• Making snazzy re-purposed garden arches

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    Making arbors from repurposed doors and more!

    Garden arches are a classic addition to any garden and can divide a space, create an ‘entrance or gate’ or just be a focal point.  These gardeners have taken the typical garden arch a few steps further by using recycled or re-purposed materials. It’s true Flea Market Gardening style! Here are arbor projects from doors, twig, windows and wire.

    Jean Sammons’ Door Arbor

    Jeanne Sammons' original door arbor started it all on Flea Market Gardening

    Jeanne Sammons’ original door arbor started it all on Flea Market Gardening

    Jean Sammons first made this arch from two old doors and some 2×6’s and posted it on our Facebook page. She planted pink roses and white cleome and hydrangea next to it and created a bit of ‘Jeanne-ius’ in her garden,…a real focal point!

    Back view of Jeanne Sammons' door arbor

    “Here’s a view from backside…that’s a “Quick Fire Hydrangea” I planted in ’07 by the metal shed…it flowers white, then pink, then red…a great bush’

    She got the idea, she says, ” from a Country Sampler (May 2006) article about a guy who built one for entrance to herb garden…we changed it a bit…he used 2×4’s for rafters…and different pane window openings.”

    Door Arbor Mandevilla

    Door Arbor Mandevilla

    “And here’s the beautiful Mandevilla bushy plant up close…I am in awe that it grew for me here in Iowa! I baby it and give it water every day, as I was told.”

    Jeanne used exterior paint and there is no glass in the windows she says, “Yes, I’m sure nature will take it’s toll eventually…just the other day I noticed that part of one door has started to come apart …so will need some TLC.”


     Cheryl York’s Arbor

    Cheryl York's door arbor

    Cheryl York’s door arbor

    Cheryl York found several doors awhile ago and decided to begin her own door arbor project. She says, “I can’t wait to see them finished..here is a picture of them so far.”


    More door arbors for the garden:


    Brenda Krantz's door arbor into a secret garden.

    Brenda Krantz’s door arbor into a secret garden


    Door arbor How To

    Sue Gerdes also made a door arbor and shows the steps below.

    Sue Gerdes' door arch in process

    Sue Gerdes’ door arch in process

    I painted it yellow and white and then dry brushes some burnt umber color onto it.

    Door arch set up in Sue's daughter's garden

    Door arch set up in Sue’s daughter’s garden

    It went to my daughter’s home…  This is the sign she put on her new arbor….

    Gentle wording over arch

    Gentle wording over arch

    Robin flying

    Deb Brazuk was inspired also and built her door arbor

    Deb Brazuk was inspired also and built her door arbor

    Deb Brazuk says, “My neighbor was giving away 2 old doors. So with a little recycled lumber from my daughter’s deck, I have a new place to sit and enjoy my garden. I’ll have to do something to protect the wood but I haven’t decided what yet.”

    How to make a Twig garden Arbor

    Sue Gerdes also made a fabulous arbor from twigs and branches. She tells us, “We have tree shelter belts nearby so hubby chain sawed the branches the size I needed.

    Sue's twig archway,..this photo shows the construction

    Sue’s twig archway,..this photo shows the construction


    Sue Gerdes' Morning glory twig arch

    Sue Gerdes’ Morning glory twig arch

    I made pilot holes with a drill bit so the wood wouldn’t crack, then inserted long screws, (hardest part is finding straight branches) and buried it into the ground about a foot…I replace this every 6 years or when it needs it. Never throw the old one away I put them in the back yard after cutting off the rotten wood that was in the ground. They make small arbors for my birdhouses. This is my “before” picture of the morning glories. They need to be cleaned up before the reseed themselves and before Fall/Winter.


     Jeanne’s Wire Arbor from wire fence

    Jeanne Sammons made a simple and sturdy garden arbor from a humble hog panel.  Hog panels are 16 feet long by 34 inches high wire fence panels. They’re around $15-$25 each at farm suppl and hardware stores.
    Jeanne says, “This is the ‘before’ picture of the ‘hog panel’ arbor shaped by my husband and me a year or so ago… One hog panel, 4 short steel fence posts and three bittersweet plants, male and female…it’s going strong now three years later”

    Jeanne Sammons' hog panel arch

    Jeanne Sammons’ hog panel arch

    “These old panels have been lying around for years now here…so my husband used some for my compost gate…and I saw this idea somewhere and we went with it…steel fence posts for grounding it. They hold in ‘hogs’ when pens are built, so they are really strong. This is only one hog panel, bent and anchored down with steel fence posts.  We had to do a lot of bending, shoving and I stood in the middle of it flat on the ground for a bit while he pushed and shoved!” Jeanne laughs.


