Choosing Materials for Arches and Pergolas

Lend a little bit of style to your arch or pergola with these tips for selecting materials that will enhance the natural beauty of any garden space.

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Wrought iron has traditionally been used to form rose arches, arbors, and pergola tunnels, and it is still perfect in the right setting. Plastic-coated tubular steel is the modern equivalent, which can be just as effective, if more flimsy. These light arches have the added benefit of remaining cool in hot climates, which protects the planting.

Stout Squash Requires Sturdy SupportEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Is a Conventional Arch or Pergola for You?

- Such arches have a nostalgic old-world charm, most appropriate in cottage gardens.
- One significant drawback, however, is that they are seldom very sturdy and long-lasting.
- Leaving the bark on round poles achieves a particularly rustic look, but be aware that this will shorten their life.
- Prolong the life of a rustic arch by stripping the bark off the base of the posts and dipping them in preservative before setting them into the ground.
- Rustic arches will not support the weight of heavy climbers such as rambling roses.

Alternative Choices

Reclaimed wood is a useful alternative to freshly sawn wood. Salvage yards stock all sorts of materials, including old beams, already attractively weathered. Machine-rounded poles associate well with decking and waterside gardens, while painted steel poles make a bold statement, particularly when not softened by plants.

Rustic ArchEnlarge Photo+Shrink Photo-DK - Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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