Comparing Decking Arbors
Vycheslav Sokolov - architecture and landscape design

Vycheslav Sokolov ([email protected])

A native Atlantan with a rich background in architecture and landscape design, spearheads the blog section of our reputed decking and fences construction firm based in Atlanta, GA. Having fostered a deep connection with the vibrant and historic city of Atlanta, Jordan embarked on a mission to transform the outdoor living spaces of homes and businesses alike, channeling the city's warm, welcoming southern charm into each project.

Reading time: 14 min.
What are Decking Arbors?
Types of Decking Arbors
Wooden Arbors
Composite Arbors
Metal Arbors
Vinyl Arbors
Design and Aesthetic Preferences


Outdoor living has dramatically transformed over the years, especially in bustling cities like Atlanta, GA. As homeowners seek to enhance the beauty and functionality of their outdoor spaces, the spotlight often lands on one elegant feature: decking arbors.

Decking arbors have steadily risen in popularity, becoming an integral part of modern landscaping in Atlanta. These structures not only offer shade and shelter but also act as a focal point, adding a layer of sophistication to gardens, patios, and decks. But with this surge in demand comes a plethora of design and material choices.

The importance of selecting the right type of decking arbor cannot be overstated. It's not just about aesthetics—though that's undeniably crucial. It's also about functionality, longevity, and how well the arbor integrates with the surrounding environment and existing structures. As the saying goes, form follows function. And in the world of decking arbors, this rings especially true. The subsequent sections will delve deeper into the various types of decking arbors, helping you determine the perfect fit for your Atlanta residence.

What are Decking Arbors?

Decking arbors are beautiful architectural structures, often made of wood or metal, that provide a shaded walkway, passageway, or sitting area in gardens or over decks and patios. They are comprised of vertical posts or pillars that support cross-beams and a sturdy open lattice. The open design often invites the growth of climbing plants, vines, or flowers, creating a delightful blend of nature and craftsmanship.

The primary purpose of a decking arbor is to enhance outdoor spaces, turning them into tranquil retreats or lively entertainment zones. But they do more than just serve as ornamental features. These structures provide a functional shade, especially during hot Atlanta summers, allowing homeowners and their guests to enjoy the outdoors without direct exposure to the sun.

Value and Character Enhancement

Decking arbors inherently elevate the aesthetic appeal of a property. Their intricate designs and the ability to incorporate nature make them focal points, drawing the eye and capturing attention. But it's not just about beauty. A well-designed and strategically placed arbor can effectively define outdoor spaces, create intimacy, and provide transitional zones in large gardens or yards.

Moreover, when adorned with flowering vines or lights, they can transform the night-time ambiance of a property, making it warm, inviting, and magical.

From a financial standpoint, decking arbors can boost property value. Potential buyers often view them as luxurious additions, indicative of a well-maintained and thoughtfully designed outdoor space.

Types of Decking Arbors

As with most architectural structures, decking arbors come in a variety of designs, materials, and sizes. From simple wooden designs perfect for cottage-style homes, to grand metal structures suited for contemporary residences, the options are vast. Some of the popular types include:

  • Wooden Arbors: Made from materials like cedar, redwood, or pine, they exude a natural charm and can be stained or painted for additional protection and aesthetic appeal.
  • Metal Arbors: Often crafted from wrought iron or steel, these offer a more modern look and are incredibly durable.
  • Pergola-Style Arbors: Larger than typical arbors, these are ideal for covering expansive decks or creating a sizable shaded area in gardens.
  • Archway Arbors: Recognizable by their curved top, they make for perfect entrances or transitions between different garden sections.

Choosing the right type depends on your home's design, the purpose of the arbor, and personal preferences. As we delve deeper, we'll explore the nuances of each type and provide insights to help you make an informed decision.

