Garden Arbor Designs - Metal Arbors vs. Wooden Arbors, Which Is Best?

Feb 25


Ellen Bell

Ellen Bell

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Metal and wood are two popular material choices for garden arbors, but choosing which is best can be difficult.  We'll lay out the pros and cons of each material choice so you can determine which type of arbor is right for your yard.

Adding an arbor to your garden is a quick and easy way to create a focal point within the space and boost your home's curb appeal.  Arbors are highly customizable,Garden Arbor Designs - Metal Arbors vs. Wooden Arbors, Which Is Best? Articles with designs ranging from those that rise up over a gate in a fence, to others that can be built with a bench seat underneath, creating a quiet nook for reading and relaxing in the garden.  If you've decided to build or purchase an arbor for your yard, one of the most important decisions you'll need to make is the type of material.  Two popular material choices for garden arbors are metal and wood.  These material types are vastly different, each with their own pros and cons.  In this article, we'll explore both types of structures and attempt to determine which is best.

Wood is a very classic and natural material choice that has been around since the beginning of time.  There are numerous benefits to wooden arbors, but we want to focus on weatherability, cost, and changeability.  Since wood is a material naturally found outdoors, it makes perfect sense that it weathers well.  Wooden arbors will hold up against sun and rain, without problems of fading or rusting.  Wood is also relatively inexpensive, particularly as compared to metal.  A large wooden arbor can usually be built for around $100 to $150 or purchased as a ready to assemble kit for about $250 to $300.

Wooden arbors are very changeable in appearance.  For example, if you decide to paint your house green, you can always paint your arbor the same color.  Wood is easy to sand down and stain or paint to whatever color or tone you desire.  If you know in advance that you want to paint your arbor, you may want to save yourself some money and use less expensive wood.  However, if you want to leave the wood in its natural state, or cover it with a stain or sealer, you're probably better off choosing a redwood such as cedar.  Cedar will cost you more up front, but it will last longer because of its natural resistance to rot, decay, and insect infestations.

Next we'll discuss the primary advantages of metal arbors: longevity, durability, and strength.  If you want to put your money into a garden arbor that will stand the test of time, there is no better material choice than metal.  Unlike wood, you'll never have to worry about rotting, cracking, splintering, checking, or insect infestations.  One of the keys to the longevity of the structure is the type of metal used.  For low cost and maximum strength, we recommend aluminum.  Steer clear of powder coated steel or iron arbors.  Both of these metals will rust quickly when exposed to the outdoor elements.

Metal arbors are also extremely durable, standing up to strong storms and winds without breaking.  If you live in an area that experiences high winds, a metal arbor is an excellent choice, particularly if you have the ability to sink its feet into cement footings.  The strength of metal is also unmatched, an important consideration if you want to grow a heavy climbing plant up the side of your garden structure.  Wistera vine, for example, is a famously heavy climber known for collapsing wooden decks and porches if it gets too large.  If you want to grow wisteria, or a similarly heavy vine, a metal arbor is again your best choice.

In summary, the type of garden arbor that's best for you can only be determined by your individual needs.  If cost is the most important determining factor in your decision, wood is a good and inexpensive choice.  On the other hand, if you need something that's really durable and long lasting, metal may be a better option.  No matter what you choose, your garden arbor will be a welcome addition to your landscape, adding beauty, charm, and curb appeal to your home's exterior.

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