Woodworking & Workshop/ Carpentry/ Outdoor Projects/ Lawn & Garden/ Outdoor Structures/ Pergolas/

How to Build a Wood Arbor for Garden or Yard


Learn how to construct a cedar garden arbor with built-in benches.

Construct a garden arbor with built-in benches on each side for seating and a graceful open-raftered canopy which provides shade.

Read More
placing two by fours
Step 1

Determine Location and Width of Arbor

Using a sketch and two by fours, experiment with the orientation of the arbor, determining the location and desired width.

using a framing square
Step 2

Mark Four Corners

Use framing squares to make sure the corners are 90 degrees and then mark the four corners with chalk and remove the two by fours.

using a power auger
Step 3

Dig Four Holes

Check with the utility company first to make sure there are no underground pipes or cables and then bore four holes to 42 inches deep, using either a post hole digger or a power auger.

attaching wooden braces
Step 4

Attach Wooden Braces

Pour crushed rock into the bottoms of the four holes. Place the first post in the hole, using a post level, and attach a wooden brace to it and the opposite end of the brace to the adjacent post. Repeat until all four posts are braced.

adding water to concrete
Step 5

Adding Water to Concrete-filled Holes

Fill each hole with dry fast-setting concrete and add water, letting it soak in and refilling until the level stabilizes at the top. Continuously check the posts to make sure they remain perfectly vertical. Remove the braces after the concrete has set.

attaching two by sixes
Step 6

Encase the Posts

Measure and cut 16 lengths of cedar. Attach the two by fours to the faces of the posts and the two by sixes to the sides of the posts, using rust proof screws.

trimming post with handsaw
Step 7

Install Curved Beams

For added detail, draw and cut curves on both ends of the beams. Install two beams to each pair of posts and then trim each post to length with a handsaw.

tracing a curve onto the beam
Step 8

Cut and Trace Second Set of Beams

Trace and cut a second set of beams that will span the front and rear of the arbor using small nails and a thin strip of wood to outline the top and bottom of the arch.

attaching slats
Step 9

Attach Slats

Add two stringers to the two arches, forming a canopy and using predrilled holes, attach the arched beams to the stringers with screws. Starting at the center and using spacers to maintain a uniform distance, attach the slats.

securing bracket
Step 10

Position and Attach Canopy, Install Benches

Lift the canopy up onto the beams, position and secure by angling rust proof screws into each corner. Install four brackets to support the two benches. Place the two pairs of two by six cedar boards and screw down.

Thompson’s WaterSeal
Step 11

Add Protection

Protect your arbor with a preservative.


Related Tips

Blog Articles

December 30, 2017

How Custom Baseball Bats are Made

A custom baseball bat maker on Cape Cod creates tailor-made bats for amateurs and pros alike.

December 01, 2017

How Fortune Cookies are Made

My visit to a San Francisco fortune cookie bakery

November 18, 2017

Trompe-l’œi - The Art of Illusion Brought Home

A visit to a trompe-l'œi artist's home where what meets the eye may be misleading.

Recent Articles