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Arbor Installation Cost

Arbor Installation Cost

National average
$2,000
(wooden arbor, custom-built with a classic arch, installed)
Low: $500

(wooden arbor kit, professionally installed)

High: $5,000

(wooden arbor, custom-built with a gable, exotic wood, and decoration)

Cost to install an arbor varies greatly by region (and even by zip code).
Get free estimates from landscapers in your city.

The average cost of building an arbor is $2,000.

In this guide

Material
Height
Designs
Freestanding vs Attached
Installation
Labor costs
Arbor vs pergola vs gazebo
Enhancement and improvement costs
Additional considerations and costs
FAQ

How much does it cost to install an arbor?

Arbors 1 are archways designed to be both an entrance and a structure for vines, flowers, and other plants to grow on. They can be placed at the entrance to a fence or hedge, contain a gate, or even be a standalone structure with a bench attached. 

While it is possible to purchase readymade arbor kits, many homeowners choose to have arbors custom made to perfectly fit their style and landscaping. The average wood arbor, measuring roughly 3 x 8 feet with a classic arch shape, costs around $2,000 installed.

Material

Arbors 1 can be built out of nearly any material. Readymade kits can be found in several materials, while some contractors may work with one or two. Each material has pros and cons to consider when purchasing:

MaterialProsCons

Vinyl 2 (Plastic) 

($100 - $1,000)

Does not need painting

Will not decay

Available in kits

Inexpensive

Low maintenance

Limited styles

Limited colors

Cannot be customized

Less eco-friendly

May not hold up well in some climates

Composite 

($300 - $1,000)

Less likely to rot

Does not need painting

Available in kits

Low maintenance

Limited styles

Limited colors

Difficult to customize

Wood 

($500 - $3,000)

Endlessly customizable

Can be painted or stained

Available in kits

High maintenance

Expensive, particularly if custom

May rot over time

Metal

($500 - $3,000)

Durable

Can be painted

Several unique styles

Available in kits

Some types are low maintenance

Some metals may rust

Expensive

Limited in options


Height

Arbors are designed to be walked through, so they need to be tall enough to fit visitors comfortably. The smallest arbor kits are around 6 feet in height, but most are between 8 and 10 feet.

If you have a custom arbor built, you can choose any height you want. Some of this height may be part of the design. Gabled, arched, and half-moon styles may be taller than grape arbors.

Designs

Arbors can be endlessly customized to take on a variety of different styles and shapes. They can be incorporated into a fence or hedge, contain a gate, or be a standalone shelter that includes a bench.

Arbors are available in several classic designs, whether purchasing a kit or having one built. Each one works better with some plants and styles than others:

  • Classic Arch - The classic arch has straight walls and a rounded, arched top. May be made of any material, in several widths, and be decorative or plain.
  • Moon Gate - The moon gate is a very wide arbor that looks like a half or three-quarter moon. The sides and all are curved. This type of arbor is usually made of metal.
  • Grape Arbor - The grape arbor more closely resembles a small pergola 1. It has a flat top, which is best suited to holding heavy vines with fruit, such as grapes.
  • Gabled Arbor - A gabled arbor has straight sides, but instead of an arch at the top, it has a pitched roof that extends past the sides into gables. This is a more decorative style than the classic arch.
  • Benched Arbor - A benched arbor does not work like a passthrough, so it will usually have a three sides and a top. The bench will be installed along the back. This type of arbor provides more space for your plants to grow.

Freestanding vs Attached

Unlike a trellis 3, which is designed to lean on or install against a building, the arbor can stand on its own. However, you do not always have to construct it as a freestanding structure. It can be built into your fence or may start at the side of your home or a hedge. Because they take the same amount of material and have similar installations, both styles have comparable costs.

Regardless of where your arbor is installed, it will have two walls, which support the overhead section. The walls may be straight or curved, but they will be structurally sound and capable of bearing weight on their own in order to support the top.

Installation

The installation process for your arbor varies depending on several things, including whether this is a custom arbor or one from a kit, the type of material it is made from, and the area where you are having it installed. 

In most cases, the area is cleared of any rocks, stumps, or other obstacles. The arbor itself is constructed, either through a kit or through a custom build. Holes are dug in the ground, and the posts of the arbor are set with concrete. 