    Jeanne wire arbor, before and after

    Jeanne wire arbor, before and after

    I planted it with bittersweet…so I call it my ‘Bittersweet Arbor’ now …the picture on the right was just taken in Nov. 2011. So if you need a sturdy arbor, watch for these at sales or even new ones dollar-wise are not real expensive!   I harvested my first bittersweet in November!   American bittersweet, Celastrus scandens, is planted for its clusters of colorful fruit in the fall.

    Looking up at the bittersweet vines on the wire grid arch.  "Success!" Jeanne says, the vine has finally taken off!

    Looking up at the bittersweet vines on the wire grid arch.

    “For 2 yrs. it’s been overflowing the panel with foliage!  “Success!” Jeanne says, “the vine has finally taken off! I am so happy!  This picture shows the vines on it close-up.”

    Miss Mouse

    Tawra’s Garden Arbor from Windows

    Tawra Kellam, her husband Mike and 4 children live in Colorado. She runs the website on frugal living tips, Living On A Dime® , with her friend, Jill. One category of topics is on gardening.

    Tawra Kellam's arbor from recycled windows

    Tawra Kellam’s arbor from recycled windows

    She says, “I have two things that I just love! Picket fences and old windows.  Ever since we were married almost 16 years ago, I have wanted a cute little house with a white picket fence. I know it sounds corny but gardening is my passion! I especially love cottage gardens so the fence was always a dream of mine.


    Window arbor construction for Tawra's archway

    Window arbor construction for Tawra’s archway

    I also LOVE old windows. When my brother remodeled his house, I made sure hubby brought home all the leftover old windows from the 1920′s. He and my brother just shook their heads all the way back home! I’ve done several other things with my old windows.”

      Arbors are garden ‘bones’

    Twig arch in Fall

    Twig arch in Fall

    Sue Gerdes says about her twig arch, “This is my “after” picture…after I trimmed back the morning glory…the arbor now is something I will get to see all winter and covered with snow. They say you need great bones (in your garden) to have a pretty yard in the winter…these little things around your yard are bones.

    It is interesting to see how your yard changes from season to season. I think the change is beautiful and necessary. Time for seeds to be gathered and leaves to fall and everything is slowly go to sleep until it awakes in Spring.”



    Share and Enjoy


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.


    1. Nell Howard Stelzer says:

      I love the article and great arbors featured ! I would love to do one but I need to figure the best spot for it.

    2. Nanette says:

      Absolutely great. Question on arbors made from doors/windows. I see how the wire and branch arbors are anchored. How are the door/window arbors anchored? We can get some pretty good winds/storms here in Nashville.
      Thanks to all for the great ideas. Went Goodwill “buy it by the pound” warehouse and found all sorts of good junk to plant in, for minimum$$$. Gonna have fun today!

      1. Jeanne Sammons says:

        Nanette … my hubby had some scrap L-shaped ‘brackets’ that he screwed into thebottom ‘edge’ of the doors’ back …you can see them in the ‘backside’ photo … then used a long metal stake with a ‘U’ shape & pounded it into the ground …also the doors are sitting on patio block which has helped with stability, too, since there is no ‘floor’ to this arbor ..the 4 braces at the roof top has helped stabalize it tremendeously, too! We get good winds here also …but some protection w/pines … been out there since June 09 & we just looked @it today …it needs some touch-up painting & the top of one door is splitting apart some so my hubby said some caulk & a clamp to pull it back tog will probably get us a few more years! Hope this helps.

    3. Becky Shaul Norris says:

      I am in awe of all these gorgeous arbors. I finally have a door arbor made from french doors just like Jeanne Sammons arbor. I am now fninishing up on all the plantings around the arbor and will make some pictures then. Ithink that once I get Cleome to grow it will look identical to Jeanne’s. I planted grape vines on either side of mine and hope that one day it will cover this arch. They say for vines, the first year they sleep, the second year they creep and the third year they leap, so maybe by next year it will be covered by grapes.
      In answer to the question from Nanette about grounding the arbor, We put large pieces of angle iron into the ground beside each door panel and once they were hammered deeply into the ground, we screwed the posts to each side of the door. Hope this helps and I hope all of you are able to have gorgeous arches like Jeanne Sammons, Sue Gerdes and the others.

      1. Jeanne Sammons says:

        Becky …I know your door arbor area will be gorgeous! That sounds so cool planting grape vines! Looking forward to seeing your photos this Spring/Summer! I love Cleome, too! Hope it grows great for both of us this year! Thanks, Becky!

    4. Myra Glandon says:

      Loved the arbors. I scored 4 six panel solid wood doors Tuesday morning on the way to work. I am trying to decide how to use them. Jeanne’s arbor has been inspiring as well as an arbor I found on pinterest.

      Loved the story and pic.

      1. Jeanne Sammons says:

        Great score, Myra! If you decide on an arbor, I know it will be fabulous …. as your other garden projects! I am still so in awe of your Cornzebo!!! Thanks, Myra!

    5. pat rice says:

      i love your ideas

    6. […] Door arbors will add a touch of whimsy to your yard, and add to your country decor. […]