We wanted to have a small arbor for a garden entrance. We were looking for something made of wood, and fairly simple, with an Arts and Crafts or Craftsman style. However, the sturdy ones in the style we liked can be quite expensive ($200-$300 range, with some as much as >$1000), and the only ones we could find that were reasonably priced were either not to our tastes, or looked flimsy. Since the style we wanted was pretty easy to mimic, and the construction looked simple, we decided to build one ourselves. My estimate for how much it cost us in materials was a little over $100 (we already had the deck screws and the tools, or borrowed tools we didn't have).

We did not pour cement reinforcements for the trellis, as we were going to stay above the frostline, and it was not going to be very large (and thus didn't have to support too much of a load). We built this in 2006, and after 5 years (with lots of rain and snow storms) it is still doing just fine!

What you will need:
posts: pressure treated 4x4s, 8' long, 4 of them, $15 each ($60)
front and back cross pieces: pressure treated 1x6s, 6' long, 2 of them, ($10)
left and right cross pieces: pressure treated 1x4s, 42" long, 4 of them ($15)
top cross pieces: pressure treated 2" square balusters, 4 feet long, 7 of them ($.89 each)
wooden ladder trellises, 2 of them ($20)
wood deck screws
post hole digger
saw (hand saw)
drill and bits
plumb line
rocks and bricks
pencil for marking lines
safety glasses

All wood we used was pressure treated except for the side trellises.

Note: this is the step by step instructable for this photo instructable, as part of the Share Your Garden Photo Contest:

Home-built Garden Arbor


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Step 1: Plan Arbor Dimensions and Choose a Site

Plan the dimensions. Choose a width (we did 5' to the outer edge of the posts) and height (7'). This is a little shorter than most arbors but we figured if we went longer it would not allow us to be efficient about the posts--because the 4x4s came in lengths of 8' we wouldn't have to cut them and waste any wood. However, if we wanted the posts to extend higher vertically but still have at least 1' below the ground , we would have to buy four 4x4s in 12' lengths, cut them all down to length, and then have left over pieces.

Choose an appropriate site. Make sure that there are no pipes, roots of trees or large bushes, or major rocks (boulders) where the posts should go.

Thanks so much for posting this along with instructions. I used your design but modified to fit my sidewalk. I am covering a portion of a newly installed sidewalk that will be an entrance to my back yard. I used a different trellis that I bought a a big box store. <br>Entire project was $229.00
Wonderful project. I have a question as I am doing something even simpler. I am putting up a trellis like you have on each side of your arbor. and I want to know if I need to first preserve the wood in anyway for protection. Please advise.
Very Nice Project! What do you have growing on the Arbor? I'd like to do this for my wife, but I haven't investigated any vines for our area, yet.
Thanks! We are trying to coax wisteria on one side, but it has been slow to really take. The other side there is an existing lilac bush that is taking over the other trellis.
Great Trellis. I love how you kept it simple but sturdy. That would look good anyplace.
Nice project, simple, elegant, and useful.<br><br>Thumbs up!
Fantastic job, well done! Thanks for taking the time to share.
What MY says!!
This is a great project - thanks for sharing. <br> <br>My garden is not ready yet, but as soon as it is, I can see me using this project to put in a great arbor! ;-)
Hey, fast work my man! Good job. I think you've done a good job on an attractive garden feature. Will try to make one myself at some point. I have made several garden posts, and I just used reg. lumber, (4x4). I got 9 footers, thinking I would bury each post 24in. That made the total height 7 feet, just as you have done, and I think that is preferred to 8 ft, for design and esthetic purposes. To preserve the wood, I prime them, then put a coat of asphalt on the posts. I have had some posts last 15 years or more that way. Anyway, thanks for sharing.

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