How Make a Beautiful Arch for Climbing Vegetables

, written by Benedict Vanheems gb flag

Squashes dangling from an arch

If you don’t have much space on the ground, it makes sense to train your vegetables and fruits upwards. Arches are a very efficient, not to mention attractive, way of growing vining vegetables such as squashes.

Vegetable Arches

Like any vertical growing method, vegetable arches are a great way to make better use of the space you have. Sprawling vegetables such as squashes can take up a lot of ground, so training them skywards frees up soil space for other crops. Set them up to frame a path or join several arches together to create a stunning living focal point.

Natural materials such as hazel can be flexed and tied together to form a beautiful rustic arch, or use vertical bamboo canes tied together with horizontals for strength, then joined at the top using pieces of plastic PVC piping.

If you already have a garden arch it’s very easy to adapt it for vining vegetables and fruits, which is what we’re going to do.

Ben Vanheems adapting an arch for vining vegetables such as squashes

Making a Vegetable Arch

Our vegetable arch starts with two self-assembled arches made from rust-proof powder-coated steel. They are very easy to put together using the accompanying instructions and can easily be moved or dismantled in the future.

Once assembled, push the completed arches about 16 inches (40cm) into the ground, making sure they’re firmly packed down as they’ll need to be strong on windy days once covered in foliage. If you wish, you can check they are perfectly vertical using a spirit level so that heavy squashes won’t over-balance them. We’re tying our two arches together with cable ties to make the whole structure extra rigid. Add cable ties at each horizontal bar and cut away the excess for a tidy finish.

Attaching wire mesh to an arch to make it suitable for training squashes up

The arch would suffice as it is for pole beans, perhaps with bamboo canes pushed in and tied to the sides for a little extra support. But the squashes we’re planting need more to grip hold of. Galvanized wire mesh is perfect, or you could also use chicken wire or cattle panels. Cut the wire mesh to size using wire cutters. Wear gloves while you’re doing this to avoid any scratches. Attach the mesh with cable ties or heavy-duty garden wire. Secure the mesh at regular intervals along the arch’s horizontal and vertical supports.

The mesh doesn’t quite reach the top of our arch, so we’re going to create additional supports using heavy-duty wire. You could also use thick garden string. Securely tie one end of the wire to the front of the arch then spool out the wire horizontally across the arches, tying it to the middle vertical supports. When you get to the other end of the arch, tie it into position then run it up the support about six inches (15cm). Tie it into place then return to the front of the arch. Tie it in, run it up another six inches (15cm) then head back to the opposite side. Repeat this process until you reach the top of the other wire mesh.

Planting squash to grow up a vegetable arch

We’re now ready to plant and for this arch we’ve chosen a stunning variety of winter squash. By the end of summer it will have completely cloaked this arch and will look incredible.

Add plenty of well-rotted compost to the planting area. Set your squash plants into position and angle the stems towards the mesh. Water them in really well. You may need to loosely tie in the stems to start with, but they’ll soon find their own way up the mesh.

I’m sure you’ll agree that a vegetable arch like this will look just beautiful once it’s covered in luxuriant foliage and dangling fruits. If you’ve got another way of creating vegetable arches or vertical supports, we’d loved to hear about it - please drop us a comment below.

