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!