These Garden Arbors Will Make Your Fairy-Tale Aesthetic Come True

beautiful summer garden view with curvy stone pathway and wooden archway natural woodland cottage garden with hostas, conifers and shrubs
13 Whimsical Garden Arbor Ideas for Your YardMkovalevskaya_GETTY

Garden arbors are one of the prettiest ways to add cottage-style charm to your yard. Often used as entryways into a garden path, garden arbors are typically decorated with climbing vines and flowering plants that grow up the sides and cover the top. Though they require some time and care to reach their fullest, lushest potential, once they do, there's hardly any need for other outdoor features.

With origins dating back to ancient Egypt, garden arbors gained popularity in Europe for their ability to provide shade and add property value. Their structures are simpler in form than a gazebo or pergola but add just as much beauty to a space. Even if erected with bare sides and an open roof, the presence of a garden arbor has the effect of transforming any backyard space into a magical retreat. Whether you're looking to create a nook for relaxation or an enchanting entryway into your at-home green space, these 13 garden arbors offer endless possibilities to enhance your outdoor experience.

For more outdoor inspiration:

Plan Out Your Plants

This modern garden arbor will one day be covered in wisteria vines, says Ben Bowen, landscape designer at Ross NW Watergardens. Seeing the delicate purple blooms canopy this garden entryway will certainly be worth the wait. Plus, in keeping consistent with the desired design aesthetic, the plant will provide "a fairly traditional take on a Japanese-style gate," he adds.

Related: What to Know About Growing Annual vs. Perennial Plants

a small garden in front of a house
Courtesy of Ross NW Watergardens

Place It Among Large Trees

If you want your garden arbor to feel like it's always been there, build it within the foliage of an existing tree, Bowen suggests. "A modern take on a Japanese moon gate, this arbor has stone columns anchoring it in place," he adds.

a path with a bridge over it
Courtesy of Ross NW Watergardens

Create a Privacy Fence

Work your garden arbor into a privacy fence to separate the more public areas of your yard from the ones you want to keep away from prying eyes. Bowen says of this large one, "This modern arbor, located in Camas, Washington, was designed to match the scale of our client's large modern home. It sits on a slope above a public walking path and serves as a gate, marking the transition from a garden area that feels public to an area that is more private."

a house with a garden
Courtesy of Ross NW Watergardens

Go Big

For a whimsical outdoor dining area, choose to add a garden arbor big enough to cover the whole party. The team at Eden Garden Design created this custom arbor for a client's backyard and covered it in fragrant flowers, herbs, and vines to make this casual space feel more elevated.

Related: Designers Love These Outdoor Room Trends

a table with chairs and plants outside
Greg Thomas

Make It Extremely Lush

You don't need flowering plants to ensure your garden arbor is extremely lush. Simply choosing climbing greenery still makes the feature look extremely unique to your yard, and it provides ample coverage.

a garden with a gazebo
Mark Turner

Paint It White

To emulate a picket-fence style, simply paint your garden arbor white. Its neutral, classic look will automatically make your lush greens and vibrant blooms pop.

white arbor with red blooming roses in a garden

Use It As an Entry

Make the entrance to your walkway more interesting by adding a garden arbor at the very front of your property. Think of it like a symbolic doorway into your yard and home, and decorate it with your favorite flowering vines.

Related Story: 25 Beautiful Walkway Ideas to Elevate Your Home and Yard

a bench in a garden
Mark Turner

Create a Corridor

Want to dramatically fill your backyard space? This elongated garden arbor creates a corridor that segments the area and gives climbing vines plenty of space to stretch out. Plus, once the plants cover the canopy, it'll provide much-needed shade on hot days.

early evening sunlight highlights the arches of this garden arbor at the elm bank reservation in wellesley, massachusetts

Add a Brick Pathway

Though a whimsical, grass pathway is beautiful, sometimes you want a more manicured look for your outdoor space. If that's the case, pave a brick pathway in your yard and put up a white garden arbor over it.

white fence and arch in the summer garden

Make It Cottagecore

Cottagecore meets storybook-rustic with this garden arbor idea. The natural wooden posts evoke fairy-tale enchantment, allowing climbing vines to grow wildly up and over the canopy.

Related Story: What Is the Rewilding Trend About?

a structure made of sticks in a yard with trees and bushes
Fernando Bengoechea

Make It a Bench

While many garden arbors serve as entryways, this one is a destination unto itself. This dreamy outdoor reading nook invites you to sit and relax among your flower beds while the climbing vines provide shade.

ornate wooden garden arbor with bench seat and climbing roses in beautifully landscaped botanical garden in california, usa
Debbie Eckert

Choose a Metal Frame

Instead of wood, use a metal garden arbor for a more modern look. Choosing one like this allows for more design potential, as seen on the sides of this arbor. You have a lot more freedom outside of trellises with this material.

springtime flower garden with black metal trellis and concrete bench surrounded by red flowers and plants

Frame the Top Steps

Give yourself a reason to hike up the slope in your yard by adding a garden arbor at the top of a hill. Though this one doesn't include one, you could even add a bench underneath to give yourself a shaded spot to rest after climbing the stairs.

pergola flower garden of the house hilly landscape spring season

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