Estimated Cost: $$$$
Total: 6 – 9 hours
Perfect for framing a garden path or creating an outdoor entryway to your front walk, arbors are not only classic and elegant, but also simple and fun to build. This arbor features a lattice design perfect for climbing flowers. However, you can create your own to either close it in more for added privacy or open it up for a lighter feel.
This structure is pretty heavy and cumbersome to move around, so enlist a helper to aid you in moving it around as you build it and especially as you install it.
*Note: Drill pilot holes for all screws
Cut your posts (A) to 8' and then mark 3" down from the top end and cut a tenon 1" deep on either side. To do this, set your saw’s depth to 1" and make several passes in your layout marks, then clean out the waste and flatten the surfaces with a sharp chisel. Cut your braces (C) from the waste ends of your 10' posts, using the same principles to cut a tenon on one end of each brace (see illustration detail).
Cut your 2 x 4 top rails (B) to exactly 96" long and clamp them together in pairs, with the best sides (faces) facing outward. Mark a 60° angle on each, then find where that angle intersects the midpoint (1¾") of the 2 x 4 and use that as a center point to drill a 1¼" diameter hole. Use your miter saw or circular saw to then cut the angle.
Rip 1" wide pieces from your 1 x 6 and then cut them to length for lattice pieces (E, F, G, and H), cutting a 45° angle on both ends.
Lay the posts (A) on a flat surface with their ends flush and measure 18" up from the bottom and then make a mark every 3" until you reach 15" from the bottom of your tenon cut. Square the marks across all four posts, making sure you are marking the outside end faces of each post.
Group your lattice pieces together (group E, F, G, H), keeping ends flush and mark them in the following manner: 12" in from both ends on the outside face of part E; every 3" along the inside face of part F; 3" in from one end on the outside face of part G; and 3" in from both ends on part H. Mark a square line across all pieces of each group according to those marks.
Attach the lattice pieces to the outside faces of each pair of posts, starting with E first, then F and then filling in with G and H. You will not be using every layout mark on these pieces (meaning that you will have some visible marks once you’ve attached all lattice pieces). Use the illustration detail as a guide. Use 2" screws when attaching lattice pieces to your posts (A), and use 1¼" screws when attaching lattice pieces to each other.
With each lattice/post assembly on edge on a pair of sawhorses, sandwich the top rails (B) on each tenon, keeping the outside face of each post 19" in from the long point of the top rail. Drill a 3/8" pilot hole through the rails and post tenons and insert your carriage bolts from the outside and secure the washer and nut from the inside.
With the assembly laying flat, attach the braces (C) at each corner, making sure the top and bottom angles meet flat against the posts and top rails. Drive 3" deck screws through each brace and into the post, as well as one 3" screw from the front and back of the rails and into the brace tenon.
Attach the top slats to the rails, starting 9¾" in from each end and keeping 6" spacing between slats. Carefully drill pilot holes and attach with 3" screws. You may need to tack some temporary bracing around the bottom of the posts to keep everything square during this step.
Break all edges with sandpaper and smooth any rough spots. Apply a waterproofing finish of your choice according to manufacturer specifications. This arbor can be installed simply by placing the bottoms of the posts on four flat stones or pavers (leveled with each other), or more permanently by setting them in concrete – research various methods and choose the one that fits your situation.