wooden pergola covering outdoor seating

Pergolas and arbors can be an excellent way to add attractive features to your landscape. By utilizing one or both, you can transform the look of your yard and give it an elegant feel. While the words pergola and arbor are sometimes used interchangeably, they are, in fact, separate structures. 

In this blog post, Landscape by Design will be looking at how you can use pergolas and arbors in your home’s landscaping. For safety, it’s always best to have a professional install and maintain pergolas and arbors, as they can be a hazard if not correctly set up.

How to Incorporate Arbors Into Your Landscape Design

While you may not know what an arbor is off the top of your head, there’s a good chance you know what one looks like. Arbors are a decorative structure that can be used to mark the entrance to an area of your yard, such as a garden. They commonly feature an arched or flat roof and are often decorated with vines or flowers. They are typically constructed of metal, wood, or vinyl. Some arbors have a gate.

Types of Arbors and Their Uses

Beautiful arbor on a backyard patio

Arbors come in a variety of designs and styles. They are well-suited for many styles of landscapes and, if used correctly, can blend in well with them. Sometimes arbors also function as a gate.

Arbor Entrance

By utilizing an arbor as an entrance, you can create a memorable approach to spaces such as gardens. Arbors can be useful in indicating how you want someone to enter a section of your yard. For example, you may wish to have your garden initially viewed from a particular angle for the best first impression on a guest.

Patio Arbor Entrance

An arbor can provide a luxurious entrance to a patio. Patio arbor entrances sometimes incorporate gates. By using plants such as vines on the arbor, you can give it a cottage-style feel. They can also feel especially dramatic and charming when used alongside a white picket fence.

Cottage-Style Arbor Entrance

The cottage style evokes country or farm life. It typically features neutral and warm colors and natural materials. A cottage-style arbor entrance can be a great way to complement a cottage-style landscape.

Arbor Fence

An arbor can be complimented by a fence. For example, if you wish to have a garden area of your yard fenced off, you can use an arbor fence as an attractive entry point. Arbors with fences will often feature a gate.

Garden Arbor Path

An arbor can be used to create a sort of tunnel, something that usually features in a garden over a pathway. It is common to add vines or plants to garden arbor paths, which helps them blend in with the garden.

Types of Arbor Materials

Arbors can be made with a variety of materials, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Depending on what type of material you select, there will be different price points, which are subject to fluctuation. Regardless of the type of material your arbor is constructed from, it will still need to be cleaned and maintained.

Some common materials for arbors include:


Wood provides a rustic feel. However, it can be vulnerable to termites and rot if not properly maintained. Arbors can be made from a variety of woods. 


Vinyl is lighter than other types of material, and it won’t rust, fade, or splinter like wood is prone to. It tends to do a better job handling hotter and colder temperatures than some other materials. It is also generally affordable, but the price can vary depending on its quality. 


Metal is durable but heavy. However, you must take steps to protect it from rust and corrosion. Metal arbors often have a sleek and uncomplicated appearance.

Arbor Top Styles

Arbors feature several types of tops. Different arbor tops can provide a unique feel for your property.

Three common types of tops for arbors include:

  • Arch: As the name implies, arched arbors have a typical “arched” style. These arbors often give an elegant vibe.
  • Gable: A gable arch features a pitched top, similar to those found on certain homes. It can provide an ornate look.
  • Traditional, a.k.a., Flat Top: A traditional arbor has a flat top. This provides a simple and attractive design that is often accompanied by a trellis on both sides.

How to Incorporate Pergolas Into Your Landscape Design

pergola covering a seating area

A pergola can be free-standing or attached to a wall. Free-standing pergolas are typically held up by four or more columns or posts. They traditionally feature a partially open flat roof along with open sides. The roofs are often covered with vines. 

Pergolas commonly cover a patio or deck to provide shade. Generally, a pergola allows for fresh breezes and a little bit of sun to shine through. Remember that pergolas generally provide very minimal shelter, so don’t forget to wear sun tan location!

