Whether you are looking to define a walkway or gate, add a climbing opportunity for flowering vines or fruits, or need a stunning wedding backdrop – this DIY garden arbour / DIY garden arbor is both beautiful and perfect for all of the above. 

I’m sorry I’ve been absent for a couple of weeks – the projects I’ve taken on have been a bit more time consuming that the smaller builds I usually post…

but they are SO GOOD!

Not to toot my own horn, but they are – like today’s DIY garden arbour / DIY garden arbor for those of you in the States.  (I’ll have to write that long combo a few times so that SEO will pick up my article for readers to find – sorry about that)

I received a garden arbour as a wedding gift in 2004.  I loved it – it was the perfect size, perfect shape – in fact, I’m going to try and draw up building plans for it so I can share the build with you – but time takes a toll and the wood rotted and the arbour was going to fall.

I found so many gorgeous ones on Pinterest, but this Gothic arch vegetable garden arbor from Remodelaholic really grabbed my attention.  Please click over to get her building plans and see how she used concrete reinforcement mesh for the sides, and attached the base to her vegetable garden beds.  It really is beautiful!

She was able to build hers for about $100 US back in 2014.

Mine – using plain framing lumber came in at about $400 CDN.  🤦🏻‍♀️

To build it with pressure treated – which is really what you should use – came in at $550, and I didn’t even price out cedar once I saw that one board was 3 times the cost of framing lumber.

These prices are killing me!

Regardless, I built the two frame pieces on my driveway and had everything else cut and ready to assemble for when I had it in place in the backyard.

I was able to build the entire DIY garden arbour / DIY garden arbor by myself, but there was no way I could put it all together without help.  The posts (per the plans) are 12′ tall, so this is a BIG, SOLID beast.

building a garden arbor - front frame

We ended up cutting a foot off of each post so that it didn’t actually look like you were entering a cathedral. 😂. The building plans were already spaced perfectly so that the frame fit around my gate posts, but Remodelaholic does provide options to change the width and depth of your DIY garden arbour / DIY garden arbor to fit your yard/needs.

First step was to dig four holes where the posts would go.  We didn’t dig the holes very deep, just enough to put about 3″ of gravel in to keep the posts from sitting in water or wet soil.  We leaned the front frame against the fence posts and then attached the 2×4″ sides with pocket screwss to the frame.

building a garden arbor, building a garden arbour

Here’s where I deviated from the plans;  I didn’t want to use a concrete reinforcement mesh as the sides/top of my arbour.  My back gate is under some very mature pines and I can just barely get grass to grow.  Attempting any kind of climbing vine would be fruitless due to the acidity of the soil, the total shade, and the fact that the evergreens are very greedy with water and steal from every other plant (see the roots on the surface of the ground?)

I did however, want my DIY garden arbour / DIY garden arbor to be decorative, so I decided to mimic the grid pattern in the arbour I was replacing this with.

adding a grid to a garden arbour

We ripped down some board to 1″ dowels, then attached them to the 2×4″ sides by pre-drilling and then using 1 ½” deck screws.  The dowels were spaced evenly across the 48″ expanse at about 5 ½” apart.  I chose to attach these to the inside of the DIY garden arbour / DIY garden arbor.

building the grid on the garden arbor

I then ripped down some more 2×4″ lumber to 1″ wide by ½” thick and attached them to them to the vertical pieces using 1″ finishing nails.  These were attached on the outside of the arbor frame.  This gave a cleaner finished look to the outside of the DIY garden arbour / DIY garden arbor – which is really what more people see.

building a garden arbor

Then we got a bit creative and installed a couple more horizontal 2″x2″ boards up 6″ from the grid we’d just created.  These were attached with pocket screws.  I’m thinking that at some point I might build window boxes that can be attached to the 2×4″, or maybe buy inexpensive ones and hang them over these beams.

creating the grid on a garden arbor

From here it was just using up smaller bits of 1″ x ½” pieces to create an interesting pattern.

DIY garden arbour, DIY garden arbor

I also added a slatted top (trellis?) to my DIY garden arbour / DIY garden arbor by cutting some 1″x2″ boards to the depth of the arbour plus the horizontal beams.

adding a trellis to a garden arbour

1 ½” pin nails (with a brad nailer) made these pretty easy to install.  I used the width of the post as the spacing for the trellis boards to keep the look consistent and ‘geometrically pleasing’. 😂

DIY garden arbour, DIY garden arbor

What do you think?!

It takes some of the harshness off of my chain link fence and creates a focal point to look out at when you are sitting on the patio.

DIY garden arbour, DIY garden arbor

Anyone walking on the pathway behind the house gets a pretty view too:

DIY garden arbour, DIY garden arbor

DIY garden arbour, DIY garden arbor

I have nothing against the look of wood – and I hung some flowers and took some photos so you could see how it looked – but if you use framing lumber, you can’t leave your DIY garden arbour / DIY garden arbor bare or the wood will rot pretty quickly.  Paint or stain is a necessity for its longevity.

Fortunately, I already have a gameplan (and the stain) to paint my fence black this summer, so staining this black (Benjamin Moore Arborcoat, solid stain in Black Beauty) was a no brainer.

I also had the benefit of a paint sprayer, or else this would have taken AGES!

DIY garden arbour, DIY garden arbor, black arbor, black arbour

The paint sprayer will waste a fair amount of paint in overspray – I went through ¾s of a gallon just putting one coat on this – but the time it saved more than made up for it.

You’ll want good eye protection, possibly a respirator, and a very strong bar of soap – those are not freckles folks. 😂

paint overspray

DIY garden arbour, DIY garden arbor, black arbor, black arbour

I like black in the garden – I find it makes the object recede from your vision and the flowers and greenery pop.

In this case, I wanted my DIY garden arbour / DIY garden arbor to be warm, welcoming, and decorative – without being *too welcoming (I back onto a public path and have had garden ornaments stolen from my yard)

DIY garden arbour, DIY garden arbor, black arbor, black arbour

I really am so pleased with how this turned out, and I can’t tell you how many compliments have been shouted over the fence by passersby.

Here’s hoping I get another 17 years of enjoyment from my beauty!

(Then the total cost would only be $23.60 CDN per year! 😂)

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Have a great one!