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Pergolas, Trellises, & Arbors: What’s the Difference?

Pergolas, Trellises, & Arbors: What’s the Difference?

Some elements, like pergolas, trellises, and arbors, can expand the elegance of a specific area. These structures provide shade and support for climbing plants and are stunning focal points in gardens, patios, and other outdoor areas.

Your home reflects your personality, and the exterior spaces directly extend from your home’s interior, meaning you must pay them the same amount of attention. Try different home styles to learn more about your preferred style; having high-quality elements will also help you achieve a better experience.

Learning the differences between pergola, trellis, and arbor will help you choose the best option for your home, as they are not interchangeable. Keep reading to discover what these three outdoor structures will teach you about their unique characteristics, purposes, and design possibilities.

Patio Pergolas

Pergolas are open-air structures typically consisting of vertical posts that support an open roof framework, providing shade and protection from the weather. The roof framework usually consists of evenly spaced beams or rafters, creating an overhead pattern that adds a unique style.

The most common material contractors use is wood because it blends perfectly with the outdoors, can withstand various weather conditions, and has few maintenance requirements. A reliable Denver pergola company like Kona Contractors will help you achieve proper installation while matching your style with the best options available.

Benefits Of Pergolas

Unlike solid roofs, pergolas allow sunlight to filter through, creating a pleasant interplay of light and shade, which serves both functional and aesthetic purposes. They provide partial shade and protection from the sun, making them ideal for outdoor seating areas, patios, and gardens.

Pergolas offer a frame for climbing plants like vines and creepers to flourish, enveloping the structure in greenery and natural beauty. They often serve to define spaces, create visual interest, and add architectural appeal to outdoor environments.

People who love spending time outdoors usually pair a pergola with a fire pit and comfortable coaches because it creates a unique space for relaxation. Pergolas also complement a pool, where you can place pool beds or chairs and enjoy the benefits.


Trellises are different from pergolas in terms of their size, purpose, functionality, and design because their main purpose is to uplift the aesthetic of a space. These structures are typically smaller and more lightweight than pergolas but are also very resistant to weather conditions when installed properly.

They consist of an interlaced framework made of wooden or metal slats arranged horizontally and vertically to create a larger panel. The main purpose of trellises is to support and train climbing plants, giving them a structure to cling to as they grow. Trellises are strong structures when installed properly, allowing you to hang small pots or heavier plants without the risk of bringing them down.

Benefits Of Trellises

Trellises are versatile additions to any outdoor space, as they will transform a space with just one panel and the right plants. You can mount them against walls, fences or even leave them freestanding in the garden for a more contemporary approach.

Their primary purpose is to provide a support system for climbing plants, such as roses, clematis, or ivy. Trellises help create stunning vertical gardens and act as decorative elements in outdoor settings by guiding the growth of these plants. You can also use these structures to create privacy screens or partitions, adding an element of seclusion to your outdoor area.


Like trellises, arbors serve as structures that support climbing plants, but arbors have a distinctive feature, a curved or arched top. These arches come with two standing pillars, primarily using materials like metal, wood, or even branches, creating a visually captivating entrance or passageway.

Arbors work best with climbing plants, offering any outdoor space a magical and inviting atmosphere. One of the main differences between pergolas, trellises, and arbors is the versatility that each contributes to improving your patio experience—depending on the size, landscape, and main functionality of your yard.

Benefits Of Arbors

Arbors create a unique and picturesque entrance to gardens or pathways and create a focal point in outdoor landscapes, ideal for cities, where you can spend quality time outside. They provide a sense of transition and serve as eye-catching architectural features with modern designs that can free-stand in almost any location.

Arbors are typically smaller in size compared to pergolas, but they exude a unique charm and romantic appeal that helps transform the ambiance of a space. Like trellises, they offer the perfect support for climbing plants, transforming a simple structure into a breathtaking natural display, enhancing any space.

Design Possibilities

Understanding the differences between pergolas, trellises, and arbors opens a world of design possibilities for your outdoor space, which could also elevate the value of your home. You can choose to incorporate these structures individually or combine them to create a cohesive and harmonious landscape by letting your creativity shine.

A pergola can serve as the central focal point, with trellises positioned along the sides to provide additional support for climbing plants. You can place arbors in entry points or walkways to create captivating pathways and a unique experience with the help of plants and flowers.

Outdoor Materials

The choices are vast when it comes to materials; you can choose between those that match your personal style or stand out from the rest. Wood, like cedar or redwood, lends a warm and natural appeal to these structures, delivering a more organic approach to blending perfectly with nature.

Metal, such as wrought iron or aluminum, has a more contemporary and modern look with a timeless approach. Mixing and matching materials can also add interest and variety to your outdoor space, allowing you to customize the structures to suit your personal taste and the overall aesthetic of your garden or patio.

Pergolas, trellises, and arbors are distinct outdoor structures that serve different purposes while enhancing the beauty of your outdoor spaces. Pergolas offer partial shade and architectural appeal, trellises provide support for climbing plants and create vertical gardens, and arbors have a unique style that marks entrances and the beginning and end of pathways.

Understanding these differences and working with installation professionals allows you to make informed decisions when designing and incorporating these structures into your outdoor oasis. By carefully selecting and placing these elements, you can create an outdoor space that is not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of nature in your backyard.

Pergolas, Trellises, & Arbors: What’s the Difference?