The Q&A Archives: arbor

Question: how do you build an arbor

Answer: Choose a construction material to fit your style and budget.

Try one of the following 2' x 2' dimensional lumber: Redwood; a traditional but fairly costly outdoor project building material. CCA treated lumber; this is common spruce, pine or fur lumber that has undergone a treatment with cyanide salt that makes it highly insect and rot resistant.

Working with less weather resistant wood is an option but care must be take to apply a proper weatherproofing finish.

Choose 11 pieces of 2'x 2' lumber that are straight and true in 10-foot lengths.

Code your pieces with penciled on letters labels as they are cut to make them easy to identify.

Cut and mark them as follows:
4 pieces, 72 inches long (Roof Trusses)
4 pieces, 120 inches long (Posts)
7 pieces, 14 inches long (Short Struts)
2 pieces, 60 inches (Long Struts)

Miter cut one end of each 'A' piece (Roof Truss) at a 60-degree angle to form the roof peak.

Assembly of the Arbor:
Assemble as follows using 2 and 1/2 inch long weatherized wood screws. Be sure to pre-drill all screw holes to avoid splitting the relatively narrow gage lumber.

Lay out 2 of the 'B' pieces (Posts) parallel to each other with 3 of the 'C' pieces (Short Struts) between them on the horizontal. They should be spaced as follows: Flush with the top corners of the posts, at three feet below the top corners and at six feet below the top corners. Attach by running screws through the posts and into the ends of the struts. You will now have what looks like a ladder with widely spaced rungs.

Repeat the step above. You know have both side support units assembled. Turn both up on edge 60 inches apart approximately.

Place one 'D' piece (Long Strut) between the two top corners of the side supports. Attach by running screws through the posts and into the end of the long struts.

Repeat the above step for the other side.

Place the angle cut ends of two of the 'A' pieces (Roof trusses) together so that they form a peak. Connect with screws

Repeat the above step. You now have the two completed roof trusses.

Attach these to the top corners of the structure making sure that they are centered (leave an equal amount of roof truss over hang on each side of the structure).

Place the last 'C' piece (Short Strut) between the two roof trusses at the peak to form the ridge, which adds strength and support.

Stand the Arbor upright and put it in position where it will be used. Mark the ground where each post is situated. Move the Arbor to the side and dig your holes for the posts. These holes will be approximately 36 inches deep. Set the posts into the holes and make sure the Arbor is level and square by taking more dirt out or back filling as needed.

Fill the postholes with dirt tamped tightly into the holes. The Arbor is now ready to be decorated or have plants added at the base.

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