Top Wooden Structures for Lawns and Gardens

Products That Are Attractive, Useful in Landscaping

Image of vine-covered pergola.
This vine-covered, freestanding pergola is simple yet elegant. David Beaulieu

Wooden structures can be functional, making landscape maintenance easier or increasing living space. Everyone thinks immediately of decks, which you can even build, yourself, but some less obvious examples are offered below. The storage shed is the poster child for facilitating maintenance work, providing easy access to tools and lawn mowers.

But wooden structures can be decorative, as well as functional, especially in the case of gazebos and garden arbors.

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    Image: garden arbor.
    This garden arbor serves as a trellis for a clematis vine.

    Garden arbors are often used for trellising. For instance, there are the structures traditionally used to hold up grapevines.

    But vine-covered wooden structures can also be planted with ornamental vines (such as Dutchman's pipe) and serve as privacy screens. Another function of such a vine-covered arbor is to provide shade, including on decks and patios. For more information on ornamental vines you can grow, please see:

    1. 10 Best Vine Plants to Grow
    2. Top 10 Perennial Vines for Sun
    3. Perennial Vines...MORE for Shade: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    Arbors can also function simply as decorations. Sometimes they form gate entries.

    There is a related wooden structure termed a "pergola." You can think of the latter as a bigger, more elaborate version of an arbor. The concept behind the two, however is similar, and it may be difficult to draw the fine line between a large arbor and a small pergola. Both commonly support vine plants. Pergolas are, though, more likely to be built up against a house. In fact, a covered pergola jutting out from a house wall serves as an extension of the house, allowing you to enjoy an outdoor living space. You can take meals al fresco under such a structure, for example.

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    Image: brown gazebo.
    A brown gazebo works well in a wooded setting, conveying a feel of rusticity. David Beaulieu

    Would you enjoy your yard more if you had a covered wooden structure out there in which to take your meals or munch on a snack? Sort of an outdoor room? Enter the gazebo. Depending on the style you select, these wooden structures can also add to the beauty of your lawn and garden decor.

    Gazebos are similar to that classic structure that is so evocative of a bygone era, in which the pace of life was slower, and "stress" was something that tree branches felt -- after a heavy snowstorm,...MORE weighed down by the snow -- not people: namely, the bandstand. A gazebo is essentially just a smaller version of a bandstand. Another difference is that a gazebo is used for private, not public purposes. Bandstands usually occur in public parks; they are literally wooden structures where a band can stand (in order to play their music).

    But if you wish to call your gazebo a "bandstand," so as to evoke an image that will relax your mind and sweep away the stress of the modern world, your secret will be safe with us.

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    Image: gray shed with white trim.
    A shed looks much better with nice door trim and shutters. David Beaulieu

    Do you need more storage space, but you don't want a big wooden structure plunked down in the middle of the yard? Not to worry. This resource offers sheds for those with light to moderate storage needs. Some of these sheds add a touch of style to your landscaping, as well.

    When talking about storage units for the yard, the issue of materials often comes up. What's better, a wooden shed or a vinyl shed? This article on outdoor storage buildings discusses both. If you want low-maintenance,...MORE vinyl is probably your best bet, since you won't have to stain or paint it. There are numerous choices nowadays for vinyl (different colors, etc.).