A tunnel of laburnum outside the Palace at Kew Gardens in London.

There are all sorts of good reasons to consider adding an arbor, pergola, tuteur or another type of freestanding trellis to your garden this spring. Here are just a few:

1. Create instant impact. Trees and shrubs serve an important role in a garden or landscape. They create focal points, add vertical interest, enclose a view and define spaces. When establishing a new garden or new area, there’s often a period of waiting while trees and shrubs are maturing. A garden structure can provide instant visual impact while those plants are growing in.

2. Define a space. An arbor will clearly signify the entrance to your garden or into a separate garden room. Well-defined spaces make small gardens feel bigger and bring a sense of order to large gardens.


These baby blue tuteurs add architectural interest to the border, while also supporting climbing roses.

3. Grow climbing plants. Walking beneath a bower of flowers is an unforgettable pleasure! Trellises make it possible to grow lots of wonderful climbing plants including clematis, roses, honeysuckle, passion vine and kiwi. Put a trellis in a large pot and you can grow annual vines such as sweet peas and thunbergia.

4. Make your own shade. If your garden is short on trees, an arbor or pergola can provide welcome protection from hot sun. You’ll need a super-sturdy structure if you want to grow vigorous perennial vines such as wisteria, aristolochia and grapes.

5. Create a focal point. A tuteur is a freestanding trellis, usually with 3 or 4 sides that come together at the top. Tuteurs can be used to draw the eye to the end of a pathway. You can also use a number of them in sequence to create visual rhythm in the landscape.

6. Add privacy. Need to hide an unsightly view or screen yourself from the neighbors? A trellis can do the job nicely and won’t be perceived as a “fence”. If the gridwork on the trellis is relatively dense, you’ll get lots of privacy even before plants have time to climb their way up.

To learn more about trellises, read Smart Supports for Climbing Plants.

-Kathy LaLiberte, Director of Gardening

At left: the Andover Screen is one of many screens, trellises and arbors available on our website. This model is available in 5 different colors! At right: Climbing roses and clematis make happy companions on a tall, sturdy trellis.