How to Build a Garden Arbor for a Backyard Wedding Arch

Build a budget-friendly garden arbor from 2x4s and other inexpensive structural lumber following our easy building plan. This classic wood arbor is beautiful for a backyard wedding arch or just everyday backyard decor! 

A few years back, my sister asked me to build a garden arbor for her backyard wedding. So I got to work designing a classic wood arbor that is easily portable and built with 2x4s and other affordable redwood lumber.

You can see more great 2×4 projects here in our 2x4andMore building plan series — plus this gothic arch arbor and vegetable trellis and outdoor coffee table with built-in drink coolers are favorites of mine.

How to Build a Garden Arbor from 2x4s and Structural Lumber

Get the woodworking plan and templates here, then watch how I built this wood arbor for my sister’s wedding and reception – and be sure to subscribe to our channel for more DIY videos!

See more outdoor wedding DIY ideas here. 

Backyard Wedding Arch Design

My sister gave me this wedding arch inspiration photo to work from: Garden Arbor @remodelaholic 201 2

She trusted me and knew that I would be able to come up with something great.  (Because that’s what #remodelaholic brothers do!)

So I started to look at the inspiration design to see how I could build it. Based on that style, I also knew I wanted a few other features in this wooden wedding arch:

  • portable, to be built in sections and easily assembled at the outdoor wedding site
  • tall enough to stand under for the ceremony, reception, and photos
  • affordable, using inexpensive 2x4s and other structural lumber
  • durable redwood lumber, so we could continue using it after the wedding

I had built a gothic arch vegetable arbor before, so I had some ideas of how I wanted to build this mini pergola style arbor. I started sketching my version and this is what I came up with.

how to build a simple wood garden arbor as a portable wedding arch

As soon as I had a good idea of the design, I built a model in 3d to figure out how I was going to build it.  Given my list of requirements above,   I found that having a top and two side sections was to best option and corbels would end up holding it all together.

If you need benches or other outdoor wedding decor, be sure to check out these ideas!

How to Build a Wood Garden Arbor for a Wedding

how to build a wood garden arbor wedding arch #remodelaholic

Wedding Arch Garden Arbor Dimensions

  • 120″ wide at the top
  • 85″ between outer edges of posts
  • 96″ tall
  • 19″ deep at the bottom, 24″ at the top


All pieces were made of redwood lumber purchased at our local hardware store. This post contains affiliate links. Learn more and read our full disclosure policy here

  • (3) 2x4x8Redwood (ripped down for the trellis pieces)
  • (4) 4x4x8Redwood Posts
  • (2) 2x8x8Redwood (for the corbels)
  • (1) 2x6x6 – Redwood (side bracket/beam support)
  • (2) 2x6x10 Redwood (beams)
  • (4) Post Brackets (This is what we used to attach to deck.  You will have to find out what would work best for your situation.)
  • (50+) 2 1/2″ – Deck Screws
  • (20+) 1 1/4″ – Deck Screws
  • (1) Gal. – Stain ( I stained the pieces first then assembled it.  Pick the color that works best for you.)
  • Wood Glue (I used wood glue to hold the side trellis pieces together.


*If you don’t have a table saw, you could alternately use 2x2s, 1x2s, or even smaller square dowels. Those aren’t as readily available in the redwood lumber, though, so ripping the material down was my preferred option.

Steps to Build a Wood Wedding Arch Garden Arbor

Purchase the woodworking plan with cut list and dimensions here in the shop.


1: Cut Out All The Pieces

Start by cutting out all the pieces as listed in the woodworking plan and shaping any ends.  Print the included template or sketch out the pattern on some card stock, cut out the pattern and transfer it on the ends of the top trellis board.  Then cut it out using a jigsaw.

jigsaw to cut curves of 2x4 arbor wedding archAfter it is cut to shape, sand it with an orbital sander.  (I prefer to also sand the edges round for a softer look.)

