Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Creating a Rustic Garden Arch

 Creating garden arches from tree limbs.

Hubby and I moved to a property that hadn’t been maintained for a few years.  There were several older trees with dead branches that needed trimmed, and wild honeysuckle everywhere.  The honeysuckle had grown into shrubs the size of small trees.  The honeysuckle “trees” were approximately 10’ tall and formed a tunnel shape at the back of the property.  We liked the tunnel affect but they needed to be pruned in order to be able to mow around them.

 We spent the whole weekend working in this area of the yard pruning, clearing, shaping the trees.  We had a large burn pile and were burning the wood.  I had wanted to construct an arch made out of branches for years and realized I had an abundance of wood I was burning. I told hubby to stop burning until the next day, and I began constructing an arch at the entrance to our honeysuckle “tree” tunnel.

I started by pounding a steel fence post on each side where I wanted the base of the arch to be.  I measured the mower deck to make sure it would easily fit thru the hole and added several inches to the width.  (Hubby mows a bit too fast sometimes and things tend to get bumped).  Once the steel fence posts were installed I started looking for tall limbs to use for the sides of the arch.

You can see a few of the branches laying on the ground and the area where the arch would be constructed.

I tied the first few branches to the steel post and each other, as you can see in the picture above.

(Note: this was my first attempt to make an arch.  I recommend using zip ties or wire to attach the first limbs instead of twine. After assembling this arch I went back and screwed the limbs together.)

Once you have your branches you want to lay them out so you can see the shape and size of each one.

Once you have selected a branch you think is the right size and shape you will need to trim all the small or size branches that are not growing in the direction you need, and small stuff.

Your pruned branches should look like the two in the foreground above.

Once you have your branches trimmed down to the main branch you are ready to begin assembly. (Note:  I did not trim the length of my branches until I added them to the arch so I could custom fit them to the spot where they fit best.)

(To begin assembly of the arch I installed a steel fence post on each side of this sidewalk where I want my arch)

You can also see that I was trying to find branches that were curved on one end, and as tall as possible. If the branch was entirely too long, I typically cut off a section of the straight end to ensure the curved part of the limb was in the general area where I wanted the arch.  (see above) Once I had several branches secured to the steel posts and starting to form the arch sides I began using my screw gun and screws to attach the branches to one another for stability.  I used a variety of screw lengths depending on how large the branch diameter was.  (These pictures are for reference only – it is not the same arch shown above… it is to show you the technique of how to get started)


Note how I screwed the top branch above to the branch I zip tied to the steel post.  You may need to secure them in more than one area, such as at the base, middle and top, depending on how rigid each screw makes the overall structure.

Continue adding branches “bulking up” the structure in the desired shape.  You can always trim a couple of wayward branches if they are sticking out too far when done.

I have two arches.  One at the back of our property shown above, and one at the back of our house where we walk from our back yard to the front, and a storage shed. One is boxier and wild looking, and the other is arched and more refined.  I personally love them both and enjoy the fact that they are each unique to the area where they are located.

Here are a couple pictures of each finished arch.

(Sorry I can't find my picture without the junk...)

I know these are too rustic for some people but if you're like me and enjoy creating one of a kind accents for your garden, that involve more labor and creativity than money, here is how I made mine.  Have fun if you decide to make one for your garden.  If you need additional pictures or info to construct your own arch let me know.  I had a lot of fun creating mine.

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