How to Build Cheap Arbors


Arbors provide shade, beauty and elegance to any yard or garden. In the heat of the day an arbor makes an otherwise annoyingly hot space a wonderful location for contemplation. by following these simple step-by-step instructions you can easily build a cheap arbor that will improve the value and beauty of your home.

Things You'll Need

  • Concrete
  • 4 4-by-4-inch pressure-treated outdoor boards (roughly 8 to 10 feet in length)
  • 4 2-by-6-inch outdoor boards (10 to 12 feet in length)
  • 10 2-by-6-inch outdoor boards (10 to 12 feet in length)
  • 4 steel brackets
  • Outdoor wood screws
  • Electric saw
  • Electric drill

Build a Cheap Arbor

Select a location for your arbor. Find a level spot and mark the spots where you want your posts to lie. The posts should be no more than 10 feet apart. The layout of the arbor should either be a perfect square or a slight rectangle, with a post hole at each corner.

Dig post holes roughly 2 feet deep. Fill the post holes with concrete, sink the 4-by-4-inch posts and hold them firmly in the concrete until dry. Use a level to ensure that the posts are level, both vertically and horizontally. Temporarily attach boards between the posts, place a level on top to make sure the posts are at the same level and adjust accordingly.

Allow the concrete to dry completely and then attach steel brackets to the tops of the posts. Use these brackets to attach two of the 2-by-6-inch boards to the tops of the posts. Cut these boards so that they protrude 1 foot beyond the posts that support them. This creates a pleasing aesthetic effect and more shade for your arbor.

Attach the other two 2-by-6-inch boards to the sides of the arbor at the very top of the posts so that they sit snugly under the boards sitting on top of the posts. Cut these boards at the same length as the ones above them so that they protrude 1 foot on either side. Use outdoor wood screws to attach all brackets and boards.

Cut the 2-by-4-inch boards at the same length as the other boards. Attach them to the tops of the 2-by-6-inch boards so that they run in parallel in the same direction across the arbor. Space the boards roughly 1 foot to 1/2 foot apart, and attach them using either brackets or screws drilled diagonally down through the board and into the one beneath it.

Test the strength of your arbor. If any of the beams seem to sag, remove some of the 2-by-4-inch boards until they are straight. If the arbor moves or sways, do not use it. Have a professional come to inspect it and strengthen it.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plant vines such as honeysuckle around the arbor, and attach them to the posts with wire.
  • Place chairs and/or tables under the arbor to create a pleasant seating area.
  • Never sit or stand under an unstable arbor.
  • Test the arbor periodically for weakness.

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