To be honest, we haven’t seen a garden arbor bench in anyone’s backyard in the US … yet. It must be a European design idea because every time we're doing research, mainly the UK sources come up, and they call it arbour, of course. We’ve seen arbor gates, yes, but not a bench or a seat. In any case, it’s becoming very popular in America and we can see why. It must be a part of the same trend that brought us the She sheds. Both serve the same purpose pretty much – to have a little hideaway in a garden.
What is an Arbor Bench?
Definition: An arbor bench is a garden seat positioned inside of an arbor wooden framework. It serves as a shady garden alcove, with sides and a roof formed by wood planks or by climbing plants trained over a wooden framework (or trellis)
Most of the designs covered in this guide are DIY kits that you can obtain and assemble yourself, and only some are custom made. You can either purchase a kit or get many different ideas on building one from the ground up. Building an arbor bench is not much more complicated than building a standalone bench. The arbor is the main structure, and the bench is attached to it with screws.
Adding an arbor seat to your backyard is a relatively simple construction project and normally should not require a permit. But you better check with your local building and zoning office as some states require permits for any types of new structures over 30" high.
You can have them with pergola roofs, gable roofs, trellis or lattice details and storage, depending on your preference. If you want train vines then you need lattice panels that may add to the cost, otherwise you don't really need them.
A solid roof can be a great advantage as it allows you to enjoy outdoors even under the rain and hot sun. Solid walls make it more difficult to train a vine but provide seclusion. Walls made up of trellises or lattices let you feel closer to nature but offer less privacy.
We would prefer our arbor to be a roof covered garden seat with enclosed sides, to make it feel like a real garden alcove, a shady hideaway … but you may like more a pergola style design, to enjoy the skies and to smell the climbing flowers.
While we believe that the enclosed and roofed arbor seats are simply more practical, you may prefer the pergola arbor benches for their aesthetics. They look awesome especially when covered with flowering vines for trellis (as you can see on the inspirational photos below).
You may want to have a built-in storage box under the bench, to hide cushions when not in use or to store garden tools.
Western Red cedar and pressure-treated Pine are the two most common wood types used to built arbor benches. But we've also found some built from Teak, Redwood (in CA) and Northern European Redwood (Spruce).
You would want to attach your structure to the ground either by the means of simple L-brackets or Super Spikes, depending on what surface it’ll be located on. Though some people choose not to attach it at all.
Also, for the most useful positioning of the arbor, take in consideration the trajectory of the sun over your garden. Either you want shadow all day or only half day.
In our effort to make sense of arbor bench design varieties, we’ve split them by construction style. Check out all possible design ideas below.
Garden Arbor Bench Inspiration
Imagine having your morning coffee or an afternoon tea or wine in the comfort of your own backyard arbor bench, your favorite vine overhead. Or reading in the shade but still in the fresh air.
We’ve got inspired by these 6 arbor bench design ideas (above).
- 1. Romantic covered garden bench with lattice sides, surrounded by pink climbing roses.
- 2. Arbor bench is a perfect outdoor reading spot.
- 3. Pergola arbor with two benches and roses.
- 4. A personal garden escape.
- 5. Indulge a cup of coffee … and then dwell a little.
- 6. Perfect for doing some reading on the open air.
Now let’s see what's available on the market today that you can either buy and build from a DIY kit or homemade it, to match these inspiring ideas.
Gable Roof Arbor Bench Ideas
Gable roofs are some of the most common in garden arbors. They can be built as straight or curved, solid or covered with lattice work. It's a reflection of a classic arbor design coming from the English era when gardens were the most important parts of estates. These are best for creating a shady garden seat.
Designs with Octagon Windows
The Bramble Painted Arbor Bench from Rowlinson (above) is an easy two-person assembly DIY Kit that will require a second person mainly to put the roof on. You get the touch up paint with it.
It has a distinctive design thanks to its octagon windows that are built into the lattice work and the contrasting seat painted in white. The idea here is to be able to put your feet into the bolt-shaped hole for a completely relaxed position. The gabled roof is slightly arched, giving this design a more modern look.
This bench arbor kit is supplied flat-packed for home assembly and, judging by reviews, takes from 90 to 120 minutes to assemble. This design is also complimented as a strong and well made structure.
Designs with Rectangular Windows
We really like the Shire Mimosa Arbor Bench (above), an unpretentious but charming design suitable for any garden, traditional or modern. Its pressure treated timber construction features the built in bench and windows with trellises – perfect to grow some climbing plants. Also notice, the back wall is solid.
Shown above is the Shire Arum Bench Arbor. In contrast, this attractive design features lots of details, such as two side windows, slightly curved roof fascia boards, a lattice detailing and a diamond cut out on the back panel. So, this bench enables more light in. This kit comes with full instructions and is easy to assemble.
Cottage Style Idea
A very elegant arbor bench design, the Cottage Arbor in Mushroom & Cream color (see above) can be your perfect garden spot to read a book or relax with a glass of wine. It conveniently comes with an armrest complete with a drink holder, and a comfortable bench seat under the gable roof. It's made in Redwood and painted. You order it as a flat packed DIY kit for an easy assembly.
