If you want to hoist a temporary arch over your driveway, making one out of PVC works, doesn't need a lot of technical or building know-how (though it is easier with a friend to help you) and is affordable. If you want something that will last for a long time, look at other materials. PVC is the common term for polyvinyl chloride, a soft or rigid plastic polymer that comes in pipe form and is found in any home improvement store. Remember that for wider driveways you will need considerably more materials. When planning, consider how high you want the arch to be because that will factor in to how much PVC you get.
Things You Will Need
- Tape measure
- 1/4 inch PVC pipe in three pieces that equal the width of your driveway plus more for the arch
- Rope that is twice as long as one length of the PVC pipe, to make the archway
- Work gloves
- Hot water
- 2 pieces of 1/4 inch rebar both 4 feet in length
- 2 couplings that fit 1/4 inch PVC pipe
- Paint or decorative tape for the PVC pipe (optional)
- Concrete to pour into the PVC/rebar base (optional)
Mark your driveway where you wish the arch to be and measure that width along the ground. Use chalk or string to ensure the markings are evenly placed.
Most any home improvement store will be able to cut PVC pipe to your specifications if you don’t have the tools to do it at home. Cut 1/4 inch PVC to the width of your driveway you measured and multiply it by 1.57 for the half-circle arch. If you want a taller arch, add 5 or more feet to the length you need cut. It’s smart to get some extra PVC cut to make sure it is the height and width you need.
Making the Arch
To make the arch, you will need a bucket of hot water and rope that is twice the length of the pipe. Take the length of PVC you are using for the arch and run rope through it, end to end. The 1/4 inch PVC is malleable enough to arch itself when you run the rope through. Tie the ends of the rope together. Then, using a funnel or freehand, pour hot water into one end of the now arched PVC pipe and let it sit for five minutes. Then dump the water out carefully, untie the rope and pull it out. Now you have an arched length of PVC for your driveway archway.
Hammer each piece of rebar into the earth where you marked your driveway arch until it is about 18 to 22 inches into the ground. Make sure the two lengths of rebar are pounded to equal lengths into the ground. Measure to verify they match, or your archway may be unsteady.
Decorating the Archway
Now is the time to consider if you want to decorate the PVC.
Some ideas include:
- You can wrap it in colorful duct tape.
- Paint it, taking care to purchase paints that are meant to be used with plastics. Non-specialty paints will not bond with the PVC and will crack much faster. Follow the instructions that come with that paint.
- You can wrap some Christmas lights or party lights around the archway for a nighttime decoration, such as for weddings and other special events.
Almost there! Now slide one end of the PVC pipe over the rebar on one side. Join that piece with the arched PVC pipe. Now join those two pieces with the final length of PVC and drop it down on over the rebar on the other side of the driveway. You can put up more than one archway by just duplicating the above steps to have a longer archway down your driveway. It’s a fun weekend project that doesn’t take much skill yet yields an impressive result.
To make the structure last longer, and if you live in a windy climate, add concrete to the pipe after you put it over the rebar. Cure it according to the instructions on the concrete mix. If this is just for a temporary archway for a holiday, you don’t really need to do this part.
Be careful when handling rebar and PVC piping. Wear work gloves to protect your hands.
Things You Will Need
- Rebar, 4-foot lengths, ¼-inch diameter
- PVC pipe, schedule 40, ½-inch diameter
- You can find rebar and PVC pipe at your local home improvement center. The staff there will even cut them to length for you when you purchase them.
- Wrap the arches with spirals of red electrical tape to make them look like peppermint sticks.
- Paint the PVC pipe black with PVC paint to make them invisible at night and use the arches to support strings of lights.