How to Build Your Own Plans for a Garden Arbor


Garden arbors make a nice addition to any garden area. Left as is, an arbor can be an extension to a fence. A gate can be added if the arbor is wide enough, giving it a more dramatic look, and grapes or flowering vines can be grown up the sides and over the top. Designing a garden arbor will allow you to create a work of art, a way to express yourself and to provide a decorative element to your garden space.

Step 1

Research arbors online or in catalogs. View some at your local home improvement store. Pay attention to measurements and how the arbors are made. Write down the things that you like, and think about what you want your arbor to look like. Begin thinking about how wide and tall it should be, as well as whether or not you want to add elements such as benches, planters or a gate. Decide on a budget for materials.

Step 2

Start sketching out arbor styles that you like. Come up with as many designs as you can, and look for similarities and your favorite elements of each of your sketches. Add the things that you like the most about your drawings to the list you have started. Look over the list, and decide how you want to go about designing the arbor.

Step 3

Measure the area where the arbor will go, using a tape measure. Pay attention to both width and depth. Decide on any other measurements that define the area, and record these on your paper. Choose the desired height of the arbor as well, keeping in mind not only the height of the people who will use it but whether or not flowers that will grow into vines will adorn the top. Figure for plenty of head space, so visitors will not have to enjoy your arbor in a stooped-over posture..

Step 4

Draw the plans for the arbor out on a sheet of graph paper, using a ruler or straightedge. Remember to include all of the elements that you decided are integral to your design. Keep in mind the measurements that you took. Make sketches of the plans out from various views, like from the sides and the front. Sketch the design for the top of the arbor as well. Add a gate, if desired, to the front of the arbor picture, and planters for the side views. Add benches to the back view, and account for the added depth that they will take up. Use 3-D software for these tasks if it is available. Make a list of the materials that you will need as you are designing the arbor, and use it as a shopping list when working on this project.

Things You'll Need

  • Plain paper
  • Graph paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • 3-D software


  • Backyard Garden Arbors: Designing Your Garden Arbor

Who Can Help

  • Backyard Landscape Ideas
Keywords: build arbor plans, arbor plans, garden arbor plans

About this Author

Shannon Buck is a freelance writer residing in the small town of Milford, Maine. Her work has appeared on several sites including, where she writes The Green Mom column. She has written on many subjects, including home improvement, gardening, low-income living, writing and homeschooling.