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Build a Swing Arbor

Swing Arbor

A swing arbor is a beautiful addition to any landscape. It makes an excellent growing platform for all sorts of climbing plants and provides you with an inviting place to sit and visit with friends, read or simply reflect on the natural beauty of your garden. Building the arbor is a simple project that requires only minimal carpentry skills and tools. You can build it without making your green thumb black and blue.


Make the Side Frames


Step 1
Side Frames Diagram

Lay two side uprights parallel, with the notches facing away from each other. Lay a top upright connector across the uprights. The top edge of the connector should be flush with the bottom of the notch and the ends of the connector should be flush with the outside edges of the uprights. Bore 3/8"-inch-diameter holes through the connector and the uprights. Attach the pieces with 1/4-inch-by-3-1/2-inch carriage bolts.



Step 2

Measure in 16 1/2 inches from each end of a 48-inch-outside foot and mark the foot's face. Lay out the assembly so the connector is facing upward. Align the uprights with the outside foot. The bottom end of each upright should be flush with the bottom edge of the foot. The outside edge of each upright should be flush with the mark on the foot's face. Bore 3/8-inch-diameter holes through the uprights and the foot. Attach the pieces with 1/4-inch-by-3-1/2-inch carriage bolts. The outside foot should be on the opposite face of the uprights from the top upright connector.


Step 3

Screw two 16 1/2 inch inside-foot pieces to the inside face of the outside foot. The inside-foot pieces should line up flush with the ends and edges of the outside foot. They should also butt against the outside edges of the uprights. Screw an 8-inch inside-foot piece to the inside face of the outside foot. The piece should line up flush with the edges of the outside foot piece and butt against the inside edges of the uprights.


Step 4

Use 2-inch screws to attach braces to the inside faces of the uprights and the foot.


Step 5

Make the second side frame to match the first.



Connect the Side Panels


Step 1
Connect the Outside Frames

Secure the side frames to two of the 87-inch 2 x 4 connectors with 2-inch screws. The 2 x 4 connectors fit into the notches you cut in the uprights. Ensure that the ends of the 2 x 4 connectors are flush with the outside faces of the side frames.



Step 2

Use 2-inch screws to attach braces to the outside edges of the uprights and the outside faces of the 2 x 4 connectors.


Step 3
Bore Counter-Sink Holes

Position the last 87-inch 2 x 4 connector centered between the side frame connectors standing on its edge. Bore countersink holes in the top edge of the center 2 x 4 and screw it to each upright connector as shown below.



Step 4
Block the Top Connectors of Your Arbor

Cut and install short pieces of 2 x 4 as blocking between each of the top connectors. The blocking will help the connectors resist twisting and warping.




Install the Lattice and Swing


Step 1
Attach Lattice

Trim two 15-3/4-inch wide lattice pieces to length and fasten them to the side frames with 1-1/4-inch screws.



Step 2

Trim the last 15-3/4-inch-wide piece of lattice to length and fasten it to the arbor's top with 1-1/4-inch screws.


Step 3
Attach Screw Hooks

Bore two 13/64-inch-diameter holes in the top center 2 x 4 for the screw hooks to hold the swing. Install the screw hooks and hang the swing.




Anchor the Arbor


Step 1
Anchor Your Arbor

Drill 5/8-inch-diameter holes in the front and back of each outside foot at 45-degree angles.



Step 2

Drive the rebar into the ground through the holes so the rebar is flush with or just below the top of the foot. The rebar will anchor the feet solidly to the ground.

If you're going to use the arbor on a deck, bore a countersink hole through the outside foot and the decking boards, and use carriage bolts to secure the feet to the deck.


Swing Arbor Cut List

swing arbor cut list

Finished Dimensions

Height: 87 inches
Depth:16 inches
Width: 16 inches


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