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A garden arch is a structure made of wood, metal, and occasionally stone that often serves to mark the entrance to an outdoor leisure area or a garden path. In some cases, a garden arch is set up in the center of a garden in order to create a focal point. This may be done for aesthetic purposes or for an event such as a wedding or outdoor musical performance. When a garden arch is used as an entrance to a garden, it is usually a simple open portal, but there are cases in which the arch has built-in gates that swing open to allow people through. There are a number of garden arch designs that vary quite a bit in the types of materials that are used and the overall style of the structure.
In the most classic examples, a garden arch has two straight sections on either side and a gently curved arch that tops the structure. There are variations that include a flat-top section, a top that resembles a pitched roof, and a top that is curved to form a very severe arch. There are some cases in which the top section of a garden arch is formed to resemble the roofs that are associated with classic Chinese architecture. The choice of the shape and style of a garden arch is usually directly connected with the overall aesthetic goals of the owner of the garden. Sometimes gardeners will choose arches that can support the growth of climbing vines.
When a garden arch is installed in an outdoor space, it is usually meant to be a permanent structure. This is especially true of arches that are made of stone and in the cases that the arch is meant to support the growth of plants. There are occasions in which an arch is a temporary or mobile structure. There are some companies that rent out structures like garden arches to be used during outdoor events and ceremonies. These kinds of garden arches are designed so that they can be easily assembled and easily broken down and removed from the site.
There are even garden arches that are made of impermanent materials. Outdoor summer weddings, for example, sometimes use garden arches made of balloons to mark the aisle. There have even been cases in which arches have been made out of ice for winter events.