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Using Garden Obelisks, Trellises and Arbors

Elevating Your Garden’s Beauty and Structure

As the last whispers of winter fade, my eyes can’t help but be drawn to the bare branches swelling with new life, and the eager bulbs pushing their way through the soil. This is the perfect time to explore adding some much-needed vertical structure to your garden.

Let’s dive into the world of obelisks, trellises, and arbors – and how these versatile elements can transform your outdoor space into a true work of art.

Defining the Structures

Before we get started, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about the three types of garden structures I’ll be covering:

Obelisk – A tall, rectangular structure with a pyramid-shaped top, designed to support climbing plants and vines.

Tuteur – A four-sided, pyramid-shaped structure that also provides support for tall, climbing plants. The terms ‘obelisk’ and ‘tuteur’ are often used interchangeably.

Trellis – A two-dimensional, lattice-style frame used to support and display climbing plants.

Now that we’ve got the definitions down, let’s dive into how these structures can elevate your garden’s beauty and function.

Obelisks and Tuteurs: Architectural Focal Points

One of my favorite things about obelisks and tuteurs is their ability to add year-round interest and height to a garden, even when plants are dormant. Take, for example, the 7-foot iron obelisk that my mother gifted me. It used to be covered in delicate pink roses in her garden, but now it stands tall and proud under the canopy of my own oak trees, providing a striking focal point, even without a single bloom.

I’ve also planted a Clematis seiboldii at the base, which loves to climb and scramble up the structure, like a kid on a jungle gym. But even when the Clematis is reduced to a cluster of bare stems, the obelisk continues to be a captivating feature in this part of my garden.

In another area, I have a smaller 5-foot obelisk that provides support for a towering Helenium. But when the plant is dormant, it becomes a favorite perch for the birds that visit my garden. These architectural structures truly shine, whether they’re adorned with lush vines and flowers, or standing tall and proud on their own.

Maximizing Limited Space with Vertical Elements

For those of us with smaller gardens or tight spaces, obelisks and tuteurs can be game-changers. In my skinny carport bed, for example, I have an obelisk-style support that not only looks stunning year-round, but provides the much-needed vertical element that this space desperately needs.

I’ve also spotted wooden obelisks in the raised beds of a small garden I visited a few years ago. Not only are they visually stunning, but they add interest and structure, even when nothing is currently growing on them. This is a trick I often incorporate when designing raised vegetable beds for my clients – the addition of decorative supports ensures that the beds have vertical interest, even during the winter months.

Trellises: Practical and Playful

While obelisks and tuteurs add an undeniable architectural presence to the garden, trellises are the unsung heroes of vertical support. These two-dimensional lattice frames may seem humble in design, but they’re absolutely critical for supporting many perennials that would otherwise flop and break under their own weight.

One of my favorite trellis ideas comes from the garden of my friend, Teresa Loe. She’s repurposed everything from old gates and ladders to a vintage baby crib to act as supports for her climbing beans and other vines. The result is a wonderfully eclectic and playful display that adds so much character to her small space.

For the truly adventurous, creating a trellis or arbor out of living material can elevate it to a true work of art. I’m talking about willow branch structures that, with a little patience and care, will root and grow, transforming from a simple support into a lush, living sculpture.

Humble Helpers: Stakes and Supports

While grand, architectural structures like obelisks and arbors have their place, we can’t forget the humble, yet essential garden stakes and supports that keep our perennials standing tall.

My favorites are the ones with rings for the plants to grow through – the kind that you want to set in place now, before your garden explodes with new growth. That way, the plants will quickly weave their way up and through the supports, making them virtually invisible.

I also love the triangular tuteurs that I’ve found at various garden shows over the years. They’re beautiful standing alone, but I especially enjoy how they peek through the towering blooms of my Rudbeckia ‘Henry Eilers’.

And let’s not forget the genius idea from my mother, who repurposed her old fireplace tools as garden stakes. Built to last, they’ve provided visual interest and support in her garden for years.

Elevating Your Garden, One Structure at a Time

Whether you choose to make a bold statement with an obelisk or trellis, or quietly support your plants with discreet stakes, the addition of vertical elements can truly transform a garden. They add height, interest, and architectural beauty, elevating your outdoor space into a true work of art.

So, as you stroll through your garden this spring, keep an eye out for those bare spots calling out for a touch of verticality. Today’s Gardens would be thrilled to help you select the perfect structures to take your garden to new heights. Happy gardening!

Today’s Garden is Garden and Landscape Company, provides all you need about Garden and Landscape Design to get better garden decorations.

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