Building a Vertical Garden Arbor with Gutters (Part 2)

Building a Vertical Garden Arbor with Gutters (Part 2)

It’s time to show you the construction phase of the vertical garden arbor that I’m building for Lowe’s Creative Ideas! In the previous post I listed the materials and dug the holes for the project so if you’re just now finding this project you may want to start with part 1 of this gutter garden project!

Working on the Gutters

The main feature of this project is the gutter planters.  Originally I planned on three 4′ long pieces of gutter to make three shelf planter areas but found that the distance between them wasn’t as far apart as I wanted them.  I could have extended it lower or added a fourth section (and I may do that later) but I decided to go with two pieces to allow the fence to tie in nicely (if I ever get around to doing that part!)

The hardest part of installing the gutters was cuttings them.  A set of metal snips are crucial for this!  With these all I needed to do was to cut the two sides (front and back) of the gutter along my mark.  Then I bent the gutter along the third side (bottom) and cut.

Next I painted the gutters with a Rustoleum hammered copper spray paint. I like the copper look without having to pay a fortune on copper gutters!  After the gutters dried I drilled holes in the back side of the gutters about a quarter of an inch above the bottom of the gutter. Being a container that will be in full sun most of the day the gutters will dry out quick and I needed to try to maintain a small reservoir of moisture in the gutters.

While the paint on the gutters was drying I worked on constructing the actual structure!

Building the Arbor

Precision measuring is always important when working on a project.  Spending the time to accurately cut and measure lumber makes the assembly part so much faster and a whole lot less frustrating! I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Measure twice, cut once” right? So I began with making my measurements on the cross pieces of the arbor.

I used one 12′ long 2’x6′ for the cross pieces and cut it into two pieces.  Lumber typically comes a little longer than what it says to allow room for cutting. After cutting the lumber evenly I had two 6′ and 1/4″ pieces.  Then I figured the decorative corner measurement to cut off of each board.  I tried several pencil sketches on the board before settling on one I liked.  Here it’s up the the taste of the builder on what to do for it. I opted for a simple single cut but if you have a jigsaw handy you can make all kinds of patterns for the corner cut.

Next came some precision measuring!  I measured the center of the 6′ boards then measured 2′ from center and made a mark on the left and right sides.  This gave me four feet in between my marks where the gutter space would be. Then I checked the measurement of my 4″x4″ which is usually 3 1/2″. Then I made another mark 3 1/2″ on either side of the right and left marks to create a center line for my posts.  This gave me an outline for where the posts would line up.

Then I made marks for the holes where the bolts would go.  I set them about 1 1/2″ from each edge along the center line.  I drilled the holes very carefully making sure that I drilled straight holes. Any deviation would make assembly tough!  Once I drilled the 4 holes on each board I lined up my 4″x4″ posts to the cross piece and clamped them together.  Since I already had starter holes in the cross pieces I used that as a guide to evenly drill my holes through the 4″x4″.  It worked great!  Once I had 2 holes drilled in each 4″x4″ I moved all the pieces to the location before assembly!

Assembly of the Vertical Gutter Garden Arbor

This was the fun part, actually seeing the project come together! I simply lined up the posts with the holes and put a cross piece on the ground underneath the 4″x4″s.  Then I slid the bolts through the holes and lined it all up.  Once I had the second cross piece on the opposite sides of the posts I added a washer and a nut to each one then tightened down.

Next I needed to add drainage gravel to the holes.   This keeps the water form pooling at the base of the wood and improves its longevity.  Then I stood the arbor up in the holes and adjusted the amount of gravel to make the arbor level.

Then I added the gutters to the project.  They are spaced about 16″ apart and held up with the “L” brackets.  I used some self tapping metal screws I had on hand to attach the gutter and brackets together and a couple deck screws to attack the bracket to the posts.

I checked the vertical garden to make sure it was straight and level then I braced it and mixed the concrete.  Follow the instructions on mixing concrete on the package but what you generally want is peanut butter consistency! Add a little water at a time then mix so you don’t do too much!

The next step is planting! We’ll save that for tomorrow’s post!



Dave has written since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Hi there! I am looking to do one of these and as shocked that most are hanging, built on a fence or on the side of the home directly. Like you, I am looking for a stand alone version. You plan is very nice but I was hoping to use full 8' sections of gutter. Would you say that the full section would cause stress and sagging (or bending) to the gutter with only supports on the ends?

    1. without a doubt an 8 ft gotter is going to be stressed and I suspect filled with soil and then wter from a heavy rain it has to give in the middle.

  2. This is great, Dave! Can't wait to see what you planted in it.

  3. Those are awesome! Great idea to make an arbor so you can put them where you want.

  4. Great idea Dave. I have some gutter left over & may try something like this.

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