5 Garden Bridges You'll Love for Your Own Home

Red bridge with pond
Lisay / Getty Images

Garden bridges that adorn yards and gardens are rarely about function. The minor obstacles found in most yards are easily surmounted with an easy hop or by walking around them. In fact, the irony of garden bridges is that an obstacle is often built so that the garden bridge has a purpose. Garden bridges typically span xeriscaped dry creekbeds and artificial ponds and streams.

Garden bridges can be built from scratch or they can be purchased as a kit that's ready to assemble. Garden bridge kits start around $125 for small, 4-foot decorative bridges and range up to around $3,000 for highly elaborate 8-foot-long bridges with railings, trellises, and flower boxes.

  • 01 of 05

    Garden Bridges That Enhance Curb Appeal

    Wooden Garden Bridge With Slight Hump
    Mark Rosenwald / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    This flagstone, garden pond, and garden bridge combination is well crafted. But what really makes the yard stand out is that the garden bridge is so simple and unassuming.

    Many garden bridges are curved and have elaborate railings reminiscent of bridges in fairy tales. By contrast, this bridge is all about natural simplicity: a slight upward arc and 18 deck boards across two stringers. The bridge blends seamlessly with the garden pathway.

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  • 02 of 05

    Footbridge in Peaceful Garden

    Japanese Garden Bridge
    Ken Sloop / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    This garden has a fanciful lair with its ground-hugging junipers, lovely rockwork, and Japanese maples.

    But what really stands out is the garden bridge across the artificial creek. Stained red, it really pops out as the centerpiece of the gardens. 

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  • 03 of 05

    Simple, Natural-Wood Garden Footbridge

    Simple and Natural Wooden Garden Bridge
    Jocelyn Kinghorn / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    This garden bridge is located at Ilam Gardens, Christchurch, New Zealand. The focus of Ilam Gardens is the azaleas and rhododendrons, so this garden bridge steps in the background to let the flowers and foliage take the spotlight.

    It's also a garden bridge that performs the function of taking people from one place to another place—rare for most garden bridges. Yet the ravine at Ilam Gardens is too deep and steep for visitors to cross, so the garden bridge performs a valuable service.

    The wood is left unstained and unsealed so that the gardens take visual precedence, not the bridge.

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  • 04 of 05

    Unusual Fan-Shaped Footbridge

    Unique Fan Shaped Garden Bridge

    Four Seasons Garden / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    This little bridge is part of a private garden owned by UK's Marie and Tony Newton called the Four Seasons Garden. It's a lovely sanctuary of plantings, innovative hardscapes, and structures, including a hand-built pagoda.

    What really stands out about this bridge:

    • Balusters: The balusters are fan-shaped simply because they look great; no actual functional purpose for this. All-vertical balusters are fine, but these fanned-out ones fit more with the undulating curves of a garden.
    • Railing: Most garden bridges, if they have a railing, will have two railings. Yet since the railings are non-functional in most cases, why not have just one railing? It's a stylistic flourish that distinguishes this garden bridge from others.
    • Color: The dark color matches the pagoda and promotes the yard's overall style.
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  • 05 of 05

    Rustic Garden Bridge

    Garden Bridge

    Jacky Parker Photography / Getty Images

    When the garden itself is natural and untamed, let the garden bridge follow suit. A rustic garden bridge uses untreated, unpainted wood as its main building elements. With a graceful arc, this garden bridge fits well with this natural landscape.

  • Can you buy garden bridges?

    Yes, you can purchase garden bridges that are 4- to 5-foot long that come flat-packed and ready for assembly. These bridges are lightweight and cost from $100 to $300. After that length, prices rise exponentially with the length of the bridge. Most bridges come unassembled.

  • Can you build a garden bridge?

    For little more than the price of lumber and fasteners, you can make your own garden bridge. A straight, simple, 8-foot garden bridge without an upward arc and with no railings can be built for $100 to $200. Incorporating that distinctive arc in a bridge means purchasing wide dimensional lumber, like two-by-twelves, and then cutting arcs out of them.

  • Are garden bridges safe to walk on?

    Not all garden bridges assembled from a kit are meant to be walked on. Some tiny garden bridges are designed to be decorative pieces for yards and are not strong enough to be walked on.

  • What's the best way to maintain a garden bridge?

    By definition, garden bridges are out in the open and exposed to the elements, day and night. Painting a garden bridge is always the best way to keep the wood in good shape. Since that's not always a favored look for gardens, though, treating the wood with a preservative or stain and coating will protect the bridge over time.