cut and sand curved wood pieces for wedding arbor arch
After shaping all four ends of the top trellis beams, rip the trellis pieces to size (listed in the building plan) using a table saw. (I highly recommend my new table saw workbench for making cuts like this!)
After ripping to the two different widths, cut all the pieces to length according the the sizes listed in the building plan.
rip a 2x4 wood arbor wedding arch
Next, cut out the four corbels.  Draw out all the edges on the 2×8 board as shown in the woodworking plan (or use the corbel template from the plans.) To draw the arch, screw the corbel board to another longer board, centered.
how to use a string line to draw a curved wood garden arbor for a backyard wedding arch
Then use a chalk line (or string) connected to a center screw (as shown) and a pencil to draw a nice smooth arch from each end point on the pattern.
how to calculate and draw a curve for a garden wedding arch arbor
Then cut out the pattern with a jig saw and circular saw.
how to cut an arch for a garden wedding arbor
Creating a curved arch on a simple wood arbor for a backyard wedding arch
Finish up your cuts by sanding all the edges smooth.
cut and sand 2x6 for wood garden arbor wedding arch

2: Stain

Now is the easiest time to stain all the pieces, before assembling.

3: Assemble the Arbor Side Sections

Build the side trellis group for each side. I used a combination of wood glue and screws for a secure hold.
how to build an arbor from 2x4s
Next, attach the top side bracket — spacing and measurements listed in the building plan.
building a garden arbor wedding arch
Then attach the side trellis to the side posts.  Repeat for the opposite side of the arbor.
building a garden arbor using 2x4s

4: Assemble the Top Trellis Section

Now it’s time to build the third section of the garden arbor: the top trellis.  Lay out the shaped beams on their ends. Pre-drill holes on the trellis boards, to avoid splitting at the ends. Mark out the spacing of the trellis boards and screw them to the top of the beams with 2 1/2″ deck screws.
how to build a mini pergola arbor for a backyard wedding arch
Repeat until all the trellis pieces are attached, to look like this:
build a ladder trellis pergola arbor top

5: Assemble the Garden Arbor

Now it’s time to put the whole garden arbor together! Assembling the pieces separately and using the corbels to hold the arch together makes it really easy to move to a new location and assemble on-site at a wedding.
First, lean the top and side sections on their sides.

how to build a portable garden arbor wedding arch

Square these sections with one another, then drive two screws through the front of the beam into the post.
simple wooden wedding arbor tutorial
Screw both sides together at the top on one side. Have a buddy help stand up the arch, then screw the other side together.
how to build a 2x4 wood garden arbor for a backyard wedding arch
Before attaching the corbels, make sure everything is square. Measure the distance at the top of the posts, the bottom of the posts, and the two diagonals.

how to build a garden arbor and check for square

To attach the corbels, drive two screws in through the back of the corbel to the beam.
attaching a curved cross-piece to the backyard wedding garden arbor
Then screw the corbel into the post. Pre-drill a hole through the bottom, at an angle, and attach it to the post with a deck screw.
how to build a wood garden arbor as a portable wedding arch
There you have it.  This is what it looks like all built together.
2x4 Garden Arbor, Wood Wedding Arch

Installing a Garden Arbor on a Deck

My sister didn’t have a place for it after the wedding, so the garden arbor came to live on our deck:
how to build a wood arbor as a backyard wedding arch, portable and simple to build
We attached it using brackets like this:
how to attach a wood garden arbor to a wood deck
This is where it stayed until recently when we changed things up and added a different style of deck structure.  You can see that post here, if you haven’t seen that yet.
Garden Arbor@Remodelaholic 46
It even looks amazing in the snow.
Garden Arbor@Remodelaholic 45

So what do you think of our garden arbor?  Will you be building one for a wedding?  Where will you be putting yours?

Click here to purchase the garden arbor wedding arch woodworking plans. 

October 2019: Reader Daniel B. sent us this photo of the arch he built for his sister’s wedding ceremony at the picturesque Castle in the Clouds in Multonburough, NH. Such a dreamy setting for a beautiful location wedding!

Portable White Wedding Arch Built By Daniel B 9oct19, Plans From Remodelaholic

If you’ve built something using one of our plans, we’d love to see photos! Email us at or tag #imaremodelaholic on Instagram. 

See more 2×4 and More projects using inexpensive 2x4s and other structural lumber — we love showing off the versatility of readily available lumber. We even hosted a #2x4andMore Challenge with fellow bloggers to show the variety of projects you can build with basic boards — see all of the projects (and share yours) here. 

