How to Build a Wooden Garden Arch

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"Before" the garden arch was installed.

How to build a DIY garden arch trellis to help support roses around a privacy gate entrance. This easy build it perfect by the gate to a fence.

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This project has been high on the priority list since my knockout roses became an obstacle for getting in and out of our gate. I was told to cut them but I really wanted to encourage them to grow up an arch, rather than to just cut them back. They’re just so pretty!

So my husband build me this garden arch trellis and it turned out beautiful! I can’t wait to see how it looks in a few years once it’s weathered and the roses have grown up it. I really love a good trellis, if you can’t tell from the projects we’ve done, like the trellis privacy planters.

I hope I don’t butcher the lingo too much when describing this project. I confess that I looked up a lot words to make sure I was using them correctly… and I still feel like I got them wrong. But hopefully the explanation, photos and video makes sense!

Supplies

  • (6) 2×2’s
  • (6) 1×2’s
  • (8) 3″ long, 5/16″ machine bolts
  • (8) Washers, 5/16″
  • (2) 1×3’s

My husband was pleasantly surprised that the supplies cost less than $50 which is a delightful change from some of the projects I’ve had him work on. 

Tutorial for a Garden Arch DIY

Supplies for wood arbor DIY

To begin, you want to take your measurements for the arch. The problem we had with the retail arches was that they weren’t wide enough and tall enough for our gate and fence. We measured and decided to make the arch 72″ wide and 7′ above ground height.

Board Cuts:

  • (4) 1×2’s cut to 24″ strips for the side lattice (horizontals)
  • (2) 1×2’s cut to 57″ strips for the side lattice (verticals)
  • (4) 1×4’s cut to 88″ for the beams 
  • (4) 2×2’s for posts
  • (2?) 2×2’s for top cross pieces

To start, place two 2×2’s on the ground parallel to each other. Place the 24″ strips across to create a ladder type look. For 8″ spacing place the strips at the following measurements from the bottom to the top: 24″, 32″, 40″, 48″, 56″, 64″ 72″ 80″.

Fasten lattice to posts with wood screws. Repeat for a second side lattice.

Two lattice for wood garden arbor.

Once those pieces were attached, we flipped the lattice over and attached one more long piece down the middle.

Additional wood support for the lattices on the arbor.

We traced an old item I had from my horseback riding days to get the curve right on the edges of the 1×4 beams. The first curve was traced from the item, but then we used the scrap piece of wood from the first cut as a template for the rest of the cuts. You want to cut one on each side of the 1×4’s. Keep the curve within 8″ of each end of the beam.

Curve for garden arbor beams.

Here it is, cut with the jig saw.

Curve cut with jigsaw for garden arbor.

This arch design uses four beams (two beams sandwich the posts in front and back). Once the four beams have been prepared, it’s time to drill holes where they will attach to the posts. Some care should be given to getting the holes straight/perpendicular to the board (this will avoid difficulties in assembly). Clamp two boards together and drill holes 1″ from the top and bottom of the board.

Holes being drilled for attaching garden arbor and lattice.

As you can see, you’re drilling equivalently spaced holes in the top of each post. This is where the beams and and post will attach. Note, we attempted to drill through both boards and the post at the same time, but couldn’t get the lattice/boards positioned right. Perhaps if the holes were drilled before the side lattice was attached, this would have been possible.

Holes being drilled in the top "leg" of the lattice.

Now you assemble your lattice and beams. Again, two beams sandwich each post. These were assembled with machine bolts and nuts. In hindsight, it may have been easier to assemble the arch on the ground and move in place afterwards, it was somewhat difficult to get everything together in place without breaking the wood.

DIY Wooden Arbor being assembled.

At this point, you’re almost done, but you need to cut cross pieces for the trellis portion of this project. This is just the lattice going across the top. We cut ours and spaced them out evenly.

Trellis across the top of the garden arbor.

Then you screw in your cross pieces. We used a speed square to make sure there was an even 12″ between each board.

Cross pieces on garden arbor.

To finish, you just dig about 1′ holes for each leg of the arch to stabilize it.

DIY Garden arbor completed.

Video Tutorial for the Garden Arch

If you want to see some of how this was built in action, check out the video. Hopefully it will help explain the steps if there’s any confusion from the photos!

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DIY Trellis with knockout roses.
DIY Garden Arbor over a stone path.
DIY Garden Arch

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