A simple arbor is easy to build and doesn’t imply a significant investment, but it will definitely enhance the look of your backyard. In this article we show you free garden arbor plans that require just basic woodworking skills. As you will see in the instructions, building a simple arbor can be done in just a few hours, as you just need to cut a few components and assemble them together.
Always align the wooden components at both ends, before drilling the pilot holes and inserting the galvanized screws. In addition, we recommend you to buy quality lumber, such as cedar, pine or redwood, as the arbor will look exquisite and be durable. Select the lumber with attention, checking if the slats are straight and don’t have any visible flaws (bow, chips, splits).
How to build a simple garden arbor
- 1 – 4 pieces of 2×4 lumber – 84” long LEGS
- 2 – 12 piece of 2×2 lumber – 15” long WOOD STRIPS
- 3 – 2 pieces of 2×6 lumber – 72” long ARCHED TOP
- 4 – 7 pieces of 2×2 lumber – 18” long WOOD STRIPS
- Hammer, Tape measure, Carpentry square
- Miter saw, Drill machinery, Screwdriver, Sander, Router
- Safety Gloves, Safety Glasses, Respiratory Mask
- One day
Free Garden Arbor Plans
The first step of the project build the sides of the garden arbor. As you can see in the image, you need to place two pieces of 2×4 lumber on a level surface and to attach 15” strips of 2×2 lumber to the rails. As you can notice in the image, you need to leave about 11” between the strips of wood.
PRO TIP: Check if the corners are square, before driving in the 2 1/2” finishing nails trough the 2×2 lumber into the legs. Alternatively, you could drill pilot holes and insert 2 1/2” galvanized wood screws.
After making the sides of the garden arbor, you should build the components of the arched top. From our own experience, the easiest techniques to get the job done, in a professional manner, is to cut them out of 2×6 lumber.
PRO TIP: Mark the cut lines on the 2×6 slats with a carpentry pencil before cutting the components with a jigsaw. Smooth the edges with a sand-block or make them round with a router and a 1/4” bit.
The next step of the woodworking project is to attach the 2×2 wood strips to the arched components, as in the free plans. Cut the 2×2 lumber at 18”, using a circular or a miter saw. Align the 2×2 components at both ends, making sure their ends are flush with the rails, before driving in the 2 1/2” nails.
After building the arched top of the arbor you should fit it into place and secure it tightly. As you can see in the image, you need to drill pilot holes both trough the legs and arched top and insert 3 1/2” carriage bolts.
PRO TIP: Use a spirit level to plumb the sides of the simple arbor and to check if the top component is perfectly horizontal. Drilling pilot holes is necessary, as it prevents the wood from splitting.
Last but not least, you should take care of the finishing touches. Check if the heads of the screws are level with the wooden surface and make the necessary adjustments if possible. Fill the holes with a good wood filler and let it dry out for several hours.
PRO TIP: Sand the wooden surfaces with 120-grit sandpaper, vacuum the residues and apply several coats of stain or paint, to protect the wooden components against wood decay.
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