Check out all of the other 2×4 and More Challenge posts here:

How To Build A Garden Arbor For A Backyard Structure Or Outdoor Wedding | This garden arbor is designed to be easily taken apart and transported, perfect for a wedding or other event. Plus, it uses readily available lumber sizes so it's easy to build on a budget to look great at an event and then in your backyard. Get the building plans plus video tutorial at

Originally published 01 July 2017. Republished 22 July 2019. 
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Lorene has been behind the scenes here at Remodelaholic for more than a decade! She believes that planning projects and actually completing them are two different hobbies, but that doesn't stop her from planning at least a dozen projects at any given time. She spends her free time creating memories with her husband and 5 kids, traveling as far as she can afford, and partaking of books in any form available.

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  1. Oh gosh… what a lovely project! So impressed you were able to keep track of all the angles… mine would have been completely off kilter. 🙂 Thanks for organized this fun challenge! xx

  2. This is so beautiful, it looks fantastic with snow on it. I’d love to have one of these on my side yard as it’s the perfect size for that space.

    Thanks for hosting the challenge and giving me the courage to build my first piece of furniture 😀

  3. I’ll be getting started on this soon for my son’s wedding in September! Thanks for the great design and details!

  4. Are the plans for the garden arbor still available? Looking forward to building the arch for my son’s wedding next month. Thanks!

  5. Thank you for sharing these plans. We are in the process of getting the materials to build this for our wedding and have a couple of questions. Are there 2x6x10’s that are needed but not included in the materials list? How long were the 2×4’s that you used? On the corbels, what is the length from point to point (lengthwise) and what is the length from the top of the board to the points at the bottom (the bottom of the arches)? Thank you for your help?

    1. Jennifer, the 2x6x10’s are for the top trellis of 120″ long. I had some wrong numbers in the cut list that were confusing but I fixed them. The 2×4’s are for the top trellis pieces that you have to rip in half. The corbels are about 32″ long. Send us a photo after you get it done. We would love to see it. Sorry about the delayed reply.

  6. This is a really good looking arbor, but there are some errors in your materials list and cut list. As a result there was another trip to the lumber yard for 3 2x6s. We had a finished product that was not a wide as your diagram as we didn’t figure it out until we had already made decorative cuts and didn’t want to pay for another pair of 2x6s of cedar, as they are spendy.

    The top trellis beams are 2×6 (5 1/2″ x 1 1/2) and are not included in the materials list. Although the beams are on the cut list and as (2) 96″ x 5 1/2″ x 1 1/2″, the diagram shows the top beams to be 120″.

    The Top Side Brackets are also missing from the materials list which also would add a 2×6 (5 1/2″ x 1 1/2).

  7. Hello, thank you for sharing all of your ideas/plans w/ us DIY’ers!
    We are going to be building 2 of the arbors(w/ slight mods) for a rose garden. Looking at the plans it seems that the cut list has a typ-o. The “top trellis beams” need to be cut to 120″ not 96″. Based on your drawing, those beams measure 120″.

  8. Good Evening,
    We are in the process of building the Arbor. But we noticed, thankfully before we cut wood, that the top rails are the wrong size on the materials cut list. But yet I’ve noticed many comments above with the same problem. Stating you will update the plans and fix the dimensions. Well…It’s not fixed yet! And we did pay money for these plans. We still got the old plans. Frustrating:/

  9. Hi – I ordered the DIY Garden Arbor & Trellis plans, to build one for my daughters’ upcoming wedding (3 weeks). The one thing I’m not seeing is a plan for finishing the ends of the beams. I watched the video also, but likewise didn’t see how he cut the original piece. Is there a template or something I’m missing that shows how to layout the cut for the beam ends?


    1. Hi John, Thanks for the comment. On page 6 of the plans, the photos of step 1 show the shape that Justin used for the ends of the beams. He traced the shape he wanted onto cardstock and then traced it onto each end of the boards. We don’t currently have a template available, but I will put it on our list!

    1. Hi Dan — I just emailed you 🙂 so check your inbox and please reach out if you don’t see the message from us.