An arbor adds a beautiful touch to any patio and expands the living space of your garden beyond its borders. A garden arbor is a perfect way to enhance the beauty and landscape of your garden. It can serve as an entrance to the vicinity, a garden shade, and a frame to a particular structure.
You could get an arched structure or a simple one, but whatever you choose, an arbor is going to define your garden and make the gateway look more stylish. If you’re into woodworking, then designing an arbor for your patio will not be a difficult task. A little research on woodworking plans will help you build a beautiful structure for your garden.
How to make an arbor
The best wood to be used for building an arbor is rot-resistant cedar and redwood, but you can also use lumber if cedar is not available. Gather all the materials you’ll need to build the arbor and start testing your woodworking skills on the pieces. If you are not a woodworking expert, you can learn how to make an arbor in just a short while.
Designing a garden arbor of your own can save you a lot of money, and you can also get your desired style of entrance. Do some research and gather different garden arbor ideas from the internet. In this post, we’ll discuss the steps to build an arched arbor. First of all, you have to decide whether you want the posts to be dug into the ground or you want to use post brackets so that the base is firmly standing on the concrete blocks.
You’ll need pressure-treated rot-resistant wood for all the sides except the side trellises. The best wood to be used is cedar and redwood because they go with the weather beautifully. You can also use pressure-treated lumber, pine, or fir. You’ll need:
- Four pressure-treated 4×4 posts of 8′ length.
- Two front and back pressure-treated 1×6 cross pieces of 6′ length.
- Four left and right pressure-treated 1×4 cross pieces of 42″ length.
- Seven top pressure-treated cross pieces of 4 feet length.
- Wood deck screws.
- Two wooden ladder trellises.
- Post hole digger.
- Drill and bits.
- Hand saw.
- Plumb line.
- Pencil for marking points and making lines.
- Safety glasses.
Choose the site and plan the arbor
Choose a particular width and height for the arbor. Decide a particular site and make sure there are no bushes, roots, rocks, or pipes present there. Whether you want longer posts or shorter ones, it all depends on you. If you want a tall arbor, make sure that the base is dug deep into the ground to make a strong base. Take exact measurements of the posts and then dig four 18-inch deep holes to place the posts.
You can use a post hole digger for digging the holes. Use the digger by rotating it into the ground with the handles. After you’ve dug the holes, remove the handles and squeeze the blades. When you pull out the digger, the sand and dirt will also come out. Add gravel up to 6 inches in the hole to protect the wood from getting rotten. If you feel the holes are too big for the posts, use rocks and bricks to fill the gaps. Make a garden arbor plan and then start working on it.
Make the arches
This DIY garden arch is going to make your patio’s gateway a very charming one. Take the two top curved pieces and join them together with exterior glue and screws. The cedar is not very hard and will easily take the screws inside it, but making a bore will still be a better idea to make holes in the top pieces. You can buy already arched pieces, but if you don’t have them, you can cut the wood using a hand saw or jig saw. The ends should be cut at 22½ degrees. Cut the wood using tracing technique and after you’ve cut the first piece, use it to cut the second top piece into an arch.
Assemble the top
Place the two top pieces parallel to each other for perfect assembly. You can use sawhorses to keep them parallel and some distance apart to each other. Screw the crossties into the ends of the arches. Now flip the tops and check whether they’re parallel or not. To nail the strips across the arches, you can use pieces of wood as spacers. To make the assembly easier, pre-drill holes into the wood pieces. This will save time and avoid hassle during construction.
Cut the pieces into length
Cut the left/right and front/back piece into length. You can choose the length by laying the posts on the ground and then going for what looks appropriate. Trace the designs while the posts are still on the ground; this will make it easier to stay on the lines. Mark and drill holes at the point the posts will be joined together. Again, use a piece of wood as a spacer and nail the horizontal lattice pieces at the top and bottom places of the posts. Flip the structure and add the horizontal strips and screw the crossties on top of the posts. Then nail the verticals at the inner side of the posts.
Use a plumb line to check whether the posts are vertical or not. Then, use a level to check that the top is at the right level or not. Also check the level for the sides, front, and back. If you feel some side is not leveled, you’ll need to dig deeper holes to fix the issue.
Assemble the sides
There are many ways to assemble the trellis, but you can easily do this by laying the narrow sides on the ground. Use construction adhesive on the joints for durability. Always attach the trellises to the sides with screws. Just make sure that the frame is in the square shape and not shaped out. Install the diagonal pieces after the horizontal lattice has been installed.
Assemble the arbor
Now set the arbor onto the shorter legs and then attach the longer legs. Make sure that the narrow side faces up when you lay the four top rails. Cover the joints between the posts and the arch assembly using mitered trim. Then install the assembly using screws and bolts. Put the rain cap over the crosstie to prevent it from getting wet. Screw braces into the bottom of the posts to prevent it from bending. In the end, coat the arbor with a stain. Use a primer and then exterior latex before staining. Your garden arbor is ready to shine at the patio.
If you want a more natural look, you might want to avoid staining the arbor, but make sure the wood looks well finished. Wooden archways look very beautiful because they blend into the whole environment amazingly. You can also make a garden arbor with gate to add to the style.
Things to consider
A garden arbor is an ideal accessory used to beautify the outdoor areas. It not only acts as a decoration piece, but it also has many functions. It can be used as a shade when placed along the patio’s side and to add more beauty to the arbor, you can grow vines on it. However, there are some points that should be considered before getting an arbor for your garden.
Whether you want to build or buy an arbor, don’t just place it and forget to maintain it afterward. Most people just forget to take care of it after placing it in their gardens or patios. Proper maintenance is necessary for the arbor to appear attractive all the time. For this purpose, you should paint the arbor frequently or at least when you think it has started to look weary.
While building an arbor, you should make sure that the garden arbor plans are suitable for the size of your garden. If your garden is very small, building a large arbor will occupy all the space and it won’t look good either. Proper planning is necessary before buying or building an arbor and everything should be taken into account.
Another thing to be considered is the security of the side posts. If you want a strong base, don’t ever place the arbor directly on the ground as it may topple. Thus, it is necessary to dig holes and then put cement, rocks, bricks, or concrete in the holes to secure the posts. This will make the posts stand firmly on the ground with a firm grip.
If you find it hard to build an arbor, you can also buy an arbor kit. However, if you have already done some woodworking projects and want to try your hands on a garden arbor, you must give it a try. Designing an arbor is not a hard task, but if you’re confused, you can seek the help of a professional.