A vine arching over a gate adds visual appeal to the yard.

How to Construct a Vine Arch Over a Gate

by Nicole Vulcan

The gate to your yard may have a simple but important function, such as keeping your precious little ones in the yard or pets out of the garden. As practical as it is, there's no reason the gate shouldn't be aesthetically pleasing. A relatively easy way to improve the appearance of your gate is to train vines to arch over it. Such a decoration adds charm and is welcoming to visiting friends and family.

Purchase two 6-by-6 inch posts that are about 30 percent higher than the desired height of your arch. For example, if you want the arch to be 9 feet tall, purchase posts that are 12 feet long. Also purchase a curved piece of wood, or find a piece of curved driftwood to use on top as the arch itself.

Measure in 1-inch along the top of each post and mark a horizontal line with a pencil. Then measure 4 inches down the top side of the post, on the same side as the 1-inch mark, and make another horizontal line. Then use a hand saw to cut a notch in each post, 1-inch deep and 4 inches down the post.

Dig with a post hole digger two holes into the ground on each side of the gate, about six inches from the gate's support posts. The holes should be dug to a depth that is 30 percent of the arch's height. If your arch is roughly 9 feet, you'd dig holes 3 feet deep.

Place a 4-by-4-inch post into each hole, with the notched side up and the notch facing the outside of the gate. Fill the remainder of the hole with quick-setting concrete. Hold a level against each post to ensure it's level as it dries. Then nail a 6-foot, two-by-four about halfway up each post, resting the boards against the ground to act as braces that hold the posts in place as they dry. Allow the concrete to set.

Remove the braces from your posts by pulling out the nails with the claw end of a hammer.

Cut your horizontal 2-by-6 inch board to about 12 inches longer than the distance between the outside of the newly set posts. If you're using driftwood, it might look awkward if it's cut in any way, so for that choice you should use a piece that is already of a length that will span the two posts, ideally with a little overhang.

Place your horizontal board into the notches at the tops of your post, and secure the board to the post with a drill and 2-inch screws.

Churn up the soil using a shovel or pitchfork just outside the newly-set posts to prepare it for planting. Choose fast-growing vines. If your new arch is in a somewhat shady area, a viable option U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 5 to 11. is Golden Clematis (Clematis tangutica). For a sunny or partly-sunny spot in USDA zones 5 to 9, consider Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans) or Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris).

Items you will need

  • Measuring tape
  • 6-by-6 inch posts
  • 2-by-6 inch board
  • Hand saw
  • Post hole digger
  • Quick-set concrete
  • Two-by-Fours
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Drill
  • 2-inch screws
  • Shovel or pitchfork


  • The benefit to having new posts on the outside of your existing gate posts is that when your vines start to grow, you won't have to spend time trimming them to allow you to open and close the gate. However, if that setup is not going to work for you and your gate's support posts are made from wood, another option is to use metal tie plates to add additional round or square 4-by-4-inch posts to the tops of your gate posts, and then to build the horizontal feature as described above.

About the Author

Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.

Photo Credits

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