Type of Arbor Aesthetic Appeal Maintenance Level Durability Shading Supporting Climbing Plants
Pergola-Style Decking Arbors High; can be painted/stained to match deck Varies by material; wood requires more maintenance than vinyl or metal High; depends on material and finish Provides partial shade; amount depends on spacing of overhead beams Suitable for supporting climbing plants
Arch Decking Arbors High; the curved structure can add a dramatic touch Varies by material; wood requires more maintenance than vinyl or metal High; depends on material and finish Provides minimal shade, mostly used as a decorative feature Suitable for supporting climbing plants
Lattice Decking Arbors Moderate; the lattice work adds a traditional touch Varies by material; wood requires more maintenance than vinyl or metal High; depends on material and finish Provides partial shade; more if covered with climbing plants Specifically designed for supporting climbing plants
Canopy Decking Arbors High; the fabric canopy can add a soft, romantic touch Low; canopy may need to be replaced every few years depending on weather conditions Moderate; structure is typically durable but canopy can fade or tear over time Provides full shade; can be adjusted if canopy is retractable Not suitable for supporting climbing plants
Gazebo-Style Decking Arbors High; usually a larger, more elaborate structure Varies by material; wood requires more maintenance than vinyl or metal High; depends on material and finish Provides full shade due to enclosed design Not typically used for supporting climbing plants
Metal Decking Arbors High; often features intricate designs Low; typically just needs to be kept clean High; metal is very durable and resistant to decay Depends on design; some offer more shade than others Suitable for supporting climbing plants

Wooden Arbors

Characteristics and Aesthetics: Wooden arbors are best known for their classic and timeless appeal. The natural grain patterns and warm tones of wood make them a favorite for traditional and rustic settings. Over time, certain woods develop a patina, which can add to their character. Popular woods for arbors include cedar, redwood, and pine, each offering a unique look and feel.

Maintenance Requirements: While wood is inherently strong and can last for years, it does require regular maintenance to keep it looking its best and to protect it from the elements. This might include periodic staining or sealing to prevent moisture damage, rot, and insect infestation. In areas with harsher weather, more frequent maintenance might be necessary.

Suitability and Use Cases: Wooden arbors are versatile and fit well in a variety of settings, from garden pathways to deck entrances. They are particularly suitable for homes with a natural or rustic design. Given their organic feel, they are also ideal for settings where one intends to grow climbing plants or vines. The wood serves as a great support and merges seamlessly with the greenery.

Composite Arbors

Characteristics and Aesthetics: Composite arbors are made from a blend of wood fibers and plastic. They combine the aesthetics of wood with the durability of plastic. These arbors often mimic the look of real wood but are available in a range of colors and styles. The material is resistant to rotting, splintering, and warping, making it a more durable choice.

Maintenance Requirements: One of the main advantages of composite arbors is their low maintenance. They do not require staining, sealing, or painting. An occasional wash with soap and water is typically enough to keep them looking fresh. They also resist common issues like insect infestation.

Suitability and Use Cases: Composite arbors are perfect for homeowners looking for a mix of beauty and functionality. They work well in modern settings but can also be integrated into more traditional landscapes. Given their durability, they're particularly suited for regions with volatile weather or those who prefer a set-it-and-forget-it approach to outdoor structures.

Benefits over Traditional Wood: Composite materials are engineered to overcome many of the drawbacks associated with natural wood. Unlike wood, composite does not rot, warp, or splinter, and it's highly resistant to insect damage. Its consistent and uniform texture means no knots or irregularities. Additionally, it's environmentally friendly, often made from recycled materials, reducing the need for tree logging.

Metal Arbors

Benefits over Traditional Wood: Metal arbors, often made of wrought iron, steel, or aluminum, are incredibly sturdy and can bear more weight than wooden or composite ones. This strength makes them ideal for supporting heavier plants or decorations. They're also impervious to pests like termites.

Aesthetics and Design Possibilities: Metal offers a sleek, modern, and elegant look, which can be a focal point in any garden or entryway. With the flexibility of metalwork, these arbors can be fashioned into intricate patterns, ornate designs, or minimalist structures, fitting both contemporary and classic aesthetics.

Lifespan and Maintenance: Metal arbors, especially those made of rust-resistant materials or finishes, can last for decades with minimal upkeep. While they might need occasional repainting or sealing to prevent rust, especially in humid or rainy climates, their inherent strength ensures they remain standing for years to come.

Vinyl Arbors

Benefits Over Traditional Materials: Vinyl is a strong, flexible, and weather-resistant material. Unlike wood, it won't rot, warp, or decay, and it stands strong against pests. It retains its color well, ensuring it won't fade even under direct sunlight.

