How to build a D.I.Y. timber garden arbour

Gary, Team member
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How to build a D.I.Y. timber garden arbour

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Project Overview

A garden arbour makes a fantastic focal point in any garden. Whether you leave it plain or grow creepers or vines up it, it will be a great feature in your backyard. Continue to step-by-step instructions
sharpen chisel
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How to sharpen a chisel

There’s nothing worse than working with a blunt or chipped chisel. Here’s a quick and easy tip to keep it sharp and chip free. Apply some lubricant to an oil stone and start grinding off the blunt or chipped edge of the chisel at a 30-degree angle. Apply pressure evenly, running it over the entire stone. Keep doing this until your chisel has been fully sharpened.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Cut the timber to size
2 Lay out the frame
3 Cut the lattice to size
4 Fix the bottom brace
5 Fix the beading to hold the lattice
6 Make the top frame
7 Make the crossbeams
8 Cut the fascia
9 Fix the crossbeams and fascia
10 Paint the arbour
11 Put the arbour in place
12 Job done!
  • Step 1. Cut the timber to size

    To make this project easier, you can have your timber pre-cut to size at your local Bunnings. Here’s our cut list: 60mm x 2400mm x 600mm lattice: • 2100mm x 600mm x 1 90mm x 45mm treated pine: • 2400mm x 2 • 605mm x 2 • 1200mm x 2 • 605mm x 3 18mm x 18mm treated pine: • 2100mm x 4 • 568mm x 4 140mm x 45mm treated pine: • 1780mm x 2 70mm x 35mm treated pine: • 985mm x 5
  • Step 2. Lay out the frame

    Take the two 2400mm lengths and lay them on the ground parallel to each other. Across the top, place a 605mm length. Make sure the U-shaped frame is flush and square. You can also lay the bottom 605mm brace in position, so that it holds the frame in place, but don’t fix it off until later. Pre-drill the top piece of timber with a 5.5mm bit and then drill a clearance hole using a 7.5mm bit before screwing it in with 100mm bugle screws.
  • Step 3. Cut the lattice to size

    Lay the lattice over the frame, and then measure and mark where to cut it. It’s important to cut the lattice on a solid border to maintain its strength and integrity – this will also determine the final position of the bottom brace. Cut the lattice with a jigsaw, then lay it in the frame.
  • Step 4. Fix the bottom brace

    Now position the bottom brace so it’s snug and flush with the lattice. Pre-drill using a 5.5mm bit and then drill a clearance hole using a 7.5mm bit before fixing with 100mm bugle screws.
  • Step 5. Fix the beading to hold the lattice

    Once the bottom brace is in place, measure, mark and cut the two lots of beading for the four sides of the frame. The beading is to hold the lattice in place. Fix into place 20mm from the front of the frame using the nail gun. Once the beading is fitted, drop the lattice onto it. Now, fix the next layer of beading to sandwich the lattice into its final position. Then you’ll need to repeat steps 2–4 again to create the other side of the arbour.
  • Step 6. Make the top frame

    Lay out the four pieces of timber that make the top frame, making sure they are flush and square. Pre-drill the top timber with a 5.5mm bit and then drill a clearance hole using a 7.5mm bit before screwing the frame together with 100mm bugle screws. Along the longest side, measure and mark the centre of the frame on both sides. Place a piece of timber on this mark and fix it to the frame.
  • Step 7. Make the crossbeams

    Using crossbeams will add stability to the arbour. To make the first one, take a piece of the 985mm pine, measure and mark 30mm down each end, then cut at a 45-degree angle from the mark toward the centre of the beam. Along the edge of the timber you’ve just cut, measure, mark and square off pencil lines at 60mm then 106mm – this is where we’re going to notch out a joint. Set your drop saw to a 50mm cut depth and make a series of cuts between the two pencil lines. Using a hammer and chisel, check-out the waste wood that remains. Make this check-out at the other end of the crossbeam. Then repeat this process to make the four other beams.
  • Step 8. Cut the fascia

    At the end of each of the fascia lengths of timber, cut a 45-degree angle, identical to the ones on the crossbeams.
  • Step 9. Fix the crossbeams and fascia

    Evenly space the five crossbeams along the roof frame, pressing them into place. You may need to tap them with a hammer to make them flush. Once they’re in position, screw the fascia to the frame with 100mm batten screws. Attach the crossbeams to the frame with the nail gun. Now fix the top of the arbour to the sides.
  • Step 10. Paint the arbour

    You can now paint, stain or varnish the arbour to suit your garden and taste.
  • Step 11. Put the arbour in place

    Dig holes to match the measurements of your arbour. Make the holes about 300mm square as they need to be wide enough for a star picket and the drill. Use a spirit level to check the arbour is level, vertical and squarely in the hole. Hit the star pickets into place with a sledge hammer alongside the stumps. Then pre- drill through the holes in the picket into the arbour and fix into place with bugles. Backfill the hole with loose soil to secure. You could also use concrete to fill the holes for a more permanent structure.
  • Step 12. Job done!

    The arbour is securely in place and it looks great. You can place some pot plants around to add to its appeal or even train a creeper or a vine up and over it on both sides.
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