Types of Pergolas and Their Uses

Pergolas can be adapted to a wide variety of scenarios, such as providing an attractive accompaniment to your landscape and a peaceful place for people to relax and host guests. Pergolas also come in a wide variety of styles, from rustic to modern. 

Below you will find several uses and variations of pergolas. 

Garden Pergolas

A pergola placed in a garden can complement the garden’s beauty while offering a great place to relax and enjoy the serenity provided by a garden.

English Dining Pergolas

An English Dining Pergola can provide a peaceful place to have a snack outside, lunch with a friend, or maybe even a nice dinner.

Pergolas Made for Lounging

When placed near a pool, pergolas can provide swimmers with an attractive place to relax and, depending on the design of the pergola, possibly get a little shade. 

Modern Pergola Design

Modern pergolas usually have a straight-forward, sleek design and sharp angles. Some may feature walls, and they all tend to be very minimalistic.

Arched Pergolas

Pergolas with arched tops are less common than the typical flat roof seen on many pergolas. These can give you a more unique as well as refined look.

Louvered Pergolas

As opposed to the typical top used for many pergolas, louvered pergolas have adjustable rafters and they can be opened or closed. 

Attached Pergolas

These are attached directly to a wall on your home and can be a great way to cover a patio or deck.

Awning Pergolas

Awning pergolas are attached to a wall. They tend to be small and have no other supports like posts or columns.

Types of Pergola Materials

Pergola covering a seating area

Like arbors, pergolas can be made from a variety of materials. The different types of materials can have varying price points, looks, and maintenance requirements. Also, keep in mind that material prices are prone to fluctuation. 

Below are some common materials used in pergola construction.


Metal is a long-lasting material for pergolas. It tends to be heavy and is prone to rusting. Anti-rust measures may be required.


Fiberglass is a lightweight material that does not rust, pit, or corrode. As a result, fiberglass pergolas may require less maintenance than other types of pergolas. Fiberglass is often more expensive than other types of materials. 


Wood is a common type of material for pergolas and can provide a rustic feel. They are made from a variety of woods, such as meranti, cedar, nordic source, and acacia. 

While it is often stained, wood is prone to fading over time. The fading can depend greatly on weather conditions. By doing regular maintenance on a wood pergola, you can help it last, maintain its color, and prevent damage such as rot. It is important to remember that no material is indestructible, and damage can happen. 


A lighter material than metal, aluminum won’t rust like metal, but it is prone to corrosion. Aluminum pergolas often invoke a more modern feel. As with vinyl, aluminum pergolas generally require less maintenance.

Cellular PVC

Cellular PVC provides a look that is similar to wood but has several advantages over it. It is resistant to moisture build-up and, unlike wood, does not rot. Cellular PVC pergolas can handle a variety of weather conditions and won’t be a target for termites. 


Pergolas made of PVC tend to be heavy. Generally, a pergola made from PVC will have internal support from a different material, such as aluminum. 


Generally, vinyl pergolas tend to be affordable and have low maintenance requirements. To remove mold or dirt, you’ll need to power-wash the structure one time every one to three years. 


Concrete is incredibly durable and generally has low maintenance needs, but it is not indestructible. If chips or cracks form, they can be repaired by being filled in with concrete. Given their material, concrete pergolas are very heavy. You may need to power-wash concrete pergolas to remove mold or dirt.

Outdoor Landscape Design

If you are looking for ways to integrate pergolas or arbors into your landscape, we can help. Don’t be overwhelmed by the vast amount of ways to decorate your landscape. If you’re in the Greater Fort Worth area, Landscape By Design can help you create a one-of-a-kind landscape that will bring out the best in your yard. 

Our process involves visiting your home to see how we can best enhance your landscape. We make our own pergolas and arbors out of high-quality cedar, which bestows them with an elegant look. We also install pergolas and arbors, so you know the job is done right. Our team is ready to help you add a touch of elegance to your landscape.

Contact us to schedule a free consultation!