Build a garden arbor for $20. Hubby helped me build this one afternoon in September 2013 and it has stood as the entrance to my back yard garden oasis ever since. I made it the dimension for two reasons- 1) a fence picket was 6′ and 2) the black metal fence panel (gate) I found in a pack of 2 at Lowe’s is 35 3/4″ wide. This garden arbor is basic and made out of fence pickets and treated 2x4s. There are 3 options for setting this arbor in place- you can buy 2x4x10′ so you can cement the arbor in the ground, invest in the fence post menders and use those to secure your garden arbor, or set it on the ground in a protected spot and use fence panels which could help hold it up.
Where my garden arbor sits is in a protected spot from the wind so there never has been a chance of it blowing over. I also attached a fence panel to each side to give the illusion of a fence on each side and to hide my rain barrel on one side. I even built a 6′ garden arbor for a good friend of mine and use the fence mender posts because her garden arbor is on a slope.
To build the garden arbor you will need:
- (4) 2x4x8′ treated
- (6) 6′ fence pickets
- (2) for the top and width of garden arbor
- (3) cut in half to create the 5 top rafters with 1 left over for the 18″ side brace
- (1) picket cut at 18″ for each bracing
- jig saw to cut the curved edge
- circular saw
- outdoor screws 1 1/2′ – 2″ to go through fence picket into the 2x4s
- optional: drill for pilot holes (I use SPAX screws now at Home Depot that require no pilot holes)
- chisel and a hammer (if you want to set the bracing flush with the 2×4 uprights)
- tape measure
- optional: gate
This will take moderate skill level and you can adapt the instructions to suit your needs and skill level. We first cut the 2x4x8′ down to 7′ tall because 8′ seemed way to tall for the arbor. Next we used 2- 6′ pickets for the top and the overall width of the garden arbor and while hubby made the notches for the side bracing I went to work and cut out the curves you see in the top pieces. I came up with this design by using an ice cream container and freehanded what I thought looked nice. I cut out one and used it as the pattern for each side of the pickets.
To notch out the boards for bracing, secure the 2x4s on their side and measure how wide your pickets are (ours were 5 1/2″). Next measure down 25″ and then 30 1/2″ (or use the picket to mark) and this will be the top. Then go to other end of the 2x4s and measure 18″ and next mark 23 1/2″ (or use the picket as your guide). Set your guide on the circular saw to a half inch (1/2″ which the depth of the picket) and go back and forth with the saw as close as you can to each swipe so you can knock out the wood pieces with a hammer and chisel. Try to get the grooves you just made as smooth as you can and use the picket as a guide to make sure you are deep enough to make the picket (brace) go flush with the 2×4 upright.
Move the 2×4 uprights to the ground and screw in the brackets using pilot holes so you do not split the picket. You now have the 2 uprights for the garden arbor. Lay each of the on their side and then take one of the 6′ top pickets and attach it – making sure that it is square. Depending upon how wide you are making the garden arbor will determine where the uprights are going. We roughly measured 12″ away from each side and put the 3 middle top pieces/joists 11″ apart. We used 4 screws in each 2×4 upright to secure it and after we did this for all 4 sides we set the garden arbor up to put on the 5 top pieces.
The 5 top decorative pickets of the garden arbor are notched so they slide on to the (2) 6′ tops and are screwed in to position. The notches are 18″ (or the width of your garden arbor). Securing these took a bit of patience because you will need to screw them in at an angle. We went from the top down at an angle to hide the screws (or you can go from the bottom and screw up at an angle). We did a pilot hole to avoid any splitting and secured with a screw.
The gate (fence panel) was attached using 2- 90 degree L hooks that screwed in to the 2×4 upright. The welded tubes slide right on to the L hooks. The gate opens and closes just fine. The fence panel sells in a pack of 2 (at Lowe’s) and there are 2 downward hooks on one side and 2 tubes on the other that allow each fence panel to slide in and attach to each. (You can see this in the picture above).
Garden arbors are expensive and I hope that my directions were easy enough to follow. If not, feel free to contact me if yo have any questions about how I built this. I love creating and will be adding more fun and easy garden projects. Thanks for stopping by!
Creating. Inspiring. Gardening without the rules!
2016 copyrighted material C Renee Fuller @The Garden Frog Boutique