Design with Open Sides
A very different arbor bench design, Tavistock could be an interesting idea for your garden addition. Under a beautifully constructed gable roof, you could be watching the world go by in style.
Lattice Arbor with Bench Designs
If you desire to train or arrange climbing vines so that they grow against a trellis or a lattice, then these garden arbor bench design ideas are for you. They have side and back walls designed as lattice work.
3-side Diagonal Lattice Design
You can build an arbor bench with a solid roof and diagonal lattice trellis panels on three sides. The Zest 4 Leisure Rutland Bench Arbor (shown above) is a great example of a DIY kit that has all these features. It comes in unfinished natural timber so you can stain it or paint it to match your garden design.
Partial Lattice Design with Storage Box
Here's a very large garden arbor bench (shown above). It has partial lattice mesh on three sides and a very wide bench with a storage box underneath. What a cool idea for a comfortable garden retreat. Source.
3-side Square Lattice Design
Or you can have sides and back designed as square lattice panels, just like in this 2 seater wooden garden bench above, The roof is also solid but the look is totally different. It's a perfect arbor idea for climbing plants. Buy a similar one here.
To get an idea on what it would take to assemble one from a DIY kit, check out these step-by-step building instructions.
Luxury Teak Design with Unusual Lattice Work
Above is a luxury arbor bench built from Teak. It's a very sophisticated design, with many interesting decorative details in addition to the intricate lattice work. This arbor can be made a focal point of your garden or patio. Imagine it covered with roses, clematis or honey suckle. Find it here.
Deep Design with Diagonal Lattice Sides
This deep arbor bench design (shown above) is built in Victorian style, with diagonal lattice side panels and a beautiful solid roof. What a charming idea for a garden centerpiece.
Covered Garden Seat Designs in Western Red Cedar
A very elegant arbor bench (above), handmade to customer's specifications in Western Red Cedar. Red Cedar is a very interesting choice of wood for this Victorian style covered garden seat. Its distinct naturally qualities are amber reddish wood tones and aromatic fragrance. What an ideal idea for a garden escape.
And you can have it built in larger size and with a storage box (photo below), by Victorian Garden Buildings.
Enclosed Garden Arbor Seat Ideas
Many homeowners dream of building a comfortable shady garden seat as a DIY project, and assembling an enclosed arbor seat from a DIY kit could be the perfect solution. You can enjoy some fresh air even in the rain. Let's see some design ideas and examples.
Enclosed Seat Design with Gabled Roof
This wooden garden arbor seat (above) is completely enclosed for privacy and protection from the elements. It comes as a DIY kit, comprised of a solid back wall, a wood clad roof, 2 sides and a bench. Should be an easy 2 person assembly, following instructions. You paint it or stain it yourself. Find it here.
Enclosed Seat Design with High Pitched Roof
With a high pitched roof, this rustic looking arbor seat (above) has a different appearance. Assemble it from a DIY kit that also includes a storage box under the bench - perfect for storing cushions or garden tools. Find it here.
Here's an additional idea. If you're building an arbor seat yourself from scratch, you could make it extra wide as shown on the photo below, for maximum seating comfort or for two people.
Enclosed Seat Design with Cathedral Roof
And here's a very different design idea for an enclosed garden arbor seat - the cathedral roof. Source.
This very cool design comes with storage space underneath the hinged seat and a metal tin roof. It's an easy to assemble by two people DIY kit. It can be painted or stained as desired.
Pergola Arbor Benches
Pergola arbor with bench is one of the most popular garden arbor seat designs as of now. There are several interesting ideas to showcase here that can be great backyard DIY projects. You can build one from scratch yourself or assemble one from a DIY Kit available to purchase online.
Outdoor Pergola Arbor Bench with Lattice Sides
Above is a very popular pergola arbor bench design from Lady Goats. It has everything you desire - a pergola top, a nice bench and two lattice panels. To build it, you can use the free building plan developed by Ana White. Scroll to the very bottom at the aforementioned link, to see the entire plan.
Arbor Bench with Curved Pergola Top and Diagonal Trellis Panels
This simple pergola bench is sold as a DIY kit. It comes with beautiful trellis detail on all 3 sides. And the slightly curved pergola top completes the fabulous design that is perfect to train plants to climb up and around this awesome garden arbor. It's made from Northern European Redwood (Spruce).
Picnic Pergola Arbor with Two Benches
What an awesome idea for a garden or patio arbor! A two-bench arbor with pergola style top and a built-in picnic table. Made from treated pine in the USA, it ships partially assembled and takes about: 2 hours to put together. Wouldn't you love to enjoy it in your backyard?!
Trellis Arbor Bench with Planters and Pergola Top
Here's another great design idea for a pergola arbor. Have two planters on the sides, a nice wide bench in the middle and a curved pergola style top. A perfect trellised garden structure for climbing plants. It's assembled from a DIY kit.
