How to Make a Willow Branch Arch
A garden arch creates an attractive and useful foundation for the growth of vines and flowering creepers. Building an arch out of natural materials is ecologically sound and organically appealing. The natural color, texture and shape of branches add to the comfortable feeling of the garden, and after installation they require minimal maintenance. The materials for an arch can be gathered from cuttings and are often inexpensive or free.
Drive a 3 foot metal stake or rebar into the ground so that 1 foot remains above the ground. Drive a second stake into the ground 4 feet away from the first so that your pathway goes between the stakes.
Cut two willow branches 16 feet long. Trim off all side branches and twigs with garden shears. Place the willow branches with the narrow sides overlapping by 2 feet.
Cut 12 inches of 16 gauge wire. Wrap the wire 2 inches from where the branches begin to overlap. Wrap the wire twice around the branches keeping the wire tight. Twist the ends together. Repeat for the second overlapping end. Wrap wire between your ends every 6 to 8 inches.
Stand your tied branches up. Bend the branches toward each other. This is easier to do with a friend to help. Position the branches 1 inch above the soil and against the inside edge of one metal stake. Wire the branch to the stake using two wires. Repeat for the second stake.
Add two more arches for good support. (You can do many more.) Space each metal stake 1 1/2 feet apart. Weave small branches horizontally between the three arches to create a trellis effect. Wire the ends of the branches diagonally to the upright arch branch. This will create a strong archway.
- Collect willow branches from friends or neighbors. Use vines to cover your wires for a more natural look. Keep your willow away from the soil to prevent the cut branch from rooting in the ground.
F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.
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