Garden arches can be a beautiful addition to any garden. They add visual appeal and texture to your garden and give you more vertical space for growing plants. Unfortunately, pre-made garden arches can be expensive.
Making your own can be a cost-friendly alternative. PVC pipe is an excellent medium for building your garden arch. The material is weather-resistant, and the white color will easily blend into your surrounding garden.
To make your garden arch with PVC Pipe, you will only need a few things:
- PVC Pipe
- PVC fittings
- Cutting Tool
- PVC cement
- Tape measure
- Garden Trowel
Building your garden arch with these materials can be done in just five easy steps. You will need to find a spot, dig holes, and put the materials together in the form of an arch.
Table of Contents
- Steps to Building Your Own Garden Arch
- PVC vs. Other Materials
- Benefits of Using PVC
- Cost of Building a PVC Garden Arch
- Designing Your Garden Arch
- Adding Creative Elements
- Connecting Your Garden Arches
- Buying a Pre-Made Arch
- Related Questions
Steps to Building Your Own Garden Arch
After you collect your materials and decide on your design, you can get started with building your PVC Pipe Garden Arch.
Step 1: Pick a Location
Garden arches are a beautifully added element to any garden. You might consider putting one by the entrance, using one as a separator between two sections. Or you can add one anywhere you have extra space.
Step 2: Dig Holes for the Foundation
You will want to space your holes wide enough to accommodate the design of your garden arch. Five or six feet apart is common. You will want to dig 2-3 inches into the earth to ensure it stays in place.
Remember, PVC pipe has some flexibility, so it is okay if your holes aren’t perfectly spaced.
Step 3: Put Up the Sides of the Arch
Based on the PVC pipes you purchased, you will likely need to cut them to your desired length. This length will determine how tall the sides of your garden arch will be. Bury the PVC pipes about 2-3 inches into the ground to ensure they stay in place.
Step 4: Connect Your PVC Pipes
Pipe fittings come in many shapes, including tees, crosses, and elbows. Use the connectors to create the “arch” with only the limits of your imagination holding you back.
Use the PVC pipe cement or glue to hold your PVC pipes in place with their connectors. An all-purpose cement glue may be substituted in this step.
Gluing your PVC pipes into their fittings will help your garden arch stay in place for years to come. This means you will need to perform less maintenance on your garden arch over the years.
Step 5: Repeat the Above
Repeat steps 1-4 to add rows to your garden arch. Add as many rows as you like to achieve the look you desire.
PVC vs. Other Materials
Metal and wood are commonly used materials for garden arches. These other materials have some downsides worth considering. After reading this, it will give insight as to why PVC is the best choice.
Wood vs. PVC
Wood is excellent to work with, but it is bulky, heavy, and risks attracting unwanted pests to your garden. The bulk may add too much visual weight to your garden. Additionally, it will rot after being exposed to the elements for too long.
To protect it from the weather, you will need to cover it with a protectant. The protectant, whether you use a seal or paint, will need to be reapplied periodically. This means you will be performing more maintenance to your garden arch than you would with one made from PVC pipe.
Using a protectant may also introduce unwanted chemicals to your garden. Paint could chip and fall into the soil, exposing your plants to potentially dangerous chemicals.
Metal vs. PVC
Metal has the benefit of being less bulky than wood; however, it is also quite heavy. When it is exposed to the elements for too long, they will rust.
Rusty metal is dangerous to have around. It can break off, leaving sharp edges. Rust can also harbor harmful bacteria, putting you and your loved ones at risk.
Benefits of Using PVC
PVC pipe is lightweight and slightly flexible, making it an explicit material to work within the garden. It is also durable. PVC can hold up against rain, snow, sunlight, and soil.
The durability of PVC pipe means you’ll spend less time maintaining it, allowing you to enjoy your garden. You do not have to treat it with protectants repeatedly, and its durability leads to infrequent needs for repairs.
Cost of Building a PVC Garden Arch
PVC pipe is an affordable material to use for any craft or design. It is also easily accessible, being found in just about every home improvement store.
The cost of pipes starts as low as $3 per foot but goes up depending on the desired length and diameter. Fittings are also affordable, starting as low as $1 per foot. Again, the price varies based on style and diameter.
Experienced DIYers will already have a measuring tape and a cutting tool, such as shears or a hacksaw. Another added expense would be the glue or PVC cement, which can be as cheap as $8 for an 8 oz. can.
Designing Your Garden Arch
The design of your garden arch will depend on your space available, your budget, and your imagination. Below are some ideas to get the articulate mindset flowing.
- Use tee fittings to design a modern H-shaped garden arch.
- Use elbow fittings to create a squared-off top to your garden arch.
- Use cross fittings to help connect multiple arches.
- Use 45˚ elbow fittings to create a rounded top on your garden arch.
Adding Creative Elements
You might consider adding some extra decorative elements to your garden arch to bring some life and color to your garden. Attaching outdoor decorations is a quick and easy way to spruce up a PVC pipe garden arch. Painting it is another quick way to personalize your garden arch.
Commonly, garden arches are decorated with plants. You might consider growing flowers, vines, fruits, or vegetables on your garden arch.
Connecting Your Garden Arches
To grow plants on your garden arch, you will need something for your plants to attach. You could connect your PVC pipe garden arches with more PVC pipe, but your plants may not thrive with it.
PVC pipe is smooth, and some are an inch wide. Plants may not be able to grip the PVC pipe, and therefore would not be able to grow up on the sides of your garden arch.
If you want to attach plants to your garden arch, listed below are some ideas of materials you could use.
- Wood Fencing
- Wire Fencing
The material you choose to use will affect the final look of your garden arch. You may also discover that certain plants do better or worse on various connecting elements. Be sure to pick the connecting piece that works best for your design, garden, and budget.
Connecting your arches is a great way to use up leftover materials from other projects. Mixing and matching materials could help you grow a wider variety of plants on your garden arch. The variety can help add more color or ensure complete coverage of your garden arch.
Buying a Pre-Made Arch
Of course, you could buy a garden arch. There are many available in various designs and made from different materials. However, some things are worth considering if you are looking to buy one over making your own.
1. Consider the Cost
Pre-made arches are pricey. Many of them cost hundreds, and some go above $1,000.
2. Figure Out the Materials
Pre-made arches are commonly made from metal or wood. These materials do not hold up as well against the elements as PVC pipe.
3. Figure the Bulk of the Garden
Wooden pre-made arches are bulky. They are heavy to maneuver and install. They might also add undesired bulk to your garden, affecting the overall look and feel.
How Much PVC Pipe Do I Need to Buy?
It is entirely up to you as it is whatever works best for you. Building a garden arch with PVC pipe is a very cost-friendly option to add a design element to your garden. The amount of PVC pipe you need to buy will depend on the:
- Space you have available.
- The size of the garden arch you want to build.
- The intended design of the garden arch for your budget.
Can I Skip the PVC Cement if the Pipes are Snug in the Fittings?
If your pipes fit snug into the fittings, it may seem like adding the PVC cement is an additional, unneeded step. However, the PVC cement will help your PVC pipes to stay in place for years to come. The PVC will remain intact during most severe weather conditions with cement.
It will also hold up to the weight of added plants if cement is in place.
Can I use any type of PVC pipe?
Yes, however, the white one is cheaper than CPVC and conduit.