How to Make a Garden Arch with PVC Pipe [10 Steps]

A garden arch performs two functions. First, it’s a beautiful addition to your garden. It provides a stunning entryway that you can customize to make your garden personal. It also provides a great place for various climbing plant species to display themselves. A PVC pipe garden arch can help you create a beautiful and effective entry without breaking the bank. 

To build a garden arch with PVC pipe, you’ll need several different sizes of PVC pipe. Connect the pipes using connectors and supports. Make sure that you are securing the arch in the ground as you go. Top off the archway with a bent pipe and create similar arches to create a trellis. Then you can decorate it!

Let’s go over the steps to making your beautiful garden arch using PVC pipe. 

What You’ll Need

To create a PVC pipe garden arch, you’ll need a few tools. 

  • PVC Pipes in the required lengths 
  • Tape measure
  • Sharpie markers
  • Trowel
  • PVC connectors and joints (including t-connectors and elbow connectors)
  • Rubber mallet 
  • Hacksaw (optional)

You don’t have to have a hacksaw if your hardware store has cut the PVC pipe in required lengths. However, it’s a good idea to have one on hand if you need to adjust on the fly. There are additional tools you can purchase to ensure a straight cut (like a miter box), but these are also optional. 

How to Make a Garden Arch with PVC Pipe

Step One:Assemble Materials

Before you get started, make sure that you have everything you need to complete the project. You don’t want to stop and run to the store in the middle of the project. 

Lay everything out where you can see it and get to it easily. 

Step Two:The Right Measurements

Different plants can climb to different heights. Likewise, you may want your garden arch to be tall enough to accommodate plants that climb extremely high. Make sure that you do your research and measure out how tall you want the arch to be. 

Of course, a taller arch needs to be sturdier and have more support. Make sure that you take this into account before purchasing and cutting your PVC pipe. The top of your arch can curve or it can incorporate a straight top. Make sure you get the correct measurements for whichever type of top you want.

Step Three:Make Holes

Using the trowel, make the holes where you’ll secure your arch. Each arch in your archway will need its holes. Five feet apart is a good measurement for the width of the arch. You can add multiple holes for multiple arches to create a more elaborate trellis. 

Make sure that however long you make your arch, the holes need to be at least 2 inches deep. Some prefer to make them 3 inches deep for extra support and security. Arches in deeper holes tend to be stronger and able to hold up to wind better.

Step Four:Fit the First Arch

Take the first pipe you’ll be using for the vertical side of your arch. Plant it in the hole you’ve made and make sure that it is secure. You might consider purchasing pipes that are wider or thicker for these foundation areas. 

Add the other pipe on the other side of the arch and make sure that they are both secure. 

Step Five:Build Up the Height

Now you can work on building up to the height that you require. Use the connectors and rubber mallet to add spaces for new pipes to be added. 

Consider how tall you want your plants to be. Also, consider a height that works for all the people who will be frequenting your garden. For example, try and make it a few inches taller than your tallest friend (at least). 

Once you have reached the perfect height, fix two more connectors to the top of those pipes. A step stool or ladder can help you do this but be careful when using the rubber mallet at such a precarious height. 

Step Six:Add Supports

There are a few ways you can support your arch. By now, you have four posts that will soon be connected by an arch at the top. You’ll want to use other pieces of PVC pipe or even lattice to help support the sides of your arch. 

You can use connectors along the length of your arches to make inserting supports easier. Either way, put a pipe between the other two pipes on the side to help keep its shape. 

You can also attach lattice if you want. It helps hold the arch together and it looks great!

Step Seven:Add the Arch

Now that your sides are build up and properly supported, it’s time to add the arch. Depending on the thickness of your PVC pipe, you might need to heat it to get it to bend. However, most sizes will bend without an issue. 

Put one end of the pipe into the fitting for the arch and carefully bend it to fit into the other. Before securing it, make sure to slide the connectors for support pipes onto the arch. You might need to screw the arch in place to keep it from coming loose. 

If you want a flat arch, simply add a five-foot pipe between connectors at the top of the arches. Simple elbow connectors work fine for this application. 

Step Eight:Add Additional Arches

Once this initial arch is finished, you may want to add more arches to create a trellis. To do that, follow the same directions again to connect additional arches to this first one. 

You can also copy this design elsewhere in your garden. If you want multiple arches or need a trellis that isn’t at the entrance, make the same arches again. This helps give your space a uniform look.

Step Nine:Add Wire for Plants

Sometimes, plants need wire to help them climb and thrive. Peas, for example, require some sort of wire. If you need to, this is the point where you’ll add wire over the frame of your arch to coax your plants to climb. 

This step is optional, but it’s important for certain plants!

Step Ten:Decorate

Now you can decorate your garden arch. You can paint it, add different designs, and even make additional structures out of PVC pipe if you’re handy enough. You can put fairy lights along the sides of your arch or fix additional decorations there. 

Why Use PVC Pipe?

While you can make your garden arch out of many different materials, PVC pipe has a few advantages. 

  • It’s inexpensive. PVC pipe is much cheaper than any other material you could use. It’s a fraction of the cost to purchase PVC pipe in comparison.
  • It’s widely available. You can usually find as much PVC pipe as you need at your local hardware store. They can cut it for you. The connectors you need will almost always be available. 
  • It’s versatile. PVC pipe can be used for just about anything. You can shape and structure it to give your garden a unique look. Plus, you can paint it and decorate it to make it unique.
  • It’s weatherproof. Other materials, such as wood or metal, would have to be treated to be resistant to weather. Thanks to its original function in plumbing, PVC pipe is already water-resistant. It won’t rot or require new rust-proof coatings over time.  This is just another way it saves you money.
  • It doesn’t require maintenance. After you get it set up and ready to go, there is virtually nothing you must do to keep it up. PVC pipe can withstand weather, climate changes, and more. You won’t even have to take it down over the winter.
  • It’s easy to use. Finally, PVC pipe is extremely easy to use. Anyone with household tools and a little bit of ingenuity can create so much using PVC pipe. The connectors and different pipe lengths make it easy to use your imagination. Plus, it’s easy to cut and bend to make different structures. 

Where to Buy PVC Pipe

PVC pipe is inexpensive and easy to find. Most big-box hardware and home improvement stores will have PVC pipes. Most of these stores will have a host of different lengths, diameters, and connector types. 

If you don’t have a hacksaw, or you’d prefer not to cut the pipe yourself, most hardware stores will do this for you. You can take your measurements to the store with you. Most will be happy to cut pipes down to the size you need. 

Make sure that you’re buying connectors that fit the diameter of the pipe you’ll be working with. The pipes must fit together snugly for any PVC pipe construction to work. 

Final Verdict

With some basic skills and equipment, you can dress up your garden with a beautiful garden arch. It’ll be great for your plants. With a little decoration, your garden will look stunning no matter what time of year it is.