How to build a garden bridge
Decorative bridge in the garden is a very special design feature that is quite good not only for its performance, but also for its ability to beautify the landscape, to make the overall landscape picture complete. Therefore, when planning to build a bridge in your private garden with your own hands, you must consider all possible principles of the accommodation structures and types and then create your own original and stylish bridge. In case you want to know how to build a bridge for your garden with your own hands, this article may be useful for you.
Options for the placement
Garden bridges are often carried out for the purely functional purpose - to serve as a crossing over a stream or a pond. But there are alternative approaches to their placement in the gardening area. The perfect places for summer garden bridges are:
- small ravines and ditches;
- ponds and lakes;
- dry creeks;
- paths near the decorative arbors and arches.
Bridges which are used to connect the small islands in the pond look spectacular. The landscape design involves placing these stylish structures at the narrowest point of the water reservoir. Being over water, it divides the water surface into parts that differ significantly in size. This arrangement allows us to emphasize the main part of the reservoir and the shallows, it also plays the role of the border between the garden and places of for summer activities and the rest zone.
Taking into account the principle of symmetry - which is typical for the regular gardens – the rectangular bridges are strictly recommended to be installed in the middle of water bodies. In this case, in addition to its functional load, it serves as a viewing platform, it allows you to create an atmosphere of tranquility and privacy. For a country-style garden a wooden bridge without any artistic delights with wide railing would be a perfect choice.
Wood bridges look perfect near other different structures made of wood. The best kinds of timber for them are cedar, larch and oak. Durability is provided by special impregnation which does not affect the texture and color – it only protects your bridge against the damaging effects of pests and moisture.
Metal garden bridges are perfect for a modern-style garden. The unique wrought iron bridges look specially interesting to look along, the railing may be with vines. Their main disadvantage is the high price and susceptibility to corrosion.
Stone constructions are very heavy, so the artificial stones are widely used for the decorative bridges, along with sandstone or granite ones.
The architectural concrete is the most durable material thanks to its excellent properties - it is resistant to frost and moisture. For making the surface of the concrete bridge more decorative you can use stone chippings and acrylic facade paints.
Bamboo is used for the Japanese-style brodges. Because of its high price it is possible to limit the use of bamboo by the trim only.
The garden bridges made of combined materials are quite common. For example, metal and wood.
Basics of the garden bridge construction
Before starting the installation you should know a few rules that will significantly improve your future performance and help you to avoid some common mistakes:
- the standard width of the garden bridge is 4 feet 4 inches, but a little wider one may be certainly more convenient;
- the garden bridge length is usually no more than 10 feet;
- the distance between the floorboards is usually about 15-20 mm, it will allow the flow of rains to release the bridge surface quickly;
- do not long to have a smooth surface for your bridge - during wet weather it may be rather dangerous to walk;
- a solid foundation is very important in the construction process;
- railing will provide additional safety;
- mounts must be made of stainless steel in any case.
Choosing shape and design
At the initial stage it is necessary to make a schematic sketch of the bridge garden of your dreams, then on paper. If you deal with a limited budget it is necessary to pay a very special attention to the mass production of cheap products from the nearest garden store. You can find a huge number of photos of garden bridges for every taste and budget in the catalogs there.
- A straight bridge – This is the simplest type. They are usually made of wood, stone or concrete, they may equipped with railings if necessary.
- An arched footbridge or a “humpbacked” one – Arch bridges are very popular nowadays. The ideal width for such structures is 7 feet or more, the maximum permissible bending is 20?.
- A suspension bridge - Such structures must need a solid foundation and strong ropes or chains.
- A zigzag bridge - Zigzag ones look very special and unique.
How to build a bridge over a creek with your own hands
- The process of building of decorative garden bridges garden starts with creating of a basic platform and strengthening the banks and slopes. For this purpose it is possible to use gravel and stones of different sizes.
- Wide boards are set on the support site – that will serve as the foundation of the bridge.
- It should be noticed that at the point where all these elements are connected it is necessary to conduct the additional waterproofing.
- To avoid bias the base of the beams are fixed with metal profiles.
- Flooring boards are installed.
- Strengthening of the flooring can be performed by means of screws or nails. Screws or nails shouldn’t protrude above the surface.
- At the final stage the railing is built. