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I want to build some arbors  RSS feed

 
Charlie Michaels
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Hello!

My new urban permaculture garden is nearing the end of its first year, and I think fall would be a good time to build arbors. Some arbors arching over pathways and an arbor for kiwis would create great structure of the small garden. I want to use the smaller arbors for honeysuckle, beans, nasturtiums, roses, magnolia, clematis, hops, maypop.

Problem is, I've hardly built anything with metal or wood before in my life.

How would I go about make a simple, durable pathway arbor to give me encouragement to try something a more difficult?
 
charles c. johnson
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why not plant some bamboo to build them out of?
 
Brice Moss
Posts: 700
Location: rainier OR
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cut willow stakes plant them in two rows. Wait for them to get high enuf then tie the tops together?
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
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Location: North Central Michigan
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i have built tons of arobors all over my property..the absolutely easiest is to get yourself 4 good solid 8' posts..and 4 cross pieces..and buy 4 good 10 " carriage bolts, 4 washers and 4 nuts that fit them ..cheapo..

you'll need a good drill bit that fits your carriage bolts..3/8 or 1/2"..and you'll likely need a post hole digger..

dig your holes for your posts at least 18" ..you can use concrete under them if you want but it isnt' necessary for an arbor..a post leveler is a great tool and cheap..otherwise use any level to level your posts and put them on the 4 corners..lay a board across the top starting with the second one to try to get the tops level..adding or removing soil when you set the posts..tamp the soil around them really well..

I like to drill a hole through the top center of each post side to center..and through the cross pieces and then put a carriage bolt through both..wiith the washer and the nut..use a cut off saw ifyou want to cut the carriage bolts if they are too long and stick out too far.

then you can use whatever you want on the sides for your vines to climb on..wire, wooden lattice, sticks nailed on with roofing nails..scrap lumber..whatever..also depens on what will grow up them..twiners need thinner things to grab to..those with wooden sucker feet ..like ivy..need wooden supports to grab onto..etc.

if you want something that will only cost you $20 you can always buy a cattle panel..they run about 16' and you can arch them over the area as a nice arch and then stake down the ends on each side..may take two people to bendh the arch..and you can use metal or wooden (treated or good rot resistant) to stake down the ends..anything will grow over those....they are very sturdy..if you pt them over a path between two wooden beds you can just staple them to the beds..
 
                              
Posts: 262
Location: Coast Range, Oregon--the New Magic Land
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I use big branches from oaks that fall, or are left over from firewood. THey are curvy and gnarled in a cool way. For the posts I use ones that are 4-5" diameter, and cut them so a fork is at a height to be used to lay the cross pieces in(dont' forget to add for how much goes in the ground). I just dig a hole with the post hole diggers, set the branches in so the plane of the fork is facing the center point of the square/rectangle made by the posts. This way when you lay the cross pieces in, you do have to jam them, but that will make some tension to hold the frame without having to do any more to connect the pieces. Though you can wrap wire around if you wan--certainly for heavier stuff. I've had my oak stuff in the ground for five years now, still solid, didn't do anything to preserve it. Tamping very well is important.

For stuff like grapes or wisteria though I would buils a very sturdy arbor like Brenda says. They get very heavy and will be in place for a very long time, and replacing an arbor under something like that is NO FUN.

I think places like Lowes/Home Depot have weekend classes on simple wood projects like arbors. I've never taken a class--can't comment on the local skill of teachers--but at least you'd get some familiarity with tools where you can ask the teacher lots of questions.

SO I'm the kind to stick branches in the ground and call it good:0) Now my sister pours concrete footings with the brackets and varnishes the posts and makes all this bent willow stuff--she LOVES working with wood:0)
 
Patrick Freeburger
Posts: 81
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Here are best instructions I've found on how to build a traditional arbor:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/how-to-plans/lawn-garden/4217203
Make sure to download the .pdf for good printed out instructions.

Good luck - I'm trying to get inspired myself.

Patrick
 
Matthew Fallon
Posts: 308
Location: long island, ny Z-7a
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the Willow-method is a great suggestion. google for info and instructions on that.
it will take years for it to be big enough,and more to fill-in.

bamboo is good too but you need to find it already mature,not plant your own,it takes 5+ years to mature that way.

brenda's is probably the quickest simple method.

Wyldthang's is the definitely the way i would do it , quick ,natural,and recycled materials,very much aligned with permaculture ethics!.  google "rustic arbors" for lots of ideas!.check my friend kim's site also. http://kimcreations.net/
she does lots of rustic and willow arbors etc...

contact local tree services and meet them at a job to get free limbs etc if you dont have your own.great way to recycle them too. i get whole trees for chainsaw-milling lumber this way.

i think the plan that Patjfree posted is a great design,but Not for a beginner/non-woodworker to attempt.
for plans, here are 2 sites ive gotten loads of  plans and ideas from.

http://www.freewoodworkingplan.com/
http://www.woodworkersworkshop.com/resources/index.php?cat=102

good luck!
 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
Posts: 387
Location: South West France
30
chicken food preservation forest garden fungi hunting solar
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We usually use chestnut, it's on site, strong and lasts well - here are some of ours :


















An old tent frame makes a lovely arbour to sit under or can be used as a plant cage



 
Charlie Michaels
Posts: 124
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Brenda Groth wrote:
i have built tons of arobors all over my property..the absolutely easiest is to get yourself 4 good solid 8' posts..and 4 cross pieces..and buy 4 good 10 " carriage bolts, 4 washers and 4 nuts that fit them ..cheapo..

you'll need a good drill bit that fits your carriage bolts..3/8 or 1/2"..and you'll likely need a post hole digger..

dig your holes for your posts at least 18" ..you can use concrete under them if you want but it isnt' necessary for an arbor..a post leveler is a great tool and cheap..otherwise use any level to level your posts and put them on the 4 corners..lay a board across the top starting with the second one to try to get the tops level..adding or removing soil when you set the posts..tamp the soil around them really well..

I like to drill a hole through the top center of each post side to center..and through the cross pieces and then put a carriage bolt through both..wiith the washer and the nut..use a cut off saw ifyou want to cut the carriage bolts if they are too long and stick out too far.

then you can use whatever you want on the sides for your vines to climb on..wire, wooden lattice, sticks nailed on with roofing nails..scrap lumber..whatever..also depens on what will grow up them..twiners need thinner things to grab to..those with wooden sucker feet ..like ivy..need wooden supports to grab onto..etc.

if you want something that will only cost you $20 you can always buy a cattle panel..they run about 16' and you can arch them over the area as a nice arch and then stake down the ends on each side..may take two people to bendh the arch..and you can use metal or wooden (treated or good rot resistant) to stake down the ends..anything will grow over those....they are very sturdy..if you pt them over a path between two wooden beds you can just staple them to the beds..


@Brenda

Thanks for the simple plan, a base to work with is exactly what I needed.

I'm curious why you say that because its an arbor it doesn't need concrete; but that's such a relief!

About what thickness is needed of wood to grow kiwis or grapes? I don't know if 2 by fours would suffice as posts.

Hopefully once I get better at this I'll have the confidence to ask the tree companies to save certain wood so I can make some nice natural arbors out of them. Good to know that even in an urban environment, there's plenty of free lumber to go around.

@Irene, are those fotos from your garden in France? You have yourself a piece of heaven.
 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
Posts: 387
Location: South West France
30
chicken food preservation forest garden fungi hunting solar
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Yes, they are mrchuck.

We have 50% of our farm in trees and it's easy for us just to go and get wood when we need it or when I just fancy building an arbour. I appreciate that we're really lucky you too) and a lot of people on the forum don't have that sort of access to wood.

I like using arbours because they're multi task structures that can offer shade and privacy as well as beauty. They also look after themselves with loads of mulch from their leaves so once they're established you suddenly have a mature plant that weighs a lot.

I think you need to think thicker wood and imagine the weight of a mature Kiwi full of ripe fruit. Even 4X4 if it's sawn wood is too thin.

This young Wisteria (Nitrogen fixer) is supported by a pergola which (In my humble experience) will need to be replaced in a few years because it will never support the plant when it's in flower and full of rainwater. Think of the worst case scenario so that when your pessimism is put to the test you can feel good. 



We don't use cement either and we've a lot of structures which are still OK after 12 years. 

 
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