Structures in the Landscape
ornamental pergola shade structure and gate create poolside elegance

In nearly every garden style, constructed elements play a role in defining space for an inviting outdoor experience.  Gates and trellises, pergolas and cabanas- landscape structures have the power to transform a garden. The variety of styles gives infinite possibility to these elements, allowing a landscape’s unique character to shine through in the structure’s design.  At J. Montgomery Designs, each of our custom structures is a unique feature in the landscape.

a low picket gate creates a sense of entry in a side yard with beautiful plantings beyond

Gateways define entrances and create the sense of distinction between two areas of the landscape.  They can be low in profile, as simple as a gap left between two walls, or high in profile to create a portal from one space to another.  For a really transformative effect, a gateway with an overhead element might be in order.  Overhead elements, such as arbors, give a third dimension to garden ‘rooms’.   In traditional European gardens, a white-washed gate trellis might support a climbing rose or other vine, with a strong support and cross-beams to create a ceiling-like effect.  In traditional Chinese gardens, a moon-gate might offer an exquisite round portal into the landscape, and in the modern garden, natural wood might form a simple arch to frame the sky as one passes underneath.

Classical gate with latticework and overhead trellis provides privacy and interest in the garden

Pergolas and awnings offer a similar ceiling-like feel.  Even a simple pergola, with a lattice or cross-beams open to the elements, can transform a dull landscape or unused corner into a garden ‘room’ that beckons to be enjoyed.  In addition to the enhanced comfort of well-defined space, a pergola provides shade and a support for vining plants or landscape lighting.

Detail of curved white arbor against blue sky

 A seating area under an arbor can be a wonderful place to spend time during our long California summers.  If the space is going to be enjoyed during the wetter months, a waterproof covering is of course in order.  This doesn’t have to be complex!  The beautiful and functional retractable awning has become a welcome addition to many pergola structures.  With this design, you can enjoy your outdoor ‘room’ even when the weather isn’t perfect.

Outdoor kitchen under a white contemporary pergola with brick post accents

If a more protected outdoor space is what you’re looking for, a gazebo, pavilion, or cabana may be ideal for your landscape.  Gazebos and pavilions, with complete roofs but open sides, are an elegant solution for dining or sitting areas.  Again, the sky is the limit when it comes to style!  Eight-sided gazebos traditionally have a tendency towards Japanese or Victorian styles, however they can also be rustic or Sonoma-style depending on material and level of decoration.

rustic small pergola creates a garden retreat in a large landscape bordering hilly open space

A rustic pavilion creates an aesthetic focal point and an inviting destination in this J. Montgomery designed landscape bordering Northern California open space.


The pavilion has become an increasingly popular structure in the landscape.  Whether designed in a classic or modern style, they can add elegance and function to any outdoor living space.  Some of our favorites have been those we styled to match the existing house – painted and shingled to appear part of the original construction, these structures create a seamless flow indoors to out.

A roof extension pergola creates a seamless flow between the architecture of the house and the surrounding landscape

This pergola roof extension is seamless with the original architecture of the house, enhancing the rustic elegance of the patio and dining area for year-round enjoyment.

Cabanas, with walls as well as ceiling, offer the ultimate protection from the elements and can house cozy furniture and entertainment centers.

interior of a cabana by J. Montgomery designs with entertainment center, hearth, and couches

The interior of this cabana houses kitchen and dining areas, an entertainment center, hearth, and inviting seating.  Separate from the main house, it offers a luxurious retreat, even in the winter months,

Our Design Process
Design sketch showing a gazebo by a natural pool, drawn by the designers of J. Montgomery studios

Here at our studio, many landscape structures start out as conceptual drawings, allowing us to envision the structures on site before we tackle the details.

CAD-drawn construction detail for a gazebo roof

Conceptual drawings take on fully buildable structural details in AutoCAD Computer Drafting Software before their construction on site.  Our studio offers construction details for ready-to-build custom landscape elements of all kinds.

Detail of a cabana roof showing shingled roof, white decorative posts, and nano windows

Nothing compares to seeing our landscape structures come to life!

Here at J. Montgomery Designs, landscape structures feature in nearly every landscape we create.  Whether your outdoor space needs a redesign or a simple lift, we are happy to help you create the yard of your dreams.  Visit our online portfolio or contact our Alamo studio for consultation.