Once the concrete is cured, you can plant your vegetation and start training the plants to climb the arbor.

Labor costs

Labor costs also vary tremendously depending on the material and whether the build is custom or a kit they are putting together. The average kit may cost between $100 and $300 to install for you, or a custom build may be around $1,000 to $3,000 in labor in addition to the materials.

For a basic wooden arbor with a classic arch, the labor cost is around $800, making the total project around $2,000.

Arbor vs pergola vs gazebo

Arbors, pergolas, and gazebos are all common structures in a garden. Each one typically serves a different purpose, however, with varying styles and associated costs.

An arbor is typically something you walk through and where you train plants to grow over. You will also train plants to grow over a pergola, but in this case, the structure is meant to provide shade. 

A gazebo is a standalone structure that has an actual roof and may or may not have walls. It will usually also have a floor, while pergolas and arbors do not. All three structures could be made from a wide range of materials including wood, metal, and vinyl, and each can be custom-built or come from a kit.

In terms of price, the gazebo is the most expensive, costing around $7,500 to $10,000. Pergolas cost about $3,100, while an arbor costs approximately $2,000. This assumes that all structures are being built to custom specifications and not being put together from a kit.

Enhancement and improvement costs

Plants

Arbors are designed to have plants grown over them. The type of plant you choose is directly influenced by the size, shape, and material of your arbor. For example, a grape arbor can handle hefty and aggressive plants, such as grapes ($30), passionflower ($10), or trumpet vines ($10). Metal arbors can also handle more aggressive plants, like wisteria ($10). Always ensure that your arbor is suited to the plants you place there. Common plants include roses ($20), honeysuckle ($10), jasmine ($20), and grapevines ($30).

Additional considerations and costs

  • If you plan on painting your arbor, you may choose to use a less expensive wood. If you want to stain the wood, you may decide to purchase a wood with a clear grain like cedar. Keep in mind that if you have a PVC arbor, it does not require painting, while metal arbors may be powder coated.
  • Metal and vinyl arbors may be a better choice in high winds, particularly if you can sink them deep into concrete for the footings.
  • Both arbors and trellises give you the ability to plant in small spaces by having the plants grow upward.
  • Arbors used as entryways provide some privacy and a glimpse of the garden beyond, while also framing the entrance.

FAQ

  • How much does it cost to build an arbor?

A custom wood arbor costs around $2,000 to build and install on average.

  • What is an arbor for?

Arbors are designed to grow vertical and climbing plants. They are typically used as an entrance or gate that you walk through.

  • What is the difference between an arbor and a trellis?

An arbor is a freestanding structure, while a trellis is installed against another structure like a house. ​

  • What can I plant on an arbor?

This varies depending on the shape, style, and material of the arbor. Typically, climbing plants that are not too heavy or aggressive can be planted on any arbor.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
glossary term picture Pergola 1 Arbors: (Also known as Pergola) An arched structure with an open roof and cross rafters, supported by posts or columns, typically installed in a garden, park, or backyard and usually covered with climbing plants or vines.
glossary term picture Vinyl 2 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
glossary term picture Trellis 3 Trellis: A decorative architectural structure, often used to support climbing plants, comprised of intersecting pieces of wood, bamboo, vinyl, metal, or other such material

Cost to install an arbor varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Outdoor wood arbor with flowers

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Albuquerque, NM
-14%
Athens, GA
-9%
Aurora, CO
+10%
Austin, TX
+13%
Avon Lake, OH
-21%
Bakersfield, CA
-6%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chula Vista, CA
+8%
Cincinnati, OH
+6%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Cleveland, TN
-20%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Dahlonega, GA
-31%
Dallas, TX
+10%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Grand Prairie, TX
+6%
Honolulu, HI
+35%
Houston, TX
+24%
Lincoln, NE
-13%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Louisville, KY
-7%
Memphis, TN
+11%
Mesa, AZ
-2%
Miami, FL
+1%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Modesto, CA
-12%
New Orleans, LA
+35%
New York, NY
+77%
Oakland, CA
+36%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Portland, OR
+11%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Santa Clarita, CA
+24%
Smyrna, GA
+10%
Stockton, CA
+4%
Tucson, AZ
-19%
Washington, DC
+23%
Labor cost in your zip code
Last modified:   
Methodology and sources