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.
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.
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.
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.
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-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Protect your arbor with a preservative.
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