Simple Rectangular Pergola Arbor Seat Design
Above is a more straight forward arbor seat design with a horizontal pergola style roof. Square lattice side panels and cute diagonal trellis details on the corners. Plus an open back side. A nice place to relax! This is also a DIY arbor kit.
Custom Garden Bench Idea with Pergola Top
Shown above is a more elaborate, custom arbor bench design. It has many decorative woodwork details, a very large comfortable seat, square trellises on three sides and a beautiful pergola style roof, And it's very deep.
Pergola Arbors with Three Benches
Finally, here are a couple of ideas for very large size pergola arbors with three benches - one enclosed with trellises, another with open sides. Not only these designs would be great additions to any garden or patio but could be used for weddings too.
Custom built by gmcorenovates.com
Note that this arbor even has its own patio style flooring laid in stones.
Corner Pergola Arbor Bench Ideas
Corner designs can be space savers and they are cool looking too.
Small Corner Design with Trellises
This corner pergola arbor bench (above) is a great choice for a small garden. It's made with pressure treated Northern European Redwood and can be built from a DIY kit. Imagine how gorgeous this little corner sanctuary will look like when the trellis panels are all covered in climbing vines.
Pergola Arbor Idea with Two Benches and a Table
If you're into DIY, then here's a cool design idea for a corner garden arbor to build. Under the slatted pergola roof, the two shortened benches leave room for a small corner table. The entire wood structure is adorned with trellis side panels. You could try to build one yourself or purchase a DIY kit and assemble it using step by step instructions attached.
Corner Garden 4-Seater Arbor with Pergola Roof
This could be the awesomest idea for a corner pergola arbor with bench that we've seen. It's large enough for a whole family to enjoy as it seats up to 4 people. It requires a simple assembly from a flat-packed DIY kit. Think how much you could be enjoying planting your climbers and shrubs around it.
Eastern or Period Inspired Arbor Bench Designs
Rowlinson Jaipur Arbor - Raj Inspired
If you're into Eastern architecture then this Raj era's Indian garden inspired Jaipur Garden Arbor is the design you may want to consider for your own garden or patio. It featuring fine lattice work all around and a pointy roof. This DIY kit comes unpainted and is an easy two-person assembly in accordance with the instructions supplied.
High-end Luxury Garden Arbor with Seat Cushion - Elizabethan Era Inspired
Want to feel like a royal in your own garden? Then this arbor bench design named after the Queen owned palace could be an interesting idea for you, It's a luxury craftsmanship, and it comes with seat cushion. Hand crafted in the UK and finished with a Teak stain, the Sandringham Arbor is sold as a partially assembled DIY kit. The roof and sides come already assembled - you just need to attach them together.
Windsor Garden Arbour with Pitched Lead Roof - Victorian Era Inspired
This next arbor bench design is a classical English garden seating idea - the Windsor Arbor with Lead Roof. It's shipped fully assembled as it's an expensive luxury item that incorporates traditional mortise and tenon woodworking joints and is built to last. The two sides are partially trellised for climbing plants. The lead roof will change to a blue-grey color with time.
Arched Roof Arbor Benches
The arched roof arbors deserve their own category as the look and construction both are quite different from other outdoor bench designs. The building of the ark requires special tools and woodworking techniques that are not easy for a beginner DIY-er, so the next few ideas are better suitable for more experienced folks.
Classically Victorian Garden Arbor Bench
Rowlinson Victoria Arbor DIY Kit with diagonal lattice design.
Classic Style Arbor with a Bench Seat
Semi-circle arched roof arbor bench DIY Kit with square lattice detail.
Trellis Garden Seats
These gorgeous arbor seat designs will add charm to any garden as they combine fine trellis work, nice benches and arched roofs into adorable garden structures.
Log Cabin Style Arbor Seat
An unusual garden bench design with two arches. Would look great next to a log cabin. Source: plumplay.co.uk.
Gazebo Style Arbor Bench Ideas
Gazebo style garden benches are called gazebo arbors because they have more elaborate, large roofs, at least 4 sides (and some even hexagon shaped), at least 2 benches and fit 4 or more people inside. So the overall look and feel is that of a backyard gazebo, and not of a small garden seat. Most of them are designed for corner locations. Below, we've picked a few interesting design ideas for this type of arbor plans.
Hexagon Gazebo Style Corner Arbor Bench
Venetian Style Roof Gazebo Arbor Seat
This gazebo like corner design will look great on your patio. Such beautiful, unpainted treated wood look can be created from a DIY kit..
Small Gazebo Like Garden Arbor Seat
A cute small arbor seat idea with the gazebo style roof - for a corner location.
A Fully Enclosed With Trellises Gazebo Arbor Seat
This very large gazebo style arbor with two benches and a table is a corner design. It's covered with trellises on 4 sides.
For more awesome backyard inspiration, please check out our guide to top 7 patio seating ideas for 2017.
Don't forget to pin this guide for your future projects!