01 of 10
Measure by Measure
The Goal: To install a somewhat flimsy pre-fabricated wood arbor into the ground to ensure stability. The arbor's four posts do not provide extra space to sink posts deeply into the ground with concrete. We will need to dig holes about 1 foot deep, mix concrete in a wheel barrow, and pour it into the holes. This arbor can be used as a transitional structure linking two outdoor spaces, or could be installed against an outdoor wall at a condo or used as a privacy screen once it's covered... with plants and vines.
Start off the project by measuring center lines of each post to determine where to dig holes for a total of four measurements for four holes. Each hole should be approximately 1 foot in diameter and 1 foot deep.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
Metal Post AnchorsEmbed the anchors into the concrete, eliminating the need to sink the posts in the concrete. We purchased fairly shallow anchors because the arbor will only support the weight of vines. If this was for a fence or deck, you'd want deeper holes for longer, stronger post anchors.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
03 of 10
Saddle PostsSaddle the posts into the anchors. You want to have an air space between the bottom of the post and the saddle so that it doesn’t retain moisture and has a way to dry. To do this, we used scraps of floor tiles approx 1/4" thick. You can also use 1/4” or 3/8” plywood scrap.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
04 of 10
Here's the DrillDrill corresponding holes. Some anchors have holes that allow them to be nailed into the posts, but for extra reinforcement, drill the holes and bolt them in.
After drilling holes in posts, attach the anchors securely with purchased fasteners. Place a flat washer on each side of the hole and a lock washer on the end where you install the nut. The lock washer will ensure that the nut won’t back out.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Anchored TightAt this point, the anchor is tightly bolted into the post.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Measuring the DistanceSince this particular arbor is somewhat flimsy, we need to determine the top width of the arbor so we can clamp the bottom posts at the same distance so that the arbor is squared up. Measure top of arbor from center line of each post.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
07 of 10
Clamp for SolidityMark the center lines on the 2x4s and clamp each post to that center line mark with a C-clamp. This way we now have a solid, squared structure that can be positioned over the holes to prepare to pour the concrete.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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Get SupportSuspend arbor over holes by placing bricks, 2x4s or, in this case, pieces of broken cement and 2x4s. The goal is to use the support materials to space the arbor in increments until it's level and square to the ground. Use the clamped 2x4s from Step 7 as a basis for leveling horizontally and the posts themselves to level vertically. Add or remove spacers until you achieve proper alignment.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Mix and Pour ConcreteAfter double-checking your measurements and levels, add water to concrete mix per directions on the bag. Use a large bucket or wheelbarrow to mix the concrete. When the concrete reaches the desired consistency, which should be like an extra-thick milkshake, pour in holes. Wait approximately 24 hours or whatever the directions say on your concrete mix.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
10 of 10
The Finished Project: A Safe and Sturdy ArborRemove spacers, unclamp 2x4s last used in Step 8, clear away loose concrete. Fill holes with dirt and proceed to put in groundcover, pavers, plants, or whatever else you have in mind. Enjoy your arbor, knowing the posts have been imbedded securely into the ground. Congratulations -- you did it!