Outdoor Structures Definitions and Purposes

You are thinking of adding an outdoor structure, but you don’t know which type you want or you aren’t sure of what their purposes are. Here is a list with definitions of some terrific outdoor structures and garden features that might be perfect for your home.


It is easy to get Arbors confused with Pergolas and Trellis’, they are all closely related, but different regarding purpose and design. They are all beautiful design elements and usually made from wood, metal, PVC or stone.

Arbors are freestanding structures usually smaller than a trellis or pergola and are typically arched in the center but can be flat. These structures are used to define or shade a walkway or an entrance to an area. Arbors usually have latticework running the length to support climbing vines or plants and are only a few feet in width and the height of an arbor is around 7 ft. Arbors are terrific structures for garden entry ways and make great focal points/accents for those with a smaller size backyard spaces.


Outdoor Structures

Pergolas are found attached to a home, patio, deck or freestanding. They are primarily used for shade and to define an area. Think of it as an overhang but with supports. These outdoor structures can support much heavier plants and vines. Many folks drape fabric in between the open areas of the roof structure for shade. The great aesthetic part of the Pergola is that it becomes its own outdoor room for entertaining separating itself from the rest of the area.


Outdoor Structures

A Trellis is a flat section of lattice (sometimes referred to as panels) used for privacy or decoration for bland spaces. Trellis’ can be attached either to the house or can be free standing. Trellis’ usually house vines or decorative flowers and are many times confused with Arbors. A Trellis is like a living wall to display at your home.

Patio Cover

Outdoor Structures

Patio covers, or deck covers are typically attached but can be freestanding. Made of either wood, metal, stone, PVC or a combination of materials these structures have a roof and are open on the sides. The difference between a pergola and patio cover is the roof system. This roof system is typically meant to tolerate snow and does not have any openings unlike the Pergola. Patio covers increase your outdoor living square footage, create an extension of the home, provide sun control and water damage protection to your outdoor property/items.



A freestanding structure typically with eight sides and a pitched roof. They are usually made from wood, metal, stone or mixed materials and provide full shade with 360° uncompromised views. Many times, they are screened in for a bug free area. These spaces provide shelter from the elements and are great dining areas or shelters for spas/hot tubs.

Outdoor Structures Pavilion

Outdoor Structures

Pavilions are outbuildings somewhat like a gazebo but larger and a little grander. They have covered roofs with an open-air design. Typically, Pavilions are left unscreened. Pavilions are a terrific choice around a pool or for a large dedicated entertaining area.

When you are ready for your new outdoor structure call Cedarbrook to work with one of our design and sales team members for your new project 301-703-8728.