Saturday, May 3, 2008

Building a Garden Bridge

I'm so happy spring is here. That means it's time to work outside in the yard. Already it's starting to shape up. When we first moved into our home we realized pretty quickly that we had some water issues in the back yard. Our property has a pretty dramatic slope, so when it rains we get all the neighbor's run-off. With some help from my hubby we dug out a natural creek and added river rock. It looked really nice and functioned well by collecting run-off and diverting it into the woods, rather than our house. I thought that the little creek needed a wooden bridge. I looked at several landscape places and the cheapest one was $800.00. NO WAY, too expensive!!! I looked on Ebay and they had a few that you could have shipped and then put together yourself. They were not cheap and were made out of pine wood. Pine does not hold out in the elements. My solution: I would build my own.

How hard could it be? I just wanted a little bridge that would look nice, not necessarily something that I would walk on. It did turn out to be solid enough and people walk across it all the time. I studied the ones I looked at in the garden centers so I would have an idea how to constuct it. Here it is all finished.

By the way, the New York Yankee fan is my husband's addition to the project.....literally.

I purchased pressure treated lumber at Home Depot. I figured that I would need two 2' X 12" pieces for the bottom so I had the guys cut it for me. They measure around 6 feet long. I penciled out a curve (see above photo) and cut it carefully with a jigsaw. My biggest mistake with this bridge in that it is "too curved". I actually made the curve too acute, so the bridge is a little steep. Believe's Ok cause it doesn't get much traffic. I used six 4" X 4" posts which I also asked the guys to cut for me. Wood posts are hard to cut because they are so thick. That's why I had them cut at the store. I used twelve 6" bolts to fasten them to the sides and added the decorative finials to the top. Those finials I glued on. I added the heavy rope for effect. The slats, for where you would actually walk on, were just decking boards that I cut all the same size and screwed on.

I constructed most of this in the garage and then realized I would have to finish it in the yard because it would get way to heavy to carry out. I'm happy with my little bridge. It really was not difficult to put together. The best part: total cost-$80.00!! Much better than the original one for $800.00. Ok, that one was much more elaborate but the bottom line is it was too expensive.
We have lots of moss growing in the backyard. My hubby was complaining about it, so I transplanted it between these flats stones that I recently put down in front of the bridge. A great use of moss and I love the way it looks. I'm keeping it watered and it seems to be taking. Best's free!

I'm hoping that the moss takes and continues to grow around the rock. The bridge and it's surrounding area is a work in progress. I'm adding to it everyday.
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  1. What a beautiful back yard you have, Christy! It looks so calm and refreshing.

    You did a great job with the bridge. It amazes me how talented you are. I don't think I could even design (much less construct)
    something as lovely as your bridge, even with help!

    Love the bridge and stream!

  2. You need to go into the bridge building business - I can not believe that you crafted that for $80!!! Amazing - when will you be visiting Houston to work on my yard?

  3. Could you build a sandbox next? From the look of your backyard sandbox, just wouldn't fit.
    But that is my backyard challenge.
    The bridge is beautiful.

  4. I wish I could go back to my sandbox days!! With three teenagers in the house, no one has any interest in a sandbox.....just my car keys.

  5. You did a Great job ,I also build bridges. it looks like one of mine.(;-)