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 1x6
    -Four 40-pound bags of concrete mix
    -Primer and Exterior Paint (Optional)

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 other 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 a 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 dont 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 inches, 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 2x4. Your dado 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 1x6 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.

See Also:

Vinyl Trellis Lattices