The Arbor Is Finished & How to Anchor an Arbor in Place

May 23, 2011 — 6 Comments

The Arbor installed (and yes there are little fireman boots sticking out from the bottom)

Well it took well over a year to actually order an arbor, assemble it, stain it and install it but it is finally done (except for painting the brackets)! We put it up yesterday and managed to get it anchored into the ground shortly before dark. I apologize that the pictures aren’t better, but I it is rainy this morning so I am using the pics from last night from the small camera. For those who might not have seen the previous posts on this topic.  This post shows the arbors I was considering and this post shows the staining in progress.

Rough placement before the install.

Simpson E-Z Mender, Home Depot $10 2-pack

Simpson E-Z Spike, Home Depot $17

Aussie Auger Arbor Support, Sam's Club $65

Mayne Mailbox Anchor, Amazon $29.99


Anchor/Footing Options

After I decided on an arbor, I had to figure out how to install it so it wouldn’t fall over in the wind and would be nice and stable for my 2 rambunctious children. I thought there would be supports readily available, but I was totally wrong! I didn’t want to put in concrete footing, partially out of pure laziness but also because there are a lot of tree roots in the area and I didn’t want to disturb them more than I had to. Also more digging meant more digging out of my perennials. So  I searched the internet for anchoring options. I found a couple of options if you had a 4×4 post (i.e. for a mailbox or fence post) or were installing a plastic arbor but nothing that would work for my arbor that was made out of 1×4 cedar. I finally decided to go over to Home Depot and see what they had. After almost giving up, I finally found something that seemed doable (and not really expensive)! I found the E-Z Mender by Simpson Strong-Tie a fence post mender which came in a 2 pack (typically one for each side of a 4×4 post). At $10 a pack it was quite a bit cheaper than the other options I had looked at. It also would fit the side of my 1×4 cedar perfectly. It also had 4 screw holes for the connection. So I picked up 2 2-packs (1 for each corner of the arbor).These should sit near the frost line (which should minimize frost heave).

Marked the corners w/ sticks

First Support Installed

Clamping the arbor to the support

Finishing screwing in one of the supports

Support Completed

Arbor immediately being used by kids!


The Install

1. Locate the Arbor
2. Put sticks just to the outside of the 4 corners to mark the placement.
3. Move the arbor
4. The ground wasn’t flat so I dug out a little bit on the higher side.
5. Pick a corner to start and using a mallet hammer the top into the ground. Check after a few swings for plumb and level. I needed Mr. S’s strong arms to get the support all the way in the ground. I was fine for the first half but I think I would have been there all day pounding on it to get it in the rest of the way.
6. We decided to set these so that the 4 screw holes were visible and above grade. We also decided to have the arbor sit above the grade by about an inch (to minimize rot).
7. After we finished putting in the first one we checked to see how it fit. Everything seemed fine. We then located the second support and moved the arbor back out of the way.
8. We hammered in the second support while checking with a straight piece of wood on the flat side to make sure that the 2 supports were in alignment. To level we placed the straight piece of wood on top with a level.
9. We put the arbor back into place to locate the 2 front supports. Because the supports are designed to be hammered from a hunch on the side I hammered them into the ground a few inches to get a rough placement.
10. We carefully lifted the arbor straight up and moved it out of the way.
11. We finished hammering the 2 remaining supports. Used the piece of wood to check for level on 4 sides.
12. We carefully lifted the arbor back in. The first time it didn’t fit (it was too tight). This is where a couple of whacks of the mallet comes in handy! We hammered the sides of the supports a few times and tried again. This time they fit but a couple of them were a little too far out.
13. We carefully used clamps to get the support tight to the post. It is important not to over tighten because this could hurt the arbor. This required some pushing and pulling on the arbor while the other person tightened the clamp. We also used bricks below the arbor feet to help get it roughly level before clamping.
14. Level the 4 sides and add clamps. Alternately, if you don’t have 4 clamps screw the first corner in, then level the next corner and clamp and screw until you get all the way around. We used stainless steel screws and washers.
15. Remove clamps. I am considering permanently installing the bricks under the 4 corners for extra support.
16. Things left to do: Reinstall some perennials around the base and adjust the stone path to align with the arbor. Paint the brackets.


6 responses to The Arbor Is Finished & How to Anchor an Arbor in Place

  1. You are Wonder Design Woman! Your post also cut down my research for anchoring an elevated raised bed planter too! Was not looking forward to concrete. Thanks!

  2. Glad to help!

  3. Thanks so much. you would think there would be an easy solution, and you found it! Off to Home Depot.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’1733574767 which is not a hashcash value.

  4. Did you design the arbor yourself or did you find some plans somewhere? We really like this design…got a link? :)

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ’0 which is not a hashcash value.

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