How to Make a Garden Arch: All the Details You Need

Are you looking for an elegant yet, affordable way to beautify your home garden? Learning how to make a garden arch gets you a step closer to your dream.

What makes a garden arbor an excellent idea is the versatility that comes with it. Built into a vertical structure adorned with attractive finishing designs, a garden arch allows you to use it for many applications. 

You can use it to accommodate beautiful hanging flowers or even utilize it as a shade. You can pretty much achieve any garden arch designs and styles you want.

Nonetheless, the principles for building one remain the same – which is why we’ve shared an in-depth foolproof guide on the basics of how to make a garden arch.

garden arch

Types of Garden Arches

Garden arches come in different styles and designs.

However, garden arches are classified into three primary groups based on the materials used, i.e., wood, plastic (e.g., PVC), and metal.

Since we are learning about the basics for building any garden arch you want, we will focus on the wood and PVC arches.

How to Make a Garden Arch with Wood Structures

How to Make a Garden Arch

Wooden garden arches come in a vast range of designs – some with basic wood plank patterns and others with more intricate lattices that need a router to create.

But, here we are focusing on a simple design with a four-post structure, sufficient enough for a small garden entryway or for covering a small garden bench.

You can use any wood you want, whether it’s pine or cedar.

Tools Needed

  • Post-hole digger
  • Concrete mixing tub
  • Four 4×4 wood planks for vertical posts
  • Shovel
  • Hammer 
  • Four 2×6 wood planks for horizontal beams
  • Hand saw
  • Drill 
  • Screwdriver bits 
  • ¼ inch spade bits
  • Eight ¼ inch bolts, washers, and nuts
  • 2.5-inch deck screws
  • At least four to six 2×4 rafters 
  • Jigsaw
  • Chisel
  • Eleven 2 x 2 Lattice strips (of any pattern of your choosing) 
  • Tape measure
  • Safety goggles and work gloves

Step 1: Preparing the Location for Anchoring Your Arch

There are several ways you can anchor an arch. In this case, we’ve opted to go for concrete foundations since this method offers the best security for holding the arch.

Start by digging four holes where you will anchor the four vertical posts. To perfectly fit the posts, you want the side-by-side spacing to be 8 feet apart, and the depth should be at least 2 to 2.5 feet.

You can stand the posts temporarily to ensure the measurements are right and that the four posts form a square space.

Step 2: Anchor The Posts

This step involves the actual anchoring process. Mix the concrete in a large tub to form a dough-like mixture.

Have someone help you hold the posts into the dug hole and shovel the wet concrete to cover each post to the ground level.

When done, use a hammer to tap on the posts to ensure they are sturdy and visually inspect them to ensure they are upright.

garden arch

Step 3: Affix the Horizontal Beams

Take two 2×6 beams and use a hand saw to cut them to the width you want. The horizontal beams are used for the roof of the arch.

However, since we are going for an 8-foot wide anchor, you want the beams to be at least 10 feet. Again, measure 8 feet from the ground up on the vertical posts and mark the location. 

Drill a quarter-inch hole on the front end and back end of each vertical post.

Sandwich either side of the post with a beam (beam should run from left to right), insert large bolts through the holes, and secure them with three layer washers and nuts.

Use a long straight edge to ensure all the beams run uniformly from side to side.

Step 4: Affix the Rafters

This step involves attaching rafters to the horizontal beams. You can cut the length of the rafters to your preference. However, make sure they don’t protrude by more than a foot from the beams.

Depending on your preferences, you can use a jigsaw to cut them in a curved design for more aesthetics. Start by placing a rafter on either side of the roof to ensure they align and add the other four. 

Mark the location of each sandwiched horizontal beam on the rafter with a ¾ inch wide by ¼ inch deep mark.

Use a handsaw to make the cuts using these measurements and remove the wood chips using a chisel.

Attach the rafter to each beam and securely attached them using the freshly cut notches. Secure each rafter with 2.5-inch deck screws from the top into the surface of the beams underneath.

Step 4: Attach Lattice Strips on Rafters

The final step is to attach lattice strips atop the rafter so they are perpendicular to them– eleven 2×2 strips is enough.

If you want to, you can even buy wider wood planks for your own DIY lattice strip project. However, in this case, we are using a pre-made store-bought one. You want to leave at least a twelve-inch gap between the rafters and lattice strips. 

Cut the strips to match the length of the rafters, lay each strip on the rafter, and attach them using deck screws.

You will have an 8 foot tall arch with an 8-foot opening. Depending on the type of wood used, you can begin to paint it if you want to.

garden arch

How to Make a Garden Arch with PVC Pipe

If you want a more durable option with less maintenance, a PVC arch is the way to go.

Tools Needed

  1. Post-hole digger
  2. Concrete mixing tub
  3. Shovel
  4. Ten 6-inch PVC pipes
  5. One PVC cross  joints 
  6. Two PVC elbow joints
  7. Three PVC tee joints
  8. Rubber mallet  for securing the joints to the pipes
  9. Safety gear – safety goggles and work gloves

Step 1: Anchor The Pipes

The first and second steps of making a PVC pipe garden arch are similar to making a wooden garden arch.

However, instead of anchoring wooden planks, you will be mounting the four 6-inch PVC pipes. Use the necessary connectors to increase the height of each pipe to the desired level (ideally 8 feet).

Step 2: Affix the Horizontal Pipes

Use tee connectors on each pipe to create a square roof by adding pipes perpendicular to the vertical pipes.

For a more decorative look, you can use elbow joints to create an arch at the top. Repeat the steps to make the number of arches you want, and you should be done. 

rose garden arch

Final Thoughts

 Learning how to make a garden arch offers a simple and affordable way to make your garden stand out.

After all, you can try out various designs and styles as long as you master the basics.