How to Build an Arbor in your Home Garden

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How to Build an Arbor in your Home Garden

How to Build an Arbor in your Home GardenHow to Build an Arbor in your Home Garden

Garden Arbor

A garden arbor can be a great landscaping feature in any garden. Having said that, to construct one of your own, it’s going to require a great deal of patience and a level of skill and dexterity. In this article, we will look at a simplistic design for your own garden arbor, and how you can construct this feature to add something to your garden.

What You Will Need

Firstly, you should consult your local planning authority. There is a fair chance that there may be some regulations governing what you can and cannot build in your garden. You should make sure that you make contact with your local authority before you begin, to avoid potential problems later down the line.

After you have ensured you’re permitted under local regulations to build your garden arbor, you should consider planning your project, and the materials you’re going to require. You’ll require lumber, sufficient to construct supports and cross-beams for your arbor.

Additionally, you’ll need concrete to fill your foundations and give the structural support to your arbor, and a variety of brackets, nails, and screws to secure your construction in place.

You might also want to think about drawing some architectural plans to keep you focused on the job. That way you can take a step by step, the logical route to building your arbor. Now you’ll be ready to begin your construction.

The Steps

Firstly, dig foundations for your garden arbor. Take care not to underestimate the depth of your foundations, as this will naturally be the bedrock of your project. Be generous with your foundations, to avoid complications later in the construction.

Next, insert your vertical supports, ensuring as far as possible that they are perfectly upright. This can be achieved with minimal effort and a spirit level. Fill with your concrete mix and allow ample time to dry. Meanwhile, repeat the procedure for your other vertical support, and allow to dry for a few days to be safe.

Then you can begin to insert your cross beams. It is merely a case of using your judgment and discretion as far as sizing your garden arbor is concerned. When cutting your beams, it’s always a good idea to make them slightly longer than you anticipate to allow a margin for error. As long as you ensure you sand them down to the appropriate size afterward, to ensure consistency, and avoid making the project any more difficult.

Next, attach the brackets to the underside of your cross beams and secure the beams in place. Finally, generously apply some weatherproof coating to varnish to finish, and you’ll have your completed structure!

Constructing a garden arbor is one of the more challenging DIY projects you can undertake. However, with some skill and focus, it needn’t be beyond the reach of even a moderately experienced DIY enthusiast. If you feel as if you require some more direction, get everything down on paper, including your sizes.

Do the math, and calculate what you’ll need, before getting it down on paper – this can be a great help for many of the less experienced among us, and can really aid the construction process. Don’t worry too much about the project. If you take your time, and think everything through logically, applying the above steps, you should find the process relatively straightforward, and you should end up with a beautiful garden arbor which you can truly be proud of.

Building an Arbor

Building an arbor to compliment your landscaping can be intimidating; however, once this project is dissected a bit, you will quickly realize how simple it can be! Building an arbor will be an amazing addition to the aesthetic of your garden, and will serve as a great introduction to do-it-yourself landscape construction. Take your arbor-building, following this guide, and see for yourself how simple this project can really be!

Organize your supplies

It goes without saying that you cannot construct your arbor before collecting and organizing your supplies! Building an arbor requires the following items:

  • Four 10-foot pressure-treated 4x4s
  • Ten 8-foot pressure-treated 2x4s
  • Two bottles of weather-proof glue
  • Five pounds of galvanized deck screws
  • Twenty 8-foot pressure-treated lattice strips
  • 1 pound galvanized #8 finishing nails
  • Weatherproof putty
  • Two 10-foot 5/4-inch pressure-treated deck boards
  • Two pressure-treated arches
  • One 6-foot pressure-treated 1×6
  •  Gravel
  • Four 40-pound bags of concrete mix
  •  Sandpaper
  • Primer and Exterior Paint (Optional)
  •  Paintbrush

Simple Step #1: One side at a time!

Building an arbor should be done one side at a time. Take your pressure-treated 2x4s, and install them on two of the 4x4s, by making a mortise (a hole, slot or another opening that allows one fixture to fit into another) and tenon joint (a projection extending from the end of a board usually specifically cut to fit a mortise).

Use carpenters framing square to make sure the structure is square, and glue all joints using your weatherproof glue. Secure the joints permanently with deck screws, and apply clamps over the joints, and allow them to rest and dry overnight. Repeat this procedure with the other side, and allow it dry as well.

Simple Step #2 Bring on the lattice!

In order to construct your panels, you will need to either bring out your table saw or router skills. If you don’t have experience using these tools, consider seeking the help of a friend or professional. When creating the lattice panels while building your arbor, first use your ripper to create wood channels that will hold the lattice in one of your 2x4s.

The channel should be 1 ½ inch and cut to fit the corner posts appropriately. Using your table saw or router cut a dado (A groove cut into a board or panel, across the grain) into the ripped portion of your 2×4. Your dad should be twice as wide as the width of your lattice, to give a little extra room when sliding your lattice strips in for installation.

Install the channels into the corner posts and side rails you constructed the day before, and secure once again with deck screws. Once installed, cut the lattice strips so that they touch the bottom of the dado. How you install your lattice is up to you; use your creativity to create a pattern that pleases your eye, and secure again with deck screws.

Step #3: Creating an arbor

This is perhaps the trickiest part of building an arbor. It can be a bit complex to create, and consulting a contractor or mill-worker; or even purchasing one ready made. This will save not only time but probably frustration too!

Step #4: Assemble your Arbor

Once you have your arch, create tenon joints at the top of all four corner posts and secure with one of the corner posts. Secure with glue, and permanently join with decks screws. Repeat this procedure with all four sides, and repeat the procedure of clamping and drying overnight once again.

After 24 hours of drying time, apply 1×6 pressure-treated pine, using glue and nails to secure it in place. Fill the nail-holes with weather-proof putty. Insert your top rails now; which have been ripped from 2x4s to accommodate the size of the holes in the arches. Once inserted, secure with deck screws, apply putty to all holes, and sand. If you plan on painting your arbor, now is the time to do it.

Step #5: Install your creation!

Dig holes in a carefully selected location: You do not want to move this arbor after it has been installed! Have a helper assist you in holding the arbor in place while pouring 6-8 inches of gravel into the post holes. Rock the arbor back and forth to assist it in settling, and leveling. Once the desired height is achieved, and you have made sure it is level, pour concrete into the holes. Allow the concrete to dry for approximately two days, and take pride the work you put into building an arbor.

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