5 Garden Bridges You'll Love For Your Own Home

  • 01 of 05

    Garden Bridges That Enhance Curb Appeal

    Wooden Garden Bridge With Slight Hump
    Wooden Garden Bridge With Slight Hump. CC-Licensed; Flickr User Mark Rosenwald

    If there's any less-functional home remodeling/building project than a garden bridge, let me know, because I'm sure curious to hear what it is.  Think of it:

    You purposely create an obstacle (stream, pond, etc.) so that you can spend several hundred dollars (or thousand) to span that obstacle.  That's like hitting yourself on the head with a hammer just so that you can stop doing it.  What kind of madness is this? 

    Well, it happens to be a madness that's fun to plan and build.  What are these things, what do they span, and what type of people build them?  We'll cover that in this article, but first:

    This Bridge...

    These are lush gardens that I've previously featured in an article about stone pathways.  This flagstone and pond and bridge combo is exceedingly well crafted.  But what really rules is that rail-less footbridge. 

    Most garden bridges are curved and have elaborate railings; my son calls them fairy-tale bridges.  By contrast, this bridge is all about natural simplicity:  a slight upward arc, eighteen deck boards across two stringers.  Done.

    Continue to 2 of 5 below.
  • 02 of 05

    Footbridge In Japanese-Style Garden

    Japanese Garden Bridge 1500 x 1000
    Japanese Garden Bridge. CC-Licensed; Flickr User Ken Sloop

    This garden has an Asian flair with its ground-hugging junipers, lovely rockwork, and Japanese maples.

    But what really stands out is that footbridge across the artificial creek (I wager that this is a kit-built bridge, eight to ten feet long).  Stained red, it really pops out as the centerpiece of the gardens.  For the opposite effect, see the next photo.

    Three Footbridge FAQs

    • Buy 'Em:  You can buy flat-packed garden bridges (more on that later) up to 5 feet long for next-to-nothing.  After that length, prices rise exponentially.  Quality leaves something to be desired, and you'd better be satisfied with fairy-tale style bridges.
    • Or Build 'Em:  For little more than the price of lumber and nails, you can have your own footbridge.  Lowe's has a simple footbridge-building tutorial that shows just how easy it is.
    • It's a Deck:  Thinking of it as a deck--or at least being in the "deck family"--may clarify the issue for you.  To build, you use decking boards.  Railings are installed only for appearance; most localities don't require rails for decks over a certain height.  In many places, the minimum is 30".
    Continue to 3 of 5 below.
  • 03 of 05

    Simple, Natural-Wood Garden Footbridge

    Simple and Natural Wooden Garden Bridge 1500 x 1000
    Simple and Natural Wooden Garden Bridge. CC-Licensed; Flickr User Jocelyn Kinghorn

    The photographer identifies this garden bridge as being located at Ilam Gardens, Christchurch, NZ.  The focus there are the azaleas and rhododendrons, but I especially liked this footbridge.

    1. Functional:  Rare, because this is garden bridge that actually performs the function of taking people from one place to another place.
    2. Natural:  The wood is left unstained and unsealed, so that the gardens take visual precedence, not the bridge.


    If you need to break up concrete as part of your improvement plan, check out this linked article. 

    Continue to 4 of 5 below.
  • 04 of 05

    Cheap Garden Bridge

    Inexpensive Garden Bridge 700 x 700
    Inexpensive Garden Bridge. © Improvements Catalog

    In most cases, garden bridges from online stores aren't such a great deal.  They tend to be overpriced, and shipping is a deal-breaker.  Can you imagine shipping all of that wood?  Reasonably priced bridges are laughably small.  Gnomes wouldn't even be able to fit on them.

    Here's one that I approve of.  Granted, it's made of thin Chinese cedar wood.  However, some nice features:

    • Five feet long. 
    • Unfinished, so that you can stain and seal it however you like.
    • Comes with two side rails.
    • $99.

    Shipping is a low $5, plus on the day I was shopping for it, they offered a 10% off coupon code.

    Now, I wouldn't recommend using this bridge to span a 2000 ft. deep gorge, but for a dry riverbed or even a modest artificial stream, it will serve you just right.

    It's from Improvements Catalog (link below).

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Unusual Fan-Shaped Footbridge

    Unique Fan Shaped Garden Bridge 1500 x 1000
    Unique Fan Shaped Garden Bridge. CC-Licensed; Flickr User Four Seasons Garden

    This little bridge is part of a private garden owned by UK's Marie and Tony Newton called the Four Seasons Garden.  It's a lovely sanctuary of plantings, innovative hardscapes, and structures, including a hand-built pagoda.

    What really stands out about this bridge:

    • Balusters:  Fan-shaped.  Why?  Because it just looks better.  All-vertical balusters are fine, but these fanned out ones fit more with the undulating curves of a garden.
    • Railing On One Side Only:  Yes, did you notice the railing just on one side?  It's not an accidental omission.  Everything in this garden is done by plan.
    • Color:  The dark color matches with the pagoda and promotes the Asian style.