A type of garden structure, a garden arch helps turn a mundane garden into a masterpiece. It is one of the ways a homeowner-gardener expresses a belief that their living environment includes the sum total of their property—not just the four walls of the house. It says that beauty and form are important to the people who live here. By adding shape, texture and variety to your home landscape design, a garden arch provides practicality, an acknowledgement of time’s passage, a visual metaphor, mood and whimsy.
A Garden Arch: Placement and Shapes
Sometimes used interchangeably with the term “garden arbors,” outdoor arches are classic architectural shapes that are often used near the doorway to a garden or home. When placed in a series, they mark a special spot, as when used to cover the pathway to a garden gazebo. If you have a flat yard, they can create vertical dimensions in your landscape. When paired with a gate, they simply say, “Come in—welcome.” You can include them in your patio design or deck design, let one be the entrance to an outdoor room, or use one as a focal point in a small garden design. Whether you designate them as pure decoration or put them to work, arches can support vegetables, fruits, vines or climbing roses.
Outdoor arches come in many shapes. A list would include:
- Traditional French shape. Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France have made this shape famous for outdoor arches. There, the central alley is covered by climbing roses supported by iron arches. These arches have a flat profile, making them work well for wider spans.
- Roman arches. These arches are larger in both height and width and, when used in a row or series, almost give the appearance of a loggia or pergola. When covered with flowering vines, you can create a softscape made of green plant material, interesting texture, color and fragrance. Consider combining Roman arches with an outdoor water fountain or outdoor sculpture.
- Gothic style. Festooned with hoops, finials, swirls and twirls, this style fits perfectly in an English garden design.
- Fruit tree arches. Sturdy and practical, these arches can be used with small fruit trees and bushes. For instance, a fruit tree can be planted on either side of the arch and trained to meet at the top.
A Garden Arch: Materials
Many decisions will go into your material selection—style, hardiness and budget. You will also want to consider your other hardscape selections and make sure all looks are well-coordinated. Here are some of your options:
- Galvanized steel arches. Unmatched in strength and longevity.
- Copper arches. Providing exceptional beauty and durability. Works well in a Japanese garden design.
- Wood arches. Eco-friendly wood makes stunning outdoor arches in simple and complex shapes.
- Wrought iron arches. A classic choice.
- Vinyl arches. They have the look of painted wood, but will not warp, crack or rot. They look good and, with proper construction, will last a long time.
Exterior Worlds specializes in garden structures and other high-end landscape design and services. Since 1987, they have served the greater Houston area in fine communities like Tanglewood, River Oaks, Bellaire, West University and the Memorial Villages.