Putting Up The Garden Arch

We have had garden arches before in the garden, at Drovers we had one of those end of the year sale arches that normally cost £20 but we got for £3.99, it lasted for ten years and was still there when we left. We even had some arches made to go across the path to the front door to plant an apple walkway, it was six feet of beauty and taste, when we moved we had to take it down to get the furniture out! We cried. When we came to Pig Row we had one built and it didn't last a decade. It looked lovely, it looked quaint and natural, and rustic. It survived around four years and then rotted; wind and rain took it around the garden, sometimes we find parts of it still in the base of the hedge. This time around, in the new raised bed garden we decided to splash out a little and brought a Tom Chambers Baroque Garden Arch (£49 in the sale - we're not daft, the original price was £119). It's robust, coated stainless steel, it came with an allen key. It was like flat pack for gardeners who hate Ikea.

Garden arch, Tom Chambers

This arch is a little narrower than some of the arches out there, it's around 1 metre wide compared to some at 1.2 and 1.5. The arch has been built to sit in the raised beds. Getting it into the ground was quite easy, it comes with tapered legs that in this part of the garden easily found purchase. This shows you what eight years of adding manure can do to a plot that once had only a five inch top layer of matted grass. Getting the raised beds square with the plot took the longest time - this involved a datum line (this just mean a straight edge or in this case, a piece of string between two poles) that we could measure from either by using a tape measure or just using our eye. Getting the beds level on a hillside is a labour of love and swearing. It took us around an hour to get two beds level with each other and the surrounding ground. Soil was shifted, words were said, many of them filthy and too short in length to reproduce here. 

Raised beds

Then came the building of the arch. This again was like being on the Krypton Factor (for those of you unaware of this programme it involved an assault course, cryptic puzzles, shapes and Gordon Burns), it wasn't the actual construction that was hard, it was finding space to actually build it and then make sure the raised beds married up to the arch. They didn't. Cue words that were four letters long. Out came the spirit level, up went the blood pressure and thirty minutes later in wonderful baking sun we had one arch, two beds and a desire to lie down with a cold drink.

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