It is sometimes said that every garden should have an archway. However, whilst this may not be strictly true, it's certainly true that garden arches can have a part to play in many designs. Garden arches come in many shapes, sizes, designs and materials and so consequently they can also have many different uses within a garden.
Uses of Garden Arches Within a Garden Design
One of the most common uses of arches within a garden is as an entrance. This can be an entrance to the garden itself, or often arches can be utilized to create entrances between different areas of a garden. Using the arches a doorways between outdoor rooms creates a sense of progressive realization and a sense of journey within the garden. On a similar theme, they can create a sense of intrigue to a garden visitor. Arches act as a draw to people, drawing people towards the arch to see what lies beyond.
Garden arches provide a vertical element within a garden design, providing a point of differentiation if most aspects of the design are in the horizontal plane. What is more, they provide instant height within a garden. Although planting can ultimately provide height, unless mature (and therefore costly) plants are introduced into a new garden, it will be a number of years before those plants can provide the height that an arch can provide.
When placed appropriately, garden arches can be used to frame a view within the garden - for example framing a focal point such as a statue or water feature. Similarly, garden arches can be used to frame a distant view or vista.
Considerations When Introducing an Arch to the Garden
As well as being practical, useful and attractive within a garden, arches are also one of the easiest features to erect. However, although they may be easy to erect, some consideration does need to be given to the type, style and size of arch to be used - the wrong arch in the wrong place can negatively impact upon the balance of the whole garden design. So what are the main design considerations?
1. Scale / Size
The scale and size of the arch must be in keeping with the garden and surroundings. For example, a huge, gold plated, highly ornate arch would be totally out of place in a modest suburban back garden, whilst conversely a 1m wide wooden garden arch would be lost and insignificant within the vast grounds of a stately home.
2. Unity of Design & Materials
The style & material of the arch must be in keeping with the garden and environment. So, if you are designing and building a cottage garden, a highly contemporary glass and metal structure would look ridiculous. Similarly, if you are building a modern, minimalist garden, you wouldn't want a traditional style wooden archway.
3. Strength / Stability
As well as design considerations, you need to consider what you will be using the arch for - not least, will you be using it as a support for climbing plants? If you are, depending on the plants to be grown, the arch must be sufficiently stable and robust to withstand the weight of plants as big plants with lots of growth can be surprisingly heavy and put significant pressures on the arch below.
So when you're planning and developing your garden, make sure you make space for an arch.
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