Saturday, January 29, 2011

Gardening: Erect a little wood in your garden

How to make a decorative support for climbers
So this post may actually be "news you can use," so to speak. It's actually a get your hands dirty "how to", not only for your garden, but also a "how to" keep money in your pocket.

Last year we erected two supports for grapes. They're sort of summertime privacy "fencing", and also look very nice when the leaves are gone. They add to the "bones" which keep your garden looking nice in the non-growing months. Purchasing these structure would cost upwards of $200. Materials, way less that $100. Sweat equity: priceless.

Click on the image for a printable version. It has materials listed on the right.

The design of these echoes elements of an arbor entrance we also built, and the top of a summer porch. The porch will have wisteria flowers hanging down through it — eventually...

The design and plan above is a freebie from me to you. Use it "as is", or as an inspiration for designing and making your own. They're not rocket science. They just take a little time. You can probably make one, from start to standing in the ground, in about 3 hours. That includes all fabrication, digging holes, mixing cement, and standing up.

The 2x2 pieces which make up the centre of the structure are not cut from their purchased 8' length. That speeds fabrication up greatly. All you have to do is make sure that the inside space between your 4x4 uprights is also 8", or they won't fit.

If there is ONE secret, it's to assemble with screws as opposed to nails. If you use screws, any breakage or rot can be replaced far more easily. Nails are far harder to deal with down the road.

The columnar oaks were there first. They face relocation come Spring.

So the above image shows them "in situ". They still have their side supports because the cement was just poured. They are free standing. In our case, we have planted pinot noir grapes at their base. I fully expect in two years they will be covered with grape leaves which will help screen us from our neighbours. The pinot noir grapes will be a bonus. We don't expect to make wine...probably.

More arbors will be coming, in pairs. We already have two chardonnay vines waiting for supports in the Spring. The garden is actually quickly taking shape with these additions. I will be posting plans for the walk through arbor later. It was easy to make as well.

Remember, treated wood will last longer. Plans and materials list is for one support.

One final word: we used 8' uprights, which meant that 1-1/2 feet goes into the ground. Our frostline is 3 feet, so you may want to purchase 10' 4x4, just to be safe. We like to live on the edge.


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