How to Make Garden Arches Out of Tree Branchesby Maggie Fry
An arch covered with climbing vines or flowers is a classic in a cottage garden. You can create a garden arch using branches and items that you probably already have on hand to give your garden that rustic, country look. This easy project is a great way to use branches pruned from fruit trees or thinned from a wooded area. It cuts down on waste going to the landfill, and you get a beautiful piece of garden art.
Items you will need
- Loppers or hand saw
- Cordless screwdriver
- Drywall screws
- Crowbar or rebar
- Wire, twine or grape vines
- Clamps (optional)
- Gloves (optional)
- Safety glasses or goggles (optional)
- Polyurethane spray (optional)
Gather about a dozen branches that are roughly 1 to 2 inches in diameter--about thumb size or a little bigger. Cut saplings or use branches from pruning for your arch. Green wood works best for this project, because dry wood can be too brittle and won't bend well. You will need four saplings that are 10-12 feet tall, but the rest can be shorter.
Determine where you want your arch to stand. The posts should be about 18 inches from each other on the sides and 6 feet apart across from each other. You can eyeball it; it's supposed to look rustic. Use the hammer to pound the crowbar or rebar into the ground in the spots where you will place the posts. Cut points on the ends of the posts with the loppers or hand saw and push the posts into the ground about 2 feet deep.
Cut pieces about 20 inches long for supports. Begin at the bottom and attach the supports across the poles. Use the thickest pieces on the bottom of the arch and thinner pieces as you go up. Attach supports every 18 - 24 inches. Use a clamp to hold the support branch in place while you screw it down. Continue to add support pieces up to about 6 feet, and then repeat for the other side.
Stand on the ladder, and bend the tops of the post trees toward each other, overlap them into an arch shape and secure them with wire. Attach the trees that are across from each other or cross them over from corner to corner. This is where you can get creative. Continue to wire the branches together until the arch feels sturdy.
- Add decorative touches to your arch. Cover the screws by winding twine or grape vines around the connections. Spray your arch with polyurethane to help it last longer or leave it natural and let it return to the Earth in about 5 years.
- After you attach the support branches, trim them close to the posts to avoid sharp sticks pointing out at eye level. Use caution when climbing ladders or using power tools.