Gazebo vs. Arbor vs. Trellis: What Is Best For My Backyard?

Many people want to improve their Bergen County backyard garden spaces with one of these features, but aren’t clear about their differences.

There are three particular fixtures that are easy to mix up. But in reality they’re all very unique hardscape structures that can add specific qualities to your back yard. It’s true, gazebos, trellises and arbors are permanent and semi-permanent fixtures providing hardscape structure to your New Jersey yard.

Let’s look at a description of each component so that you can be clear about what they are, which will help you decide what exactly you’re looking for. Once you know the differences, you’ll be able to speak to a professional design landscaper with a better understanding of what you want your Bergen County landscape to look like.

Gazebo Benefits

Aside from a garden trellis or arbor, gazebos provide a complete outdoor roof, like a room without walls. Many gazebos are set on the outer edge of a yard overlooking a spectacular view. Others are set in the middle of an herb garden.

Many gazebos have bench seats built into low walls and can fit a high number of people. Gazebos provide a complete roof, providing shelter from rain and are built with a raised floor with a sturdy foundation of posts and low walls around a polygon or circular shape.

Another gazebo-like fixture is a pergola, which provide a roof pattern of beams for growing vines, set on columns of posts in the ground.

Gazebos are heavier and larger than arbors or trellises and many require a permit to build, depending on the size.

Arbor Benefits

Think of an arbor as a gateway to your backyard, which might also contain a gazebo or trellis. Arbors are primarily meant to separate two distinct garden areas, such as providing an entrance from the front yard to the back.

Most arbors are shaped with a high arched top with vines growing up and over them and are easy to set up and move around. Many arbors also include a trellis on one or both sides to provide a fence-like division between two sections of the garden.

Trellis Benefits

Many times, a trellis is part of an arbor to provide fencing on either side of an arbor. A trellis uses a decorative latticework of crossed pieces usually made of wood such as cedar or teak attached to posts that you can secure to the ground.

Some trellises are made of metal or polyvinyl for a wider variety of colors. But most trellises don’t need color because they will contain vines with succulent flowers such as honeysuckle, rose or camellia to make a very pretty wall or fence. In fact, trellises are primarily used to support plants. Trellises are easier to move since they are frequently attached to an arbor or placed in the ground along an edge of a yard.

So now that you are clear about the difference between gazebos, arbors and trellises, it may help to ask yourself these questions.

  • Do I want a structure with a full roof and seating for parties and shelter from the rain?

  • Do I want it simple like an entranceway from on section to another?

  • Do I want something to support roses, grapes, and other vines?

  • Do I want something that takes a little or a lot of plant maintenance?

Asking yourself these questions will help you decide what you are really looking for to make your northern NJ backyard garden a delight. In addition, speaking with a landscape design company can help you more accurately determine which would be best for you.