How to create a flowering archway

Construct a simple arbor

For added impact and interest in the landscape, a tunnel of blooming climbers, offers welcome shade from the sun and a dazzling floral display.

A flowering archway or arbor is an inverted U-shaped garden structure covered with flowering climbers. It can be made of wood, metal, wire or plastic tubes, as long is it is high enough to allow comfortable standing room below. The sides can be open or enclosed with lattice or netting. Climbers grow up the sides and over the top of the archway.

Besides serving as an eye-catching focal point, an arbor covered in flowering climbers also becomes a private shady nook, creates a dramatic entryway into your yard or a section of your garden and also allows your favorite flowering climbers to grow in an easily maintained location.

This simple arbor construction can be completed in a weekend and is made with a wooden framework and lattice side-panels and roof.


Step 1

Measure a square

Mark out a square in your chosen location with the sides measuring 4 feet (1.2m) long. Check by measuring diagonals to see if the sides are of equal length. At each corner, dig a hole to a depth of 1 foot 8 inches (50cm).

Step 2

Prepare the holes and side panels

To the base of each hole add a 2-3 inch (5-8cm) layer of pre-mixed concrete aggregate. Now, nail one lattice panel to two posts so the top of the lattice is flush with the top of the posts. Repeat on the other side.

Step 3

Secure panel posts in holes

Place the panel posts in the holes, packing around them with aggregate. Using the level, make sure the posts are upright. Pack in more aggregate and add the water. These posts must be securely anchored, as they will eventually have to hold up the side and roof supports as well as the weight of the mature climbers.

Step 4

Attach top rails

Let the posts set overnight, and then attach the 2 x 6in (50x150mm) rail planks over the top of the posts letting them overhang about 12 inches (30cm) on both sides. Nail them securely in place.

Step 5

Attach the lattice roof

Cut the last panel of lattice to 6ft 7inches (2m) long. Set it on top of the planks to form the roof. Align the lattice with the supports and and nail it securely to the planks in several places.

Step 6

Plant the climbers

Finish by planting two of your chosen climbers on each side of the arbor. Make sure they are positioned about 2 feet (60cm) out from the side panels and a good shovel load of well-rotted compost has been mixed into each of the planting holes. Water well and mulch around the plants to help retain moisture and deter weeds. As the climber grows tie or weave the stems through the lattice.

Step 7

Routine maintenance

Once the climbers are established, fertilize regularly until mid-summer, following the application rate on the packaging. Continue routine maintenance on the climbers with regular watering and pruning to remove any dead, broken or diseased wood. Wait until after flowering finished to do major pruning on climbers that flower on last year’s woody growth. This gives them ample time to form new growth and new flower buds for next year’s blooms. Replace mulch periodically around the base of the plants.

Things Needed
• Measuring tape
• Post-hole digger
• Shovel
• 4 9ft 10in x 4x4in (3m x 100x100mm) posts
• 4 bags pre-mixed concrete aggregate
• Level
• Ladder
• 2 6ft 7in x 2x6in (2m x 50 x 150mm) planks
• 3 3ft 4in x 7ft 3in (1.2m x 2.2m) lattice panels
• Hammer and nails
• 4 flowering climbers
• Mulch
• Compost

Tips & Warnings
• As the arbor offers welcome shade, you may wish to create a seating area. Use a layer of crushed rock. This material packs down well and makes a perfect surface for placing outdoor benches and tables.
• If you lack space but want a shady nook, make a wigwam effect from several wooden poles tied together at the top. Plant annual flowering climbers at the base of each pole and soon you will have an enclosed shady retreat, or an eye-catching display.


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