A Guide to Using Tube Clamp Handrails in the Garden

Posted: 03 Jan 24

Guide to Using Tube Clamp Handrails in the Garden

Introduction to Using Tube Clamp Handrails in the Garden

Tube Clamps (often referred to as "key clamps", “handrail clamps”, “pipe clamps” or “rail clamps”) are a type of fitting used primarily in the construction of handrails, guardrails, and other types of safety railings.

They are typically made from galvanised steel, which offers durability and resistance to corrosion.

Utilising tube clamps allows for easy assembly of tubular structures without the need for welding, threading, or bolting, making them a popular choice for the DIY enthusiast.

In this article we are going to explore the steps required to safely install a garden handrail, from planning, selecting the right materials, assembling/installing, and troubleshooting common installation problems.


1. Planning Your Handrail Layout

  • Assess Your Needs: Determine where handrails are necessary in your garden. Common locations include around steps, decks, slopes, or any uneven terrain.
  • Measure the Space: Accurately measure the areas where you plan to install the handrails. This will guide you in purchasing the correct lengths of tubing and the number of handrail clamps needed.

2. Choosing the Right Materials

  • Selecting Clamps: Choose key clamps / tube clamps (they’re the same thing!) that are appropriate for the size of tubing you are using. Ensure they are suitable for outdoor use, typically made of galvanised steel or GRP for rust resistance.
  • Tubing Selection: The tubing for your handrail should be weather-resistant. Galvanised steel and GRP are again a common choice. The diameter should be comfortable to grip (usually a 42.4mm or a 48.3mm diameter is best).

3. Assembling Your Handrail

  • Layout Components: Lay out your tubes and clamps on the ground along the route of your intended handrail.
  • Attaching Clamps: Use a suitable tool (like an Allen key) to attach the tube clamps to the tubing. Ensure all connections are tight and secure.
  • Positioning the Handrail: Place the handrail in the desired location. It's important that the handrail is at a consistent height, typically around 900mm to 1000mm above the ground.

4. Installing the Handrail

  • Securing to the Ground: For freestanding handrails, secure the base plates to the ground using concrete or sturdy ground anchors.
  • Attaching to Existing Structures: If the handrail is being attached to existing structures (like a deck), ensure that the connections are strong and able to support the handrail.

5. Safety and Compliance Checks

  • Stability Test: Once installed, do a thorough check for stability. The handrail should not wobble or give way under pressure.
  • Safety Compliance: Ensure that your handrail complies with local safety regulations, especially if your garden is accessible to the public or used by individuals with mobility issues. Check out our guide on DDA handrails for more information on installing handrails for those with mobility issues.

6. Maintenance and Upkeep

  • Regular Inspections: Regularly inspect the handrail for any signs of wear, rust, or loose fittings.
  • Cleaning: Keep the handrail clean, wiping it down to prevent build-up of dirt or rust.

7. Aesthetic Considerations

  • Blending with the Garden: Choose a colour and style that complements your garden’s design. You can even incorporate decorative elements or planters alongside the handrail for an integrated look.

Troubleshooting Common Problems with Key Clamp Handrails

1. Loose Fittings: If the clamps or rails feel wobbly, double-check all connections. Ensure that all screws and bolts are tightened properly. Regularly inspect and tighten fittings, especially after weather changes.

2. Corrosion or Rust: Use rust-resistant materials like galvanised steel. If rust appears, clean the area and apply a rust-inhibitor or touch-up paint as needed.

3. Difficulty in Aligning Clamps: Ensure you have the correct key clamp size for your tubing. Use a level during installation to maintain alignment. If clamps are misaligned, loosen them slightly, adjust, and then retighten.

4. Handrail Height Issues: If the handrail height is inconsistent, re-measure and adjust the placement of your clamps and tubes. Remember, the standard height should be between 900mm and 1100mm above the ground or steps.

5. Difficulty in Cutting Tubes: Use a proper tube cutter or a hacksaw with a fine-toothed blade for a clean cut. Ensure you measure twice before cutting.

6. Difficulty in Securing to Ground: For freestanding rails, ensure you are using the right anchors for your ground type. In softer ground, consider using concrete footings for stability.

7. Handrail Grip Issues: If the handrail is too slippery, especially in wet conditions, consider adding grip tape or using tubes with a textured finish.

8. Handrail Temperature Variations: For cold climates, consider using materials with low thermal conductivity to prevent handrails from becoming too cold.



Using key clamp handrails in the garden is a practical and effective way to enhance safety and accessibility. By following these steps, you can install a durable, functional, and aesthetically pleasing handrail system that blends seamlessly with your garden's environment.

Remember, a well-planned handrail is not just a safety feature; it can also be a stylish addition to your garden's landscape

Need Help? Get in Touch Now!