Arched Garden Bridge Construction: Quick & Easy Guide

Written by  //  December 13, 2013  //  Building Structures  //  Comments Off on Arched Garden Bridge Construction: Quick & Easy Guide

An arched bridge makes a beautiful addition to a garden. Having a fishpond or a stream is a good reason to build one but even if you don’t, a garden bridge will definitely create a charming, mesmerizing effect.

If you’re an all-around handyman, you won’t even have to hire a carpenter to build it for you. The process is pretty straightforward and techniques are easy to follow so you can definitely do it yourself.

Prepare your materials & tools

Make sure everything is ready before you start. For this project, you will be needing:

  • Pressure-treated lumber, cedar or redwood
    • For the stringers & Handrails: 2 x 4 treads, 2 x 12 beams (number of pieces and sizes will depend on how big or small your arched bridge will be)
    • For the posts, 2 x 2
  • Glasses
  • Safety gloves
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular saw
  • Hammer
  • Spirit Level
  • Carpentry pencil
  • Drill bits & drill machinery

Because a garden bridge is a relatively small scale undertaking, you can just reuse scrap lumber. If you don’t have enough at home, you can go to your local DYI store.

Measure, cut, curve

Start with the stringers for the bridge. Using a pencil-and-string compass, mark the curve cut lines on your 2×12 beams. The marks will serve as your guide in cutting the stringer. Use the first stringer as a template, and then cut the rest of the beams. Make sure they have the same size and shape.

You will have to leave 15 inches from the boards’ ends so the weight of the bridge will be supported properly. The same process is required for building the rest of the components; handrails, rails, and posts.

The curved components should be built using a circular saw with a fine blade. Prevent the wood from splitting by drilling pilot holes before you insert the screws. If you want a professional look for your bridge, round over the edges of your wooden pieces with a belt sander, router and a ¼” bit.

Connect the pieces together

Great care and attention is needed to properly join everything together. See to it that all the pieces were accurately cut and aligned before locking them into position.

With a spirit level, align the stringers and place them 32” apart. Fasten a few treads to lock them securely in place with 2 ½ – 3” screws. Make sure the boards are aligned neatly at both ends. Drill the pilot holes next, and then with an electric screwdriver, drive the screws in.

Now, you will need to fasten the treads. Place your boards in a way that they are equally spaced from one another. You may place a regular nail in between them to make sure the gaps are consistent. Avoid splitting the wood by drilling two pilot holes at both ends of the boards, leave at least ½” from the edges.

Attaching the elements of the railing to the bridge comes next. With a carriage bolt, fasten your posts to the bridge. Countersink the holes before you drive in the screws. Bridge railings are mostly built to add a dramatic effect to your garden bridge. You don’t really have to add railings if you want to keep things simple.

Sand and varnish

Sand your arched garden bridge with medium-grit sandpaper to smoothen the surface. Fill the cracks and gaps with wooden putty. Lastly, apply several coats of varnish to protect your arched garden bridge from the elements.

About the Author

View all posts by

Comments are closed.