How to Make a Pipe Arbor

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If you have a scrapyard or a construction resale shop near you, repurpose some old pipe into a sturdy shade and support structure for your garden or patio. Pipe arbors are strong enough to support heavy grapevines, gourd, cucumber, squash and melon vines. Convert your pipe arbor into a greenhouse for winter gardening once you harvest your grapes and other produce for the season.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 pieces of black-iron gas pipe, 10 feet long, threaded at both ends
  • 5 pieces of black-iron gas pipe, 8 feet long, threaded at both ends
  • 8 pieces of black-iron gas pipe, 2 feet long, threaded at both ends
  • 4 black-iron female side-outlet elbows
  • 6 black-iron female tee fittings
  • Wooden stakes
  • Power auger or post-hole digger
  • 3 human helpers
  • Sharp-sided gravel
  • Concrete mix
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Shade cloth or a tarp with grommets (optional)

Connect the Pipes

  • Screw a female tee fitting onto each end of one of the 2-foot long pieces of threaded black-iron pipe.

  • Screw a 2-foot piece of black-iron pipe into the ends of each female tee. Screw one more female tee onto the end of one of the black-iron pipes you just added. Screw a fourth 2-foot piece of black-iron pipe into the third female tee. You should now have four pieces of 2-foot long, black-iron pipe connected by three female tees.

  • Repeat to connect the other four pieces of 2-foot-long black-iron pipe, using three black-iron female tees.

  • Screw a 90-degree, female side-outlet elbow onto the ends of each set of four pipes that you connected in previous steps. A side-outlet elbow looks like a female tee whose arms have been bent into a 90-degree angle. 90-degree side outlets are used to join square or rectangular three-dimensional structures.

  • Screw the 8-foot pipes into the open ends of each side-outlet elbow to make a square, with the four remaining open ends of the elbows pointing toward the sky.

  • Screw the 10-foot pipes into the open ends of each elbow. Turn the entire assembly upside down to stand on the 10-foot pipes.

Dig the Holes

  • Use wooden stakes to mark the four corners of an 8-foot square on the ground where you want your arbor.

  • Dig 2-foot deep, 12-inch diameter post-holes at the points marked by each stake, using a post-hole digger or a power auger.

  • Move the pipe arbor frame so that the 10-feet-long legs fit into the four post-holes. Have one helper at each leg to help move the frame (to prevent straining a muscle).

  • Back-fill the holes around each leg of the pipe arbor frame with sharp-sided gravel.

  • Mix concrete in your wheelbarrow according to package directions. Fill each hole with concrete and allow to set for three to five days, depending on the weather.

Tips & Warnings

  • Construction resale shops, such as the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, help fund low-cost housing projects while keeping construction and renovation debris out of landfills (see Resources).
  • Cover the arbor with shade cloth or a tarp with grommets if you are not going to plant vines over it.

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References

  • Photo Credit pipes image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com plumbing fittings image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com
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