Garden contruction orojects
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Pergola

Trellis

Rabbit proof fences (fingers crossed!)

Garden construction projects

We have a large but mostly flat garden (except immediately round the house). To provide structure and focal points we plant trees and more recently a pergola and archway. There is something about doorways and passing through them (even if they are not through solid walls) that seems to resonate powerfully somewhere deep in the subconscious. Crossing a threshold is always more than just moving forward one step.

But enough of the psycho-babble already!

I wanted to make these garden structures to look substantial, last at least 20 years and be as easy as possible to make.

For ease, I want to do as little ripping down timber as possible - I just want to cut it to length! Also all the timber is treated, the treatment only goes in a short distance so re-dimensioning means more rot treatment which will never be as good as the factory processing which is done under pressure.

I normally use MetPosts rather than Postcrete. It’s quicker and cleaner, especially if you’re putting posts up on grass and it keeps the end of the post above ground which must help prevent rot. Do use galvanised metposts, however. They are more difficult to get vertical but there is always a bit of play which can accommodate most inaccuracies.

My basic materials are 3X3” and 4X4” posts depending on the scale of the construction (3” for the arch, 4” for the pergola). 6x2” for the tops and for various curved sections and various smaller stuff for the trellis parts. I also use 25x4 mm mild steel bar for the pergola canopy etc. I don’t treat this, I let it rust gracefully!

I have a modular approach to the construction as far as possible and have a bracket design cut from two bits of 3x3 and one of 6x2 which is standard throughout.

Fixings are various sized coach-bolts in the main from 8 to 12mm with nice big square washers. The trellis parts are fixed with a variety of wood screws. I don’t think I used any nails.

Tools needed are a cordless drill/screwdriver, an electric hand saw (to machine large half-joints mainly) a hand saw, a sledge hammer (for the metposts) a level, a couple of cheap “workmate” benches, a fair quantity of G-clamps, a pair of steps etc. An electric chop saw speeds things up. The most expensive item is a band saw which will be needed to cut the curved pieces which are 3” deep.

A heavy vice to help to put some sharp bends in the steel will also be needed. (Although oxy-acetylene makes it very easy - maybe a friendly local garage?)

The “rabbit-proof” fences (you towns folk don’t know how lucky you are!) Are made from flat steel bar and small square section roughly welded together with a MIG. The chicken wire is folded over and secured where required with small black cable ties.

Construction of the arch is detailed here…

  

Garden screens

Pergola construction Construction of the arch.

Archway

Electric fence

Rabbits do crop the grass (and encourage broad leaf plants which they don’t seem to eat) but an attack by badgers is something else! They can rapidly turn your grass into a moonscape! An electric fence can discourage them (I hope!)

If you want to screen off a part of your garden why not consider multi-colour canvas screens laced to a timber frame? This is great for a seaside vibe.