How to Make Garden Arches Out of Tree Branches
You can construct a simple garden arch from tree branches as a rustic gateway to your garden, yard or patio. The keys to a successful garden arch project are to set your posts deeply enough, to add pea gravel for drainage and to build the arch while the branches are still green and flexible. You can replace drying branches each year with new boughs, or add the new leafy branches atop your existing arch.
Select two sturdy, small trees, saplings or limbs at least 7 feet long and 4 inches in diameter to form your main posts. Remove most of the branches and twigs that may be growing off the main post, and set them aside.
Collect about 20 smaller and flexible limbs, branches and twigs of different lengths and diameter. Most of them should be at least 1/2-inch around. At least six limbs should be about 6 feet long.
Select a clear, flat area to install your garden arch. Prepare post holes that are 24 inches deep and twice the width of your corner posts. Dig the holes 5 feet apart.
Fill the bottom three inches of your post holes with pea gravel. This will improve drainage and slow the decay of your posts. Insert your corner posts.
Add the backfill into the hole until the hole is about half full. Tamp the soil down firmly around the post. Continue filling each hole, tamping down when the soil reaches the top. Cover each post hole with pea gravel.
Cut a section of 14-gauge wire to an 8-foot length. Wrap 12 inches from one end of the wire around the top of one corner post. Staple the wire securely.
Wrap the second corner post with 12 inches of wire. Do not pull it taut. You'll have some slack in the wire as it extends between the two posts. Staple the end wire in place.
Situate your step-ladder near the center of the two posts until you can easily and safely reach the connecting wire. Lift the remaining slack wire up and shape it into an arch.
Attach your longest branch or limb to the horizontal arch first. Connect the branch to the wire with florist wire every 4 inches to prevent it from shaking loose in a strong wind.
Secure the smaller branches to the longer branches with florist wire. Repeat the process until you've achieved the fullness you want.
- Leave all the little sprigs and twigs on your branches as you attach them to the wire. They'll give your garden arch a natural, organic appearance.
- For a larger arch, repeat the post installation twice so that you have four posts. Attach a second connecting wire between the second pair of posts and fill in the entire area with twigs and branches.
Kate Sheridan is a freelance writer, researcher, blogger, reporter and photographer whose work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and trade publications for over 35 years. She attended Oakland University and The University of Michigan, beginning her journalism career as an intern at the "Rochester Eccentric." She's received honors from the Michigan Press Association, American Marketing Association and the State of Michigan Department of Commerce.