Planting Ideas for Wooden Arbours & Arches

Planting Ideas for Wooden Arbours & Arches


Whether you have a small patio or are fortunate to have a large garden there is nothing to beat the attraction of flowering plants grown vertically on supports such as arches, arbours and trellises. You get so much closer to see those beautiful flowers and can breathe in their scent much more easily than having to bend down to ground level. Individual blooms stand out and are easier to inspect and admire.

Wherever you can add arches and arbours you will immediately get the benefits of an extra dimension to your garden which will last for years. Trellises will provide support and protection from wind and frost and can even extend the growing season and types of plants you can grow.



Timber is the most popular material and can be treated in a wide range of colours and products. Whether you prefer the traditional look of natural wood tints or opt for something different they will make attractive focal points around your garden, even during winter months when little is growing.

As an alternative finish, you why not paint the timber in white, soft blues and greens as these provide ideal backgrounds for most climbers but lilac or grey will add a very stylish look for white, pink or blue flowers.


Garden Arches     


Suitable Planting Schemes

Roses are the timeless favourite when it comes to climbing plants and there are not many other species that can rival the enormous range of colours, varieties and perfumes available. Many live for years, just getting better and better with relatively little attention needed. All they require is plenty of food, water and dead heading regularly and in return will give a long season with repeat flowering in many cases and are among the hardiest plants you can grow.

In autumn their glossy leaves can turn vibrant colours and shiny, jewel like hips add another dimension even when flowering is finishing.

Their enduring popularity is testament to the attraction of roses and climbing varieties have been popular since around the start of the 20th C. As breeders introduced new varieties and interest in gardening grew from the utilitarian needs of wartime Britain all around the country homes featured climbing or rambling roses cascading over all manner of arches, arbours and trellises.

In recent decades the garden has come to be looked on as an extension of people’s living space to be enjoyed and is often seen as an outdoor room complete with hard landscaping  features such as patios, decking, pergolas, arbours , etc and not just plants or lawns. Many of these vertical supports are also ideal for cladding with climbers or ramblers.


Haven Corner Arbour

       Dartmouth Swing Seat


When planting bear in mind what will be the likely overall size of the plant and whether it is suitable for the arch or arbour you have in mind. Vigorous varieties can grow up to 10 ft tall and easily spread a couple of metres and more in a season.

Ramblers usually have clusters of smaller blooms which flower in early summer and give one spectacular show.  It is impossible to mention every variety as a stroll around any garden centre will reveal. Visit at different times of the year and see just what is in flower at that particular time. For example, Bobby James flowers in mid-summer with a mass of fragrant, creamy flowers with yellow stamens and looks almost like a frothy cloud .Dorothy Perkins is a favourite with bright pink flowers which fade to a delicate pastel. In general , ramblers have softer stems than climbers and may need tying in places to prevent collapse.

 For an arbour where space is not a problem,  Alberic Barbier grows up to 20ft and is covered with small white blossoms. ­A vigorous climber with stunning large, salmon pink flowers called Compassion and a similar one with yellow blooms called Golden Showers will grow up to 10ft.

Roses thrive on fertile soil and prefer a light spot. They can do well in containers as long as they are not allowed to dry out so are especially useful for arches or trellises on terraces or patios to give privacy and style. Prune ramblers after summer flowering and trim climbers to keep them in shape in late autumn or winter.

Whatever type of garden arch or wooden arbour you choose you can’t go wrong by including roses in your planting scheme.