Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Garden Arbor

By Christina VanGinkel

Adding an arbor to your yard or garden can be a great way to add seating in a shaded area, provide climbing plants with a spot to do their favorite thing, climb, and is just a great way to add style to the space or create a transition from one area to another. We have been tossing around the idea of getting one for our garden this spring, to place at the end of a pathway that we intend to build with our young grandson in mind. So, with this in mind, I thought some research was needed.

First, do not assume that your yard or garden is not large enough for an arbor, especially one with added seating, as even the smallest of yards can be improved with the addition of the correct arbor. Large spaces can also be transformed in a positive manner with the addition of a carefully chosen arbor. Depending on how your garden is laid out, how big the space is, how many areas you have, and what other decorative elements and plants are already in residence, will all play a part in choosing the perfect arbor for you space. Our garden and yard is small, yet an arbor with seating seems to be exactly what we need.

Arbors can be a great way to create an entry point into a garden, with some people even assuming that it is the only place to situate one, but that is far from true. An arbor with a gate, or not, can be the perfect, decorative, welcoming spot to provide access to your garden. By providing a focal point from which a visitor can identify the start of a path, along with providing the physical attribute one might need in which to place a gate, it is easy to see why some might assume that is all they are good for. However, thanks to innovative designers, arbors have come along further in their designs than just for being used as entryways. We are not looking for one to place at the entrance to the garden, but actually at the back of it.

Consider any out of the way spot that would make an ideal place to situate a bench for reading, or even having a quiet cup of tea. Maybe the spot is not conducive to situating a large gazebo in, or the idea of a smaller arbor with attached seating, or enough open space for a bench, is just more to your liking. In addition, best yet, if you have climbing plants in the area, the arbor can still do its duty by providing a convenient spot for them to do their crawling on.

Arbors can be purchased complete, by kit, or built from scratch. The issue I would personally have with the first is that I would most likely not find a suitable arbor to fit my needs locally, and I am sure that would be about the only way to have one delivered completed. A kit on the other hand would provide me with lots of choices, and would most likely arrive by truck ready to be assembled with just a few basic tools. Shipping could be an issue, but shopping carefully, and with the added cost of any carrier charges in mind, I was sure I could find something to my liking and in our budget. The last option of building it from scratch could also be improved on by ordering blueprints and building it on my own, with the help of my husband or even a contractor. This would save me on shipping charges, but I would still need to go out and buy and make ready all of the parts and supplies.

So, with all of these decisions in mind, I decided to shop online for ready to assemble kits, and I have found several arbors that seem to be exactly what I want, all online at OutdoorDecor.com. One, six feet wide, comes with a choice of a bench seat or full seat, and is made of durable cedar, which can be left to weather naturally, painted, or stained. It has a peaked roof, with nicely spaced out side rails perfect for my favorite climbing roses. It is also available in a smaller four foot width, but for the spot I would use it in, the six foot width would be a better fit. Priced at $799.00 it is a bit more than I wanted to spend, but it is still a definite contender.

If an arbor is in your future, be sure to take all of these options into consideration, and you will be sure to find the perfect arbor for your needs.

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