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Picture of Grape Arbor with bench for a small space.
Small space Grape Arbor
I have decided to try some grape vines in my small back garden. I purchased two grape vine plants in mail order. With the houses and trees around my property being close I had to position the new grape arbor in the middle of my back garden to get the maximum sun, right beside my 4x 6 mini greenhouse.
 
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Step 1: Tools & Materials list

Tools list:
Hammer
cordless drill with screw bits and drill bits
straight level
Post level
clamps
2 paint brush
shovel
Materials list:
deck screws, various sizes
4 lag screws with 4 large washers Galvanized
Stainless #10 1 inch screws and #10 stainless washers for attaching wire
14 Gauge Galvanized wire
2 bags gravel
2 bags cement
5 -8' 2x4 PT lumber
7 pc 2x2 deck rails
1 12 foot pc 1x6 PT cut in half at home depot (so I could get it in the car)
Various pieces of Scrap wood for bench not PT
Deck stain (left over from when I stained my deck last year)
Green exterior latex paint
Leftover brown paint and grimmer primer from other projects
Bagged garden soil
2 grow tubes for baby grape plants
Left over black garden weed block fabric
scrap wood for stakes and braces

Step 2: Measure, mark, dig

I measured and marked off an area 3' x 3' square with stakes and dug 4 corner post holes about 17"deep x 10"wide. I know I should have made the holes deeper but I just could not get any deeper than 17".
I am using 2x4 posts because 4x4s are just too much for me to handle on my own and I figured this is a small structure, it sould be ok.

Step 3: Placing the Posts

Picture of placing the Posts
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I screwed a scrap piece of 2 x 3 wood about 8-10" long to the bottom side of each 2x4x8 PT post. This is to hopefully help prevent heaving in the winter, then put a few inches of gravel in the bottom of the holes. I attached a scrap piece of 2x4 horizontally to the 2 back posts and to the 2 front posts to make two "H" shapes. I had my son come and hold the front and back H's in the holes and I then screwed a 2x4 piece to attach the 4 pieces to make a square. This is to hold the pieces up while I am leveling because I will be doing the rest of this by myself. I also attached support pieces of 2x4s to the structure and 1x2 scrap wood hammered into the ground (see photos) for support. By the time I had all four posts level the distance from front to back was 33" instead of 36".

Step 4: Cement

Picture of Cement
I mixed and poured half a bag of cement in each hole and left it to set for 3 days until I could get back to it. In the photos there are scrap pieces of wood and trash cans covering the holes because it was to rain that first night. When the posts set, the distance from front to back on the left side was about an inch less than on the right side.

Step 5: Top assembly

Picture of Top assembly
I attached with deck screws a piece of 2x4 on each side from front to back flush with top. I next attached a 1x6x4' long pc of PT wood to the top front and the back with a 6 inch overhang on each end and flush with top of posts. I used one galvanized lag screw with washer and 2 deck screws to hold it.
I used seven 2x2x36 deck rails evenly spaced for across the top to make the slats attaching with deck screws.
Note: all holes for bolts and screws were pre-drilled. Because the front to back measurement on left and right sides was off a bit when I attached the top rails I had a half inch overhang all across the front, but in the back by the time I got from right to left there was no overhang on the last one or two rails.
Removed all bracing material.

Step 6: Plant

Picture of Plant
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Because the arbor is in the middle of the yard I made small boxes with 2x4 PT scrap wood at outside base as garden bed for the grape vine just to make it look tidy. Dug out sod and put garden soil in.
Planted the grapevines and put grow tubs (made for new grape plants to train upright and get established) over them with a garden stake to attach the grow tube to. It is only light corrugated plastic and would blow away if not secured. I also planted some flowers to the outside of the box and covered the rest of the inside area of the boxes with black landscaping material to protect from cats or other animals digging.

Step 7: Stain and wire

Picture of Stain and wire
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Stain- Starting at top, I stained with Deck Stain and 2" brush. I added some water to the stain to dilute it a bit. 1 part water to 9 parts stain.
I attached galvanized wire up each side for the trellis to train the vines on. I Started 20" up from the bottom and about every 12" to the top, drilled holes in all four posts. Pull wire through starting at the back and securing end by twisting wire with needle noise pliers tip into tight circle and securing to wood with screw and washer. Thread wire back to front pulling tight as you can until you get to the last post and tie off as in the beginning with the screw and washer. I ended up with 5 rows of wire.
I used wire instead of wood because It will not block any light and is almost invisible from a distance.

Step 8: Bench

Picture of Bench
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I made a small bench out of scrap wood 33"long by 13"deep by 18" high.
Primed with gripper primer
One coat brown base color
2 coats green exterior latex paint
I also painted the two pieces of wood that I attached to the arbor posts as the back rest for the bench.
The bench is not attached to the arbor so I can just lift it out of the way when cutting the grass. It is not PT exterior wood, so I don't expect it to last more than a few years. I might bring it indoors in the winter time.

Step 9: Final Note

This kind of project is much easier when you have another person to help, I rarely do. I spend a lot of time just figuring out how to create a second pair of hands to help me do what I want to do. I am kind of Physical challenge because I am a 53 year old 4’11” woman, but I love to make my own stuff for the garden and yard. I am sure other more experienced people could improve on this project.

iPodGuy6 years ago
Cool. I just dug the post holes for my arbor last night. Our designs are quite similar. Good going!
Josieac (author)  iPodGuy6 years ago
Thanks. the Grape vines are peeking out of the grow tubes.
Spiff736 years ago
I'd thought about a project like this for my parent's cottage with the vines going along the top of the arbor to provide more shade in the summer. One reason that I haven't done it is a concern about bees. If you have done this before; have you noticed any bee problem?
Josieac (author)  Spiff736 years ago
This is my first time at grape vines and arbor. I have read that bees are attracted to the grapes as well as birds. However from the time I put up the frame to the time I finished with the wire and stain (about 4 to 6 weeks) there were 2 holes drill on the underside of the 1x6 boards by bees. big fat ones that look like bumble bee but I think they are called carpenter bees. I plugged the holes and will have to keep an eye out for any more of that kind of "construction".