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Arbors can bring elegance to your garden or provide a shady spot to rest in your yard. Designed to provide relief from the sun's heat, arbors can range in size from an area just big enough for a bench or small table to something that covers the whole deck. Not only can arbors shield you from the sun, they can add privacy to your yard with strategically placed trellises and creeping foliage. This can be nice if you have something like a hot tub or hammock that is visible to the neighbors.
As far as do-it-yourself projects go, an arbor is fairly low key, but it can get complicated if you choose a busy design. Your options are to build one from scratch, purchasing the needed tools, wood, stains, etc. yourself or to purchase a kit. With arbor kits, installation is fairly simple. All the instructions and needed hardware are included. Kits are usually a little pricier than simply buying the materials yourself, but they can be nice if you aren't the most experienced builder, don't feel like sawing boards, or just don't want to spend time hunting for arbor plans. Also, you'll save time by using a kit. If the idea of spending your valuable weekend free time ensconced by dirt and sawdust, a kit may be the way to go.
If money is the biggest concern, you can certainly forgo the kit and build your own arbor. Sunset's Swimming Pools And Spas has a section on building arbors and pergolas, including step-by-step instructions on how to build a simple structure. There's also a lot of good information on pools and hot tubs, in case you are thinking of installing either of those features as well.