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Old 07/13/09, 09:30 AM
dawncagle's Avatar  
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 58
How to build a rustic arbor???

I'd like to build an arbor over the back deck out of tree limbs. Just something simple that could support a flowering vine or maybe some grapes. I've seen pictures of several but haven't had any luck finding plans. Any ideas on where to start?
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Old 07/13/09, 09:36 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 880
Dunno, I always thought that plans kinda defeated the purpose of rustic.

I have left rustic arbors and gates at several of the houses I have rehabbed. It's a cool way to reuse limbs from landscape cleanup. I bought a set of tenoning bits from Lee Valley that make the job much, much easier.,2180,41007
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Old 07/13/09, 09:55 AM
Gailann Schrader's Avatar
Green Woman
Join Date: May 2002
Location: Indiana - North Central
Posts: 1,955
I've used a lot of stuff from my place. I was very very pleased with the results of using black locust (great for fence posts) but they rotted out within 12 years because of so much ground water. In the future? I will use concrete as piers to put the wood uprights on.

Alternately, I've used tv antennas rehabbed in PIECES like 10-15' tall for the uprights and THEN concreted in... Last longer and the triangular things are very durable and the load seems to be good because of the shape. Hey, if it will support an antenna however much into the sky? It'll be a great support for my top-bars. I used top-bars of long, thin black locust and arranged them as a sunburst. Really neat, broke the hot sun in the summer (once the wisteria grew) and then let in the sun in the winter.

Sadly I've not completed my re-do of the sun-shade yet but am using front uprights of some old gate type things that are 8' tall. If I can ever figure out how to dig the footers and support their weight properly, it will be wonderful again. Don't forget that anything you plant to grow UP on them will be added weight as well.

Have you looked at Garden Junk?

or this one?

check out trash to treasure forum...

and one of my faves?

Anyway, I plan to make a trip to the local junk-car & assorted junk metal stuff place to see what I can find to make into a second gazebo. I bought a commercial one some time ago, but it's so pedestrian. I've never assembled it! LOL. It doesn't go with my early American re-hab look.... Have fun!
Radically conservatively un-biased liberal.
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Old 07/14/09, 12:14 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Southside Virginia
Posts: 698
Any wood used should be treated or cedar or locust wood. Obviously if you're using limbs it should be cedar or locust. Also remember that a grapevine can be extremely heavy. If your trellis is lightweight a better plant would be a clematis or jasmine. If you can find several curved limbs, place them spaced out around the circle and tie off the tops in the middle. Then use smaller saplings around the circle horizontally to keep the curved supports spaced evenly and also give the vine something to hold to.
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Old 07/14/09, 12:28 PM
Brenda Groth
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 7,817
find a style of plan you like and substitute the rustic lumber in approx the same dimensions as the boughten to use a saw on the joints anyway.
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Old 07/14/09, 11:52 PM
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: NE Wisconsin
Posts: 45
I built a circular one out of cedar posts and grape vines about twelve years ago. The posts are planted in the ground with concrete like a fence post. The roof trusses are just narrower cedar logs that all meet at the large center post. The rest of the roof is made of lots of wild grapevines that are coiled around on top from the center out. They are up to an inch thick and were easy to work with when they were fresh. As for the live grapevine I just dug up some plants from Mom's house and kept the rabbits away for a few years until they were established.
Here's a link:

Last edited by ForestCoCabin; 07/15/09 at 12:04 AM. Reason: add link
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Old 07/15/09, 06:45 AM
lunagardens's Avatar  
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Akron/Canton Ohio
Posts: 425
WOW ForestCoCabin! That is truly beautiful! I wish I could build one of those. Now that would be perfect on our hilltop.
As to building a rustic arbor,I just looked at pictures for inspiration and then went out to look at the limbs and start piecing it together like a puzzle. I would just look for some books at the library on the subject. I wish I could remember the title of the one I found which had color pictures and how to's on building rustic arbors and other rustic structures/furniture. That is where I found the inspiration for the gate and such I made for my daughters sunflower hut out of apple wood. I used nails since I could not afford the tenon bits.
Here's a link to the pic from when it was almost complete( can not find finished project pics at the moment):
I did wattling for the gate face fill in to match the wattle face.
Maybe build a normal shape arbor from limbs as a "base" then use interesting pieces to fill it in- or do the wattle like I did above.
Now I need to go put that on my wish list of tools. Better then diamonds when your man buys you a bit you have been desiring for those projects.LOL.
I know its not an answer to your question but I hope it will help in your venture to getting the arbor you desire.

Last edited by lunagardens; 07/15/09 at 06:49 AM. Reason: more to add..
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Old 07/15/09, 09:20 AM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: East TN
Posts: 6,977
Rustic Garden Projects by Dawn King is a book I picked up a couple of years ago for ideas.
"Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self confidence"
Robert Frost
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