the design.” Some pergolas add more function by utilising permanent screens as further protection from insects. Again, check with a professional to see if you need a permit before having a pergola added as a structure to your home.


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