Treillage – A highly stylized, ornamental-on-its-own design usually made of one-inch round wood or metal pipe, attached in a formal design against a wall. (This is also a specific term for the wires to which tree branches are tied, in espalier.) When small-leaved vines, like ivy, are meticulously trained and pruned in geometric diamonds, squares, fans, or other patterns, this is treillage.
Arch – Literally, “an ornamental opening through a barrier” like a fence, wall, or hedge; sometimes, an ornamental enclosure or shade for a garden seat. In any case, an arch has a definite decorative purpose. It is never placed where it will stand alone, but is connected to something like a wall, or at least flanked by plantings so it is not solitary in the landscape. If possible, an arch leads from one place to another. For covering an arch, select a vine that is not rampant or can be kept within bounds without constant training and pruning.
Arbor – a series of matching arches lining a long path or walk, preferably with a vista at the end. Sometimes arbors are erected for architectural reasons, and the vine covering is kept light. Otherwise, they may be designed to display a series of related or harmonious vines. An arbor is not completely closed in on top. Its arches are spaced sufficiently far apart to admit air and light, close enough together that the vines are sufficiently supported. It may or may not be topped with a continuous lattice or similar open construction.
Pergola – Nowadays, any decorative garden structure with an open roof. Since the structure is itself architecturally important, vines are not allowed to cover it completely. The terms arch, arbor, and pergola are often used loosely and interchangeably.
Shade, Screen – Structures like heavy, large-scale overhead or vertical trellises called “egg-crate” construction, designed by modern architects for sheltering and defining patios, terraces, and other outdoor living areas. They are an integral part of the contemporary house and may or may not be planted lightly with vines. Both architects and landscape architects design upright shades and screens in which the structural lines and designs are of primary interest, to define and set off specific areas; these may be attached to the house, or may stand alone.
Fence – Boundary or barrier of many types: lattice, picket, wire, board, chain, ironwork, post and rail, basket weave, and endless variations. Twining vines need trellises of some sort, to help them climb smooth fences.
Wall – Boundary or barrier, or sometimes side of a building. If the surface is rough – brick, rock, masonry – clinging vines will usually adhere on their own. For twiners, and vines or shrubs with long, lax stems, get the special nails, hooks, or other supports that hold stems firmly. Sometimes galvanized nails, hooks, or screw eyes are forced into crevices, and the vine is tied to them with string or cord. Wire is more permanent, of course, and copper soon weathers to an inconspicuous dull color; but in warm climates, the sun can heat metal to the burning point. To know more about the weather you can have your own home weather station.
Pillar, Post – An upright on which to train a specimen vine, for accent in the garden bed or grounds. It can be a tree trunk of suitable proportion, with some stubby branches left on for the vine to catch onto, or a cedar post with dowels inserted at intervals. The usual connotation is with pillar roses and clematis.
Tripod – Support for a specimen vine or vining plant that provides a broader, more rounded shape than pillars or posts. Three heavy stakes or light posts are sunk at equal distances, forming a triangle, and tied together tepee-fashion at the top. The vine is planted in the center and trained around the stakes – a striking accent for the flower border or other limited areas.
With proper care, of course, almost any garden vine can be trained to cover almost any kind of structure to create a shade or screen.
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