I’ve gotten numerous compliments on our moon-gate at the entrance to our front yard. I love the rounded design and wanted to add more rounded design elements to our front yard. Last Spring, I decided to throw some tomatoes and melons into our front garden, since the bushes (azaleas and blueberries) that we planted there would need a few years before they filled the space out. I didn’t want to waste all that good sun. The plants did really well, this was prime solar real-estate after all. Unfortunately, the tomatoes and melons, as they do, grew all over the place. It was hard to keep them to the crude mini-trellises I had threw together for them.
I decided I wanted a permanent trellis to grow vine flowers and vine vegetables in the front yard. I sketched out some ideas, and like usual, scanned the internet for ideas. I then had a radical idea. I could build a massive arch trellis that matched the moon-gate and extended over our walk to the house. I made some measurements and decided this would work well. It also could be used to grow some roses up front, something my wife really wanted.
I was a little worried, since one line of the posts was right over my water lines. However, we live in Minnesota, so our water pipes are typically 6-7 feet below the ground at street level. Since my house was on a little hill, I was already 2-3 feet above street level. I made some measurements where the lines came into the floor of my basement and realized I had plenty of clearance for those pipes. So, I began to dig some posts deep into our front yard right along the walk.
I cut the posts down to ensure the same height for all six of them. The posts were then cemented in using some quick-dry post mix and let to rest for a couple days.
The next goal was to cut out the arch templates using the measurements I had made between the posts. I used the same method I had for the moon-gate (check that out HERE). There was going to be three arches, so I had three different templates for the slight differences in distance between posts.
The arches were attached to the posts using a series of pocket-holes and waterproof ceramic-coated pocket-screws. The posts were made of ground-treated wood, while everything else was composed of western red cedar (matching our front fence and moon-gate). Soon I had all three arches installed.
This already created a beautiful symmetry with a columnated path to the house and gate. I knew I had gotten the heights just right.
The next phase was adding the horizontal strips that would provide scaffolding for the plants to climb. These were 1″ thick cedar board strips cut on my bandsaw from the same 5/8″ thick western red-cedar boards we had used for the front fence.
The upper portion of the strips were quite hard to install, I spent far more time on top of the ladder than I would have liked. The strips were screwed into place on each end, with two strips lining up on the center posts. The holes had to all by predrilled to ensure the ends wouldn’t split. I cut the excess off with a Japanese cross-cut saw.
After cutting all the strips and smoothing out the ends, it looked gorgeous. The long lines focus your attention to the center of the moon-gate from one end…
…or the door of the house from the other end.
Now, all it needed was a garden bed on the southern side for vines to grow within. Since we have a dog, I knew I’d need clear boundaries and decided to build a raised box.
It is quite a welcome addition to our front yard and I cannot wait to start growing vines up and along its curving structure.