Aesthetics and Design Possibilities: Vinyl arbors offer a clean and polished look. They often mimic the appearance of painted wood, but without the associated maintenance. With advancements in manufacturing, vinyl arbors now come in various styles and designs, from classic to contemporary.

Lifespan and Maintenance: One of the major advantages of vinyl arbors is their low maintenance requirement. They don't need staining, painting, or sealing. Occasional cleaning with water and mild soap will keep them looking new. Moreover, vinyl arbors have a long lifespan, often outlasting wood or metal counterparts.

Suitable Settings for Vinyl Arbors: Vinyl arbors are versatile in their placement. Their classic appearance suits traditional gardens, while their clean lines can also complement more modern landscapes. They are particularly well-suited for areas prone to moisture or pests, where wood might deteriorate.

Climate Suitability (specifically considering Atlanta's weather conditions)

Hot and Humid Summers: Atlanta is known for its hot and humid summers. While wood can sometimes warp or rot in such conditions, vinyl and metal arbors resist such deformities. Composite arbors, which combine wood fibers with plastic, also offer durability against humidity, making them a suitable choice.

Mild Winters: With mild winters, most arbor materials will fare well in Atlanta. However, it's essential to ensure that the chosen material can handle occasional cold snaps and potential frost.

Frequent Rainfall: Atlanta experiences frequent rainfall, which can be detrimental to certain materials. Metal arbors should be rust-resistant, and wooden ones should be treated or sealed to prevent water damage.

Maintenance Requirements

Type Maintenance Budget Constraints
Wooden Arbors Require regular sealing, staining, or painting to protect against the elements and prevent decay. Initial costs can be moderate, but maintenance over the years can add up.
Metal Arbors Need occasional cleaning and rust prevention treatments, especially if not made from rust-resistant metals like stainless steel or aluminum. Often come with a higher initial cost, but have fewer maintenance expenses over time.
Vinyl & Composite Arbors Require minimal maintenance, with just occasional cleaning to remove dirt or debris. Mid-range in initial cost and have minimal maintenance expenses.

Design and Aesthetic Preferences

Functionality and Purpose: Before choosing an arbor, homeowners should consider its primary function. Is it merely for aesthetics? Or does it serve a purpose, like supporting climbing plants or providing shade? The material and design should align with its intended use.

Benefits of Integrating Arbors with Decking and Fences: Integrating arbors with decking and fences can create a harmonious outdoor space. An arbor can act as a transition between different outdoor areas, provide shade over a deck, or add height to a fence, creating a more dynamic and layered landscape. Using complementary materials and designs ensures a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing look. This synergy not only elevates the property's appearance but can also increase its value.

Enhancing Overall Landscape Design

Harmonious Integration: A well-placed and designed arbor can seamlessly integrate with the existing landscape, acting as a unifying element that brings together different aspects of an outdoor space.

Aesthetic Appeal: Decking arbors can be both functional and decorative, with intricate designs or simple structures that amplify the beauty of a garden or backyard.

Creating Shaded Areas and Focal Points

Shade and Comfort: Especially in the heat of Atlanta summers, an arbor can provide much-needed shade, making outdoor spaces more comfortable and usable throughout the day.

Designated Spaces: By creating shaded areas, arbors can delineate spaces in the garden for specific activities, be it a cozy reading nook or a designated dining area.

Increasing Property Value and Curb Appeal

Investment Returns: A well-constructed and aesthetically pleasing arbor can increase the overall value of a property, offering potential returns on investment when selling.

First Impressions: For visitors or potential buyers, a decking arbor can elevate the first impression, showcasing attention to detail and care for the property.


Choosing the right decking arbor is about more than just picking a design or material. It's about enhancing your outdoor space, creating comfort, and adding value to your home. Whether you're looking for aesthetics, functionality, or a combination of both, the right arbor can transform your landscape into a harmonious sanctuary.

Ready to elevate your outdoor space? Let our experienced team guide you in selecting and installing the perfect decking arbor tailored to your home's style and needs. Contact us today and embark on the journey to a more beautiful and functional outdoor oasis.