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Show Comments


"What a fantastic article! This has inspired me to create something truly magnificent for a client who has asked me to incorporate growing vegetables in their landscaped garden. A hanging arch would be something spectacular! I'll attached some pictures to our website when I've done it- Thank you! "
Lina on Monday 12 June 2017
"That's brilliant Lina, glad we've inspired you! Let us know how you get on."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 12 June 2017
"Fabulous thanks"
Marianne on Sunday 16 July 2017
"Wonderful idea. What other vegetable would you recommend for this application?"
Debi on Saturday 12 August 2017
"Hi Debi. This would suit any climbing vegetables, including cucumbers, trailing squashes, climbing beans, indeterminate/vining tomatoes (in hotter climates where they'd grow fast), and melons. Anything that grows vertically quickly!"
Ben Vanheems on Monday 14 August 2017
"This is great...I love to garden squash, cucumbers, melons, pumpkins, etc., etc...this is a great idea. I usually loose about 1/2 my crops due to them being on the ground and rotting...problem solved...can't wait to get started. The one thing I would have done different is I would have just cut another piece of the chicken wire and wrapped it over the arch top...instead of all that winding wire stuff...can't wait to get started...thanks for the DIY project during July...worst gardening month in Florida..."
George Grover on Thursday 4 July 2019
"Thanks George. Yes, in retrospect it would have been good to carry on the wire mesh over the top too. I have since done this with another arch I've made and it gives a more consistent result. Hope you're having a successful growing season down in Florida."
Ben Vanheems on Thursday 4 July 2019
"I need a simple design for a raised bed."
Nancy Teng on Wednesday 25 March 2020
"Hi Nancy. No problem. Simply search for 'Gallery' in the search box at the top of the page then peruse hundreds of real gardeners' plans. You can search by type, including raised bed. The simplest raised bed would be around, say 4ft (1.2m) wide and 4-6ft (1.2-1.8m) long. A simple bed like this, filled with good growing medium, could grow a variety of salads, plus perhaps some beans, carrots etc."
Ben Vanheems on Thursday 26 March 2020
"hi there... do you need a particular climbing squash to climb up?.... we just planted ours in the middle of our arche ... thought it needed to spread ? anyway i have subscribed ... we have a veg plan also !! thank you!"
genie on Tuesday 5 May 2020
"Hi Genie. Thanks so much for the kind comments - and so great to have you along! With regards to the climbing squash - any variety of trailing or climbing squash would be suitable for this arch, just make sure it says 'trailing/climbing/climber' in the variety description. If you have a particularly long arch I would recommend planting more than one alongside each side of it, and you'll certainly need at least two plants - one for each side of the arch. Good luck with it and enjoy!"
Ben Vanheems on Tuesday 5 May 2020
"Thank you for taking the time to do this, friendly face and well presented."
ROSAMUND BERNOUD on Thursday 28 January 2021
"Hello I’ve been trying for a very long time to find cattle panels or substitutes in the U.K. without any luck I want to make an arch between a fence and a shed. It’s about 6’ long and need to be about 8’ high. Cattle panels bent would be ideal and strong but as they don’t seem available in the U.K. I’m hoping to find an alternative. Can you please suggest anything. Regards Jane "
Jane Powell on Saturday 21 August 2021
"Hi Jane. Yes, cattle panels don't seem to be available in the UK. I have made an arch using galvanised wire stock fencing instead. Stock fencing is sold in a roll and available through Amazon."
Ben Vanheems on Sunday 22 August 2021
"I really like this article and I' incorporated it into my garden this summer. Thank you."
Kirsten Thompson on Monday 21 March 2022
"This is great. I have an arch that I was wanting to use for climbing veggies! Would you plant differing vining veggie to the same arch? Say squash to go over the top and cherry tomatoes on the outside edges? or other suggestions?"
Tarn on Friday 25 March 2022
"Yes indeed, you could plant different vining veggies on the arch, so long as they were of a similar growth habit so that one doesn't outcompete the other. Squash and vining tomatoes would be a great combination, or squash and climbing beans."
Ben Vanheems on Friday 25 March 2022
"Hi there, would climbing strawberries work on an arch do you think? "
Sonja on Monday 23 May 2022
"Hi Sonja. They wouldn't really be suitable as they don't climb. You could plant them near the base of an arch though, with something else climbing up it - for example, beans, cucumbers, squash."
Ben Vanheems on Monday 23 May 2022
"This is a wonderful article! We are doing something similar this season as an experiment (fairly new to the gardening game). I would like thoughts on this: we have cucumbers x3 growing on the north side, squash growing on the south side x2 and a watermelon plant in the center to grow under. We were planning an arch to go from the north side to the south side of a roughly 4'x6' ground area. How high of an arch would be appropriate for these plants? I notice the arches shown are 5'-6' high. Also, what kind of spacing for the plants? We went off of the suggested spacing on the stickers, but since they will grow mostly vertically could more plants be grown in closer spacing?"
Hunter on Friday 27 May 2022
"Hi Hunter. I hope this isn't too late (it possibly is!). It sounds like you have the spacings broadly about right, though you could possibly squeeze in another squash on the south side to make the most of that space (assuming the walls of the arch are 6' long. For the height, I would aim for something you can comfortably walk under - so 6'-7' high may be better."
Ben Vanheems on Thursday 16 June 2022
"Hi, really like this idea. Should i plant the squashes inside the arch or outside of it? Also should they squashes themselves be encouraged to hang inside the arch?"
Fiona Hebben on Wednesday 19 April 2023
"Hi Fiona. I don't think it matters hugely either way, but I'd be inclined to plant them on the outside of the arch, so you're not accidentally stepping on the plants when you walk through it. The squashes will probably hang on the outside walls, but are likely to dangle down and through the actual arch/roof of the arch."
Ben Vanheems on Wednesday 19 April 2023

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