« Back | Print Print

Character by the Yard

If your landscape doesn't measure up, consider how these homeowners created curb appeal.
Enlarge Image Add personality to your yard with these incredible projects.

If your family, like this one, thinks of landscaping and gardening as ways of life and expressions of creative energy, consider creating a fence and an arbor like this one.

What You Need:
  • Paintbrush
  • Posthole digger
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Carpenter's square
  • Circular saw or table saw
  • Jigsaw
  • Hammer
  • Cordless drill/screwdriver
  • Spade bit (1/2-inch) for drill
  • Pipe cutter
Open-Air Arbor

Skill Level: Intermediate carpentry skills Time: Two weekends Estimated Cost: $250

Materials:
Enlarge Image Textured shower glass lends a pleasing pattern without blocking sunlight.
  • Four 4x4s, 10 feet long, for posts (A)
  • Six 2x4s, 30 inches long, for top rails (B), middle rails (C), and bottom rails (D)
  • Eight 1x2s, 30 inches long, for middle-rail cleats (E) and bottom-rail cleats (F)
  • Four 2x2s, 30 inches long, for top pipe rail (G) and bottom pipe rail (H)
  • Fourteen 1x4s, 30 inches long, for slats (I)
  • Two 2x6s, 34 inches long, for crosspieces (J)
  • Two 2x6s, 76 inches long with ends jigsawed per template, inset, above right, for beams (K)
  • Four 2x6s, 40 inches long, for rafters (L)
  • One 2x6, 42 inches long, for ridge (M)
  • Two 2x2s, 35 inches long, for ridge cleats (N)
  • Two 2x2s, 35 inches long, for crosspiece cleats (O)
  • Four 40-inch lengths of decorative molding (P)
  • Crushed rock (enough for 6 inches in the bottom of each posthole)
  • 8 bags concrete mix
  • 2-inch galvanized or stainless-steel deck screws
  • 3-inch galvanized or stainless-steel deck screws or 10d galvanized finishing nails
  • Six 40-inch lengths of 1/2-inch copper pipe for roof
  • Eight 42-inch lengths of 1/2-inch copper pipe for sides
  • Exterior-grade stain or sealer
  • Verdigris finish for copper (optional)
Instructions:

1. Download the free plan for this project. (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)

Open-Air Arbor plan

Download Adobe Acrobat

Instructions:
Enlarge Image Open-Air Arbor diagram.

2. Follow Step 1 of "Stepped Fence" instructions for staining wood, antiquing pipes, and -- using configuration on the detail drawing --setting posts. (Before setting in concrete, mark posts 89 inches above ground, remove from hole, and trim excess.)

3. Secure bottom rails (D) to posts by angling 3-inch screws (or toenailing) through the sides of each rail and into a post. Do the same with the middle rails (C), positioning them 48 inches below the tops of the posts. Use screws to secure one 1x2 cleat (F) to each bottom rail (D) to serve as a brace for the 1x4 slats (I); secure one 1x2 cleat (E) to each middle rail (C). Secure 1x4 slats to middle and bottom rails, using 2-inch screws and spacing slats 1/2 inch apart. Use 2-inch screws to secure the additional 1x2 cleats (E and F) over the slats.

4. Use a spade bit to drill holes into 2x2 pipe rails (G and H) for accepting 1/2-inch pipe. Space holes as shown above. Slip pipes into holes in top pipe rail (G) and bottom pipe rail (H). Screw top pipe rail (G) to top rail (B). Screw bottom pipe rail (H) to middle rail (C). To finish the top of each side of the arbor, notch top of each post to accept 2x6 beams (K). Screw crosspieces (J) between posts, just behind the top rail (B).

5. Bevel ends of 2x6 rafters (L). Taper 2x6 ridge (M) as indicated. Working on the ground, assemble the rafters and ridge. With a helper, lift the assembled roof atop the arbor; screw into place. Add decorative molding (P) to the front of each rafter (L).

6. Working on the ground, bevel 2x2 ridge cleats (N) and crosspiece cleats (O) to hold 1/2-inch copper pipe. Drill 1/2-inch holes in ridge cleats (N) and crosspiece cleats (O) to hold ends of copper pipes, spacing holes as shown. Slip pipes into the holes, and with a helper, lift the assembly in place on the roof and secure it with screws.

