Inula Royleana
Midwest Gardening
Landscape Structure Ideas

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Basic design principles can help you incorporate your structure into the landscape

Most landscape structures are used to perform specific functions.  Design your structure to specifically meet your personal needs and preference, then design the setting for your structure to be a part of your landscape.

Gazebo by Jonathan Brimley

Gazebos are often used to create a cozy secluded quite place.  Nestled into a wooded area this gazebo does exactly that.  Just a few shrubs left in their natural form unify the gazebo with the setting.  A few simple stepping stones leading to the entrance would help join it to the rest of the landscape and invite entrance.

Gazebo by Lisa Larson

A wide path and entrance opening invite all to enter.  This open structure with bench seating all around is ideal for entertaining in a cozy setting.  Colorful blooming shrubs encircle the rear, creating a transition between the gazebo and the wooded area, and provide a lively accent that draws attention to the structure.

Gazebo by Patti

In rare situations, very little incorporating to the landscape is necessary.  This gazebo is constructed from natural materials, the timbers repeating the trees and the floor repeating a rocky base.  The gazebo seems to float unanchored, creating a natural and desirable effect of a lookout landing to enjoy a view.  When done overlooking water, the floating effect can simulate being on the water.  Otherwise, just a few unpruned shrubs on the outer side would transition to the rest of the landscape.  A few stepping stones invite entrance from the yard area.

On a Hill overlooking the Pond by Hickory Rose

Perched on a hill overlooking a pond, this classic gazebo has a very open structure so as not to restrict the views.  Nestled in a wooded spot, cool colored blooming perennials add to the view.  The calming cool colors of the blooms contrast the foliage and the water without distracting.  What a lovely spot to relax!

Classic Pergola by Phil

This is a classic pergola - support posts with an open structured roof used to lightly shade a pathway.  The pathway joins the home with a patio area.  Simple greenery anchors the structure to the landscape.  Since the function and structure of a pergola is the primary focus, it is not unusual to see them unadorned.  Many of us prefer to see climbing vines scampering up the posts.

Pergola by Kara1

It has become common to see pergolas attached to the structure of homes, creating filtered shade and visual separation of functional areas.  Since they are typically built over concrete patios, it is sometimes more challenging to unify them with the landscape.  Here the entire “floor” area is of flagstone and rock, unifying the different functional areas.  The same color is repeated in the timbers, stucco, as well as the furniture, making the space seem larger than it is.  Accents are quiet and simple.  Clipped evergreen globes punctuate the stone wall and spiked blue perennials quietly add color and contrast.  Hanging plants are a good way to add vertical accent to attached pergolas, as well as overhead decks.

Pergola by Alison Young1

The use of single post or small scaled pergolas instead of arches has also become quite common.  They can offer a little different architecture to your design than the more graceful arches.  This pergola over a pathway is anchored with a large pot and bedding plants on one side, and unified with the landscape by shrubs that overlap and border the walkway and pergola.

Corner Pergola by Kurt1

And why not in an empty dull corner?!?  This is a perfect way to enhance a sitting area banished to the corner.  The blooming vines are stunning, making you forget about any other elements of the design.  But do note the painted fence at left!  Great way to disguise a boring fence, balance the heavy blooming over the pergola, and draw the eye to the next element of the landscape, which is a firepit area, out of view here.

Pergola by Lisa Sanderson1

A focal point such as this graceful pagoda needs no further adornment.  Hanging plants or vines would only detract from the architecture.  It is simply grounded to the landscaping with stone block pedestals, which flow right into the pathway border plantings.  The curves of the roof structure are repeated in the path and edging of the perimeter planting beds.

Garden Arch by Matt DeTurck

A garden arch should always lead somewhere with a path or stepping stones, or open into another area of the property.  This arch leads visitors into the interior of the perennial gardens.  The arched opening is punctuated with a large pot of bright blooms.

Entry Arch by Howard Dickens

A front entry arch is a perfect accent to the front landscape of a tudor or cottage style home.  This arch provides an inviting opening to dense privacy plantings.  A path or stepping stones should be added to direct visitors toward the entry sidewalk, which veers off to the drive.  Since the door is partially hidden by the tree, trim the lower branch up further and perhaps paint the door an accent color or at least add a pot of bright blooms to draw visitors too the door.  (And don’t leave plastic lawn chairs scattered in the front lawn.)

Landscape arch by Sean

This simple but stunning arch creates a focal point with vivid roses climbing up the sides.  The arch beckons visitors to the outer areas of the property, perhaps to stroll or initiate a lawn game.  However, the raised timber creates a visual barrier which “stops” traffic.  A small flagstone entrance platform or a few stepping stones installed to the level of the timbers would solve the problem.

Rose Arch by Jon Wiley

And of course there is the classic rose arch, engulfed with climbing roses.  You need a vigorous variety of rose to accomplish this.  The arch opens along a pathway to the garden that is otherwise hidden by the dense growth of shrubbery, which makes visitors anxious to see what lies beyond.

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