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Garden arch dilemma

Hello again,

I've come a cropper. Spent all day building my new garden arch (laboriously on my own). Carefully picked out to be the right width for the steps down from my patio to the garden, very limited choices because of this, and without spending an arm and a leg I settled on this: 

The trouble is, whilst the width is perfect, I've realised by placing it at the bottom of the steps the arch itself will appear low in height from the patio. It's 2.1m tall, but presumably I need to dig it 30cm into the ground, so 1.8m really. I haven't cemented it in because I'm not sure what to do now. Will it look weirdly short from the patio? Will my head whack the top on the way down the steps?! Or am I over thinking it and people put these at the bottom of steps all the time and it will be just fine? Any thoughts on what might be a better spot for my specifically wide arch?

I've attached a photo of the spot it's going for reference. Old photo, lots more herbaceous beds either side now, but for the steps look the same

Thanks for your thoughts :)


  • hogweedhogweed Central ScotlandPosts: 4,053
    Depending on how wide your steps are, I think there may be a problem with whacking your head on it when going down them if you intend to concrete it in. Your patio is around 18 inches higher than the grass? so when you are standing on the patio you will be above the level of the top of the arch. Try it and see before you go any further. To get round the problem, what you need to do is either 'extend' the legs so that you can concrete them in, or fix the back two legs of the arch to the brickwork. That would be the easiest solution and still give you the full 2.1m height.
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,148
    That's a pity.
    Could you use some of those metal spikes which you can concrete in? The posts then slot in to the square top section, and it would be much higher than if you concreted it directly. 
    Any of the spike which is above ground can easily be covered with some ground cover planting.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • ErashaErasha Posts: 52
    Thanks Hogweed,I've just done a rough check in the dark, the patio is around 32 inches above the lawn 😟 I had considered securing to the wall at ground level, but would only be the back two posts, so the front two will be freestanding. It's very exposed and windy in my garden, do you think that will be ok?
    My other thought was to place the arch at the top of the steps, but to grow anything over the arch itself, i'd need to then use pots which I imagine will restrict growth. I also think it might look awkward from the lawn ..
    Alternatively, does anyone know a way of safely/securely adding height at the base of the arch?
  • ErashaErasha Posts: 52
    Oh just seen your reply Fairygirl, yep that's the other option I'm considering, will at least keep it at 2.1m, but I'm just not sure even that's enough now .. 
  • FireFire North LondonPosts: 17,116
    edited March 2020
    Can you return the arch and get a higher one? Or make a v shaped roof instead of a flat one with other wood? No headroom issues then.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,148
    I think the drawback of a taller one [if there even is one] is that it'll then look daft.
    Something that height would need to be bigger in each direction - more of a pergola than an arch. It's a question of balance.

    I'd be inclined to rethink the location if it was mine  :/
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 7,133
    ..this is not a problem, I've placed a rose arch about the same as yours at the base of very similar steps... all you do is bring the arch out a bit, that is towards the camera just a couple of feet from the lowest step.. by the time you reach the bottom step you will be well underneath the arch...  unless of course you are Peter Jones from Dragon's Den..
  • owd potterowd potter teapot townPosts: 836
    hi @Erasha
    If it was mine, I would be inclined to securely plug and screw the 2 rear legs to the wall and drive 2 extension posts into the soil to fix the front legs to using bolts drilled through both posts and legs.
    From photo, looks like a level at about second step height would work.
    Just another day at the plant...
  • StevedaylillyStevedaylilly Posts: 1,087
    edited March 2020
    Tbh, I can’t see any way to get around the problem with out it looking a bit wrong,  which isn’t what you really want to hear. 
    The only thing I would suggest, which means you will have to disregard the arch you have brought. You could then buy a timber arch instead. This would then mean you could bolt the 4 legs securely to the front and back of the brick piers. The 2 front legs would be longer and the back legs would be shorter to allow this. You can buy timber archways made to non standard sizes so I expect you could request that the legs are different heights to allow this fitting. Then you can paint in to merge in with the brickwork

  • MarlorenaMarlorena East AngliaPosts: 7,133 make the arch higher I would get 4 lengths of rebar, 1 metre length each, cement those in the ground about 30cm depth,  then attach the base of the arch to the rebar.. that way you keep the entire height of the arch... plantings soon cover the base..
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