Intimate structures: Arches, arbors and pergolas

Inviting: Verandas are perfect outdoor living spaces for the Rogue Valley, as the Stewart family knew when they built their Medford house.

Making a garden one's own is an intimate act of creation between gardener and nature. Intimacy is something we experience in a container, a place of concealment, or a place set aside "just for me." Privacy in a garden, like that in a home, is often accomplished by creating walls and ceilings: the role of arches, pergolas and arbors.

Inviting: Verandas are perfect outdoor living spaces for the Rogue Valley, as the Stewart family knew when they built their Medford house. Newly restored, this gracious home has an intimate outdoor space with full-length "windows" opening to a luxurious garden. The arch, one of architecture's oldest forms, is sturdy and calming here. The breeze can blow through, and the veranda provides ample shade from summer's sun. Huge baskets of petunias and other summer annuals complement the abundant nature of this garden setting.

Frame: Arbors can frame intimate spaces, like this charming cottage garden with gazebo in a Phoenix garden. Crisp white lines tie the two structures together. The arbor is planted with a pink climbing rose and under-planted with iris and bulbs. Annuals can be interplanted for year-round color.


Entrance: A common use of arbors is a gateway to a path. Here, they are planted alongside a network of gravel paths in a Gold Hill garden. This arbor, planted with clematis, is the perfect entrance to a straight length of path along a fence. It shields the destination from view, adding that element of curiosity, and maintains an element of privacy on either side of its location.


A shady spot: Larger than an arbor, a pergola is a free-standing structure that supports plant growth. In the hills west of Talent, a new pergola is the perfect place to plant climbing flowers and annual vegetables. In this location, trees would have blocked the view of the valley, so the pergola is the perfect compromise to bring shade to an otherwise open space in front of the home.


A destination: Perfectly integrated into the corner of this Ashland garden, this small metal pergola was easy to install. Of course, they had to construct the patio first! With the addition of all-weather cushions, this inviting corner would be an instant getaway that will only become cozier as the climbers planted at its corners and the surrounding trees mature.


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