Garden Bridge For The Back Yard

This is an 8′ Cedar garden bridge I built in my shop for my own back yard as part of an ongoing landscaping project. It started out as dry stream bed project, but then of course we needed a way to walk safely across the rocks. After looking at what seemed like millions of of landscaping pictures on the web, we decided that we needed a garden bridge. But of course always making more work for myself than I really need to, I decided it had to be a curved garden bridge.

Garden Bridge

Building The Garden Bridge

I built a bending jig in the shop for making the two curved beams to support the garden bridge deck. Each beam is made from 6 pieces of 1×4 Cedar, 10′ long. The 1×4’s were laid on edge in the jig coated with exterior glue between them and pulled to fit the curve of the jig with bar clamps. I also added 3 1/2″ coated deck screws from both sides just for extra strength. After the glue was dry I pulled the beams from the jig and cleaned up the glue that had squeezed out.
I cut the 24 pieces of 5/4″ Cedar decking and fastened them to the beams with 2 1/2″ coated deck screws.

I bolted short Cedar 4×4 posts on the side of the garden bridge for the rails and then added some post caps that I picked up at Home depot. I was actually looking for some bigger rope to string between the posts but the biggest I could find around my area was the 1″ so that’s what I went with. The finish is four coats of exterior spar varnish that went on over a period of about a week, and with the last coat I sprinkled some fine sand on the top to keep the deck from being slippery.

Installation

Garden Bridge FootingsGarden Bridge Anchor

The finished bridge was a lot lighter than I thought it was going to be, with two of us easily carrying it out to the back yard. Once it was at the spot where i wanted it, I dug the holes for the four cardboard tube footings. I probably could have just set it on small concrete pads and it would have been fine, but I decided to make it a little more permanent and keep any frost from lifting it out of position. I poured the tubes full of concrete mix and placed a 4×4 post anchor in the top of each post to anchor to the garden bridge beams. This deck on this  thing is solid as a rock!  I am quite happy with the way this project turned out except that the kids always want to use the rope rail as a swing which puts quite a bit of strain on the soft Cedar posts. All in all a great addition to our back yard.

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