How to Design Arches and Pergolas

Keep these principles in mind when designing an arch or pergola for your garden space.

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On a long pergola run it is a good idea to create a break — an arch or open doorway — possibly with a bench on which to rest and look out into the garden. These pauses themselves form tension points, creating a tantalizing sense of imminent discovery, inviting you into the open space beyond.

It is essential that the planting is linked, too. At ground level, plants disguise the posts and fill the gaps, while bare beams standing alone, with none of the nearby space hidden, mean that all sense of mystery is lost.

Design Principles:

- Avoid central arches in narrow gardens.
- Pergolas of simple design and strong construction are best.
- Arbors and arches make good focal points, but one is enough in a small garden.
- Introduce movement with walkways, which should always lead somewhere.
- Enclose arches on either side to maintain the mystery of the space beyond.
- Use overhead beams to help create privacy from neighboring windows.
- Treat flimsy structures as temporary features.
- Ensure the scale of the structure is in keeping with its surroundings.

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Arches & Pergolas © 2000 Dorling Kindersley Limited

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