A Post on Cedar Posts and Other Structures


Remember this house from the movie Father of the Bride? The one with the roses growing up the front of the house on what appears to be an invisible trellis and the picket white fence intertwined with more vines. I’m not going to lie, that while most teenagers were watching the movie for the sweet love story, I was eyeing the landscape, the architecture of the house, the porte-cochere over the entrance to the backyard which also had tumbling vines draping down, even the interior design (an area I never try to venture into). Garden structures can be functional to help block sun, and views, but I love how they can soften a stark wall with green, and cut down the scale of tall elements and bring them down to a manageable size or bring dimension to a flat landscape. Check out the function and beauty of several garden structures.

Becca LaBarre

In this photo the structure is made from airplane wire and wing nuts screwed into the side of the garage. A little bit of clear caulk is used where the wing nuts screw in as an extra water tight precaution. The wall, which is nearly 2 stories high from top to bottom was a very large focal point that needed to be softened and trellis and Sweet Autumn Clematis allowed for a unique look, while the wire material also became less visible standing at a distance.

Bob Stell

This pergola actually become more like a roof when the peak is added. We often use rough sawn cedar for garden structures, as it has a more rustic look that goes a long with the imperfections of the outside. With the addition of fans and lighting, it really becomes an outdoor living room.


This is a brand of garden structures by a company called Yardistry. It is new to me and though it doesn’t really compare to the quality of a custom-made structure it provides some very important advantages. The 12’x12′ pergola can be assembled by two, relatively handy people, in just a few short hours. Since I haven’t tried this yet, I can’t vouch for that, but I do hope to try it out soon. Also, it is still made from quality smooth cedar wood and comes pre-stained. Since all of the pieces are attached via brackets, the whole structure can be removed and reassembled elsewhere should the owner not plan on staying in their home very long or need to do some remodeling. My one concern is that the posts are made to attach to the ground on a relatively small stake. The Chicago suburbs, void of mature trees, can be a pretty gusty place. I plan on pouring 42″ post holes full of concrete and attaching the four corners to those concrete piers with a bracket for extra support.


An eyebrow trellis’ like this one is a great way to break up a large flat space on a house. It could be over a doorway like this one, a window, or even over the top of a garage door.


A huge improvement over diamond lattice. A simple change to square lines isn’t even reminiscent of the cheaper pre-made lattices found at home improvement stores. The cheaper lattices are often cracked, broken, or detached from the structure holding them up. Dressed up using a substantial square frame and larger individual squares, lattice fencing can provide an enclosed feel without complete coverage.


I leave you with the fabulous English Walled Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden, full of beautiful structural elements. I could spend a large amount of time exploring all the nooks and crannies. Even while dodging a million wedding photographers, engaged couples and resisting the urge to give a bride and groom bunny ears, it is still one of my favorites, even if it is over run most Saturdays. Some day I will own a pergola like this one, and patiently wait seven or so years for my hardy wisteria vine to flower. Some day!


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