What You Need:
Enlarge Image Jogs in the fence are architecturally interesting and prevented damage to the roots of a Bishop pine.
  • Paintbrush
  • Posthole digger
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Level
  • Carpenter's square
  • Circular saw or table saw
  • Hammer
  • Cordless drill or screwdriver
  • Spade bit (1/2-inch) for drill
  • Drill
  • Pipe cutter
Materials:

Use cedar, redwood, or pressure-treated pine, as desired. For glass- or acrylic-plastic-frame assembly:

  • Two 2x2s, 8 feet long, for the top rails (A) and bottom rails (B)
  • One 2x2, 6 feet long, for stiles (C)
  • One 2x4, 8 feet long, for cap (D)
Fence Assembly:
  • Three 4x4s, 8 feet long, for posts (E)
  • Two 2x4s, 8 feet long, for top rails (F) and bottom rails (G)
  • One 2x4, 2 feet long, for middle rail (H)
  • Four 1x2s, 8 feet long, for middle-rail cleats (I) and bottom-rail cleats (J)
  • Two 2x2s, 2 feet long, for pipe rails (K)
  • Six 1x4s, 2 feet long, for half-slats (L)
  • Eighteen 1x4s, 5 feet long, for slats (M)
Other Components:
  • Crushed rock (enough for 6 inches in the bottom of each posthole)
  • 6 bags concrete mix
  • 2-inch galvanized or stainless-steel deck screws
  • 3-inch galvanized or stainless-steel deck screws or 10d galvanized finishing nails
  • Exterior stain or sealer
  • Four 8 x 21-1/2-inch pieces glass or acrylic plastic
  • Clear silicone caulk
  • Three 36-inch lengths of 1/2-inch copper pipe
  • Verdigris finish for copper (optional)
Instructions:

1. Download the free plans for this project. (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)

Stepped Fence plans

Download Adobe Acrobat

Enlarge Image Stepped Fence diagram.

2. Stain or seal wood; let dry. Brush pipe with verdigris finish, if desired. Dig postholes to below frost line, spacing them as shown. Pour 6 inches crushed rock into holes, then position posts (E) and fix plumb with temporary 2x4 braces staked to ground. Mix concrete; pour into holes to ground level. Let set two or three days.

3. To build the 6-foot fence section, secure 2x4 bottom rail (G) to posts, angling 3-inch screws or toenailing with 10d finishing nails through the sides of the 2x4 into the post. Repeat with top rail (F), positioning it 12 inches below the top of the posts. Use 2-inch screws to secure one 1x2 cleat (I and J) to each 2x4 rail; the cleats will brace the 1x4 slats (M). Space slats (M) evenly about 1/2 inch apart, securing them to cleats with 2-inch screws. Drive 2-inch screws to secure the second 1x2 cleat to the front of the slats at the top and bottom rails.

4. For glass-frame assembly, rout 1/4-inch dadoes into top and bottom rails (A and B) and 2x2 stiles (C) to accept glass panels. Screw bottom rail (B) of the glass-frame assembly to the top of the top rail (F). Pipe caulk into dado, and slide glass panels into place. Brace with 2x2 stiles (C). Pipe caulk into 2x2 top rail (A); fit onto top edge of glass panel.

5. To build the 2-foot fence section, secure top rail (F), bottom rail (G), middle rail (H), middle-rail and bottom-rail cleats (K and J), and 1x4 half-slats (L) as directed for 6-foot section.

6. Use spade bit to drill holes into middle-rail and top-rail cleats (K) for accepting 1/2-inch pipes, spacing holes as shown. Screw cleats (K) to middle rail (H). Slip pipe pieces into holes. Slip tops of pipes into holes on top rail cleat (I) and screw to top rail (F). To install glass, follow steps for 6-foot fence section. Top sections with cap (D), mitering the cap pieces at the corners and securing with 2-inch screws.

What You Need:
Frame Assembly:
  • Two 2x4s, 30 inches long, for cap (A)
  • Two 2x2s, 29 inches long, for top rails (B)
  • Two 2x2s, 30 inches long, for bottom rails (C)
  • Four 1x6s, 4 inches long, for stiles (D)
Arbor Assembly:
Enlarge Image Lush landscaping accents the structures.
  • Four 4x4s, 10 feet long, for posts (E)
  • Ten 2x2s, 30 inches long, for side rails (F)
  • Sixteen 1x6s, 12 inches long, for side trim (G)
  • Four 1x6s, 19 inches long, for bottom side trim (H)
  • Two 2x6s, 36 inches long, for crosspieces (I)
  • Two 2x6s, 91 inches long with ends jigsawed per template, inset, above right, for beams (J)
  • Two 2x6s, 43 inches long, for rafters (K)
  • Five 2x4s, 36 inches long, for joists (L) and ridge (M)
  • Two 43-inch lengths of decorative molding (N)
  • One 2x4, 40 inches long, for roof cap (O)
  • One 4x8-foot sheet of 1/4-inch plywood, cut into two 39 x 43-inch pieces, for shingle underlayment (P)
  • Crushed rock (enough for 6 inches in the bottom of each posthole)
  • 8 bags concrete mix
  • 5-inch galvanized or stainless-steel deck screws
  • 2-1/2-inch galvanized or stainless-steel deck screws
  • 3-inch galvanized or stainless-steel deck screws
  • 4-inch galvanized or stainless-steel deck screws
  • Two 61-inch lengths of 1/2-inch copper pipe
  • Four 58-inch lengths of 1/2-inch copper pipe
  • Exterior-grade stain or sealer
  • Verdigris finish for copper (optional)
  • Cedar shingles
  • Roofing nails
  • Six 1/2-inch copper caps
  • 2 panels of 1/4-inch glass or acrylic plastic, each cut to 4 x 29 inches
  • Clear silicone caulk
  • 3/16-inch copper wire
  • Copper sheeting (optional)
Instructions:

1. Download the free plans for this project. (Downloading requires Adobe Acrobat software.)

Shingled Arbor plans

Download Adobe Acrobat

Enlarge Image Shingled Arbor diagram.

2. Prior to assembling the arbor, stain or seal all wood; let dry. Brush pipe with verdigris finish, if desired. Dig postholes to below frost line, spacing them as shown. Line bottom of holes with 6 inches crushed rock. Position 4x4 posts (E) in holes and fix plumb with temporary 2x4 braces staked to ground. Mix concrete and pour into holes to ground level. Let set two or three days.

3. Drill holes for three pipes evenly spaced in each 2x2 side rail (F). Slip pipes through holes as shown and top each pipe with a copper cap. Secure assembled 2x2s and copper pipes between posts, using 5-inch screws. Fasten 2x6 fence crosspieces (I) with 2 1/2-inch screws and 2x4 cap (A) with 5-inch screws to each side of arbor. Slip side trim pieces (G) and bottom side trim (H) between side rails (F) as shown on the detailed drawing, and secure with 4-inch screws.

4. For the glass-frame assembly, rout 1/4 inch dadoes in 2x2 top rails (B) and bottom rails (X) to hold glass panels. Screw a top rail (B) to the bottom of each cap (A). Screw stiles (D) to each post, using 4-inch screws. Fill dado with caulk and press one rail onto bottom edge of each glass piece. Screw bottom rails to posts (E), then fasten beams (J) to posts with 3-inch screws.

5. Working on the ground, assemble the rafters (K), joists (L), and ridge (M); secure with screws. With a helper, lift the assembled roof atop the arbor; secure to beams (J) with screws. Add decorative olding (N) to rafters (K) with screws. Cut notches into the two plywood panels (P) to accept the ends of the beams (J); top roof with plywood panels; nail on cedar shingles. Cut a roof cap (O) from a 2x4 and fasten to the apex of the roof with screws.

Enlarge Image Top corner detail.

6. To add twisting bits of 3/16-inch copper pipes, drill 1/4-inch holes through the copper pipes. Slide a length of wire through each hole, and twist and curl the wire as desired. To add a pieces of copper sheet in to the wire, cut a slit in a copper disk using a hacksaw, and slide the slit over the wire. Use a small hand torch or soldering iron to secure the disk ot the wire.