Novel uses for Arches - The Single Arch
Arches are traditionally used in gardens to form entrances and/or exits between various garden areas. They are available in many styles (classical arches, modern arches, Japanese style arches) and sizes to suit all garden designs, and to suit all budgets.
Whilst it is normal for an arch to have obstructions to progress (for instance a hedge or a trellis) on either side so that one is obliged to walk through the arch to follow the route planned by the garden designer - consider the possibility of an original use of an arch in the middle of a grassed or paved area. Initially it seems an odd idea, but give the arch a reason for being there - a seat under it, or an urn of cascading flowers contrasting a rose climbing over the arch and it can look stunning.
An arch on its own at the edge of the same grassed or paved area and given a suitable backdrop can house a statue or even a prized specimen plant such as a standard wisteria.
If you have an unsightly boundary consider masking most of it with plant material but leave a gap for an arch and place a mirror at the back of the arch to reflect the garden. This is particularly effective if you can arrange for a short path to lead to the arch as the path will then appear to lead through the arch to another area altogether.
Finally, if you are able to borrow a view from neighbouring land or distant views, try framing this with an arch, it will make the effect much more dramatic.
Novel uses for Arches II - Multiple Arches
Some excellent effects can be achieved for relatively little money and with little time spent by using a number of arches together. Now is a good time to set out on the design work so that the scheme can be ready for planting up in March.
We have a series of three arches, simply placed one after the other to provide a tunnel where we have a path crossing a flower border in between a patio and the lawn. Honeysuckles and clematis form a colourful and perfumed canopy in the summer.
Any easy pergola can be made by alternating an arch and then a low trellis (say 800 mm) either side, this can be repeated as many times as you like depending on the length of pergola required. If you want more of a tunnel try groups of 2 or 3 arches in between the trellises. Free standing wall trellis can be very effective here, simply staple it to the arch sides.
An arbour can be created by arranging a series of arches in a circle. Plant climbers at the bases of the arches as normal, and where you have an arch that you dont want to use as an entrance to the arbour either allow the climber to trail down to fill the arch in or for a quicker effect plant a shrub or small tree in the middle of the arch. For a really spectacular effect use square topped arches and run a few pieces of 3x2 timber across the top, cover this with some stout chicken wire and allow the climbers to cover the roof as well as the arches. A planting scheme of rambling and hybrid tea roses can be especially suitable, providing long term cover, colour and perfume as long as suitable varieties are chosen.
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