Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Build a Garden Arbor Out of Branches and Limbs

branches image by Vaida from

Garden arbors are decorative accessories for your landscape. Build a garden arbor from PVC, copper pipe, treated wood and other building materials. You can also build a garden arbor out of branches and limbs available on your property. Cut green material directly from a willow, alder, birch or bamboo tree for best results. It’s easier to make the garden arbor with pliable branches and limbs.

Cut four sturdy tree limbs about 1 foot longer than the desired height of the garden arbor. Remove any leaves and twigs from the limbs. These are the vertical posts for the arbor. Cut the top of the limbs with a handsaw so that the heights are even.

Sharpen the thickest end of each limb into a point with a hatchet or knife. The points will make the limbs easier to insert into the ground.

Make four starter post holes for the four vertical arbor supports by hammering rebar into the ground. A mallet helps to hammer the rebar. Separate two holes 1 to 2 feet apart for each side of the arbor. Space the two sets of holes to match the desired width of the arbor.

Cut tree branches to span the horizontal space between each set of limb posts on the side of the arbor. Plan to space the tree branches between 4 and 6 inches apart for the height of the arbor. Each side of the arbor will resemble a ladder.

Drill matching holes on each set of arbor posts for the branches. Some holes will need to be bigger than others so that the branches will fit inside the limbs.

Insert the branches inside the holes in the limbs to create the sides of the arbor. Tie each branch to the limb with hemp string in a figure eight to secure the branch in place. Insert the sharpened ends of the post limbs at least 12 inches into the ground.

Cut two limbs similar in thickness to the arbor posts to span the width between the arbor sides. Remove any leaves from the green limbs. These are the top cross beams for the arbor.

Drill holes to fit the limbs in the top of the arbor posts. The holes should be facing each other across the width of the arbor. Insert the limbs into the holes, then tie hemp string around the post and the cross beam in a figure eight. Attach one limb across the two front posts and one across the two back posts.

Cut branches to fit across the top cross beams of the garden arbor. Remove the leaves and twigs from the branches. Drill matching and facing holes to fit the branches along the length of the cross beams. Insert the branches into the holes, then tie them securely with hemp string in a figure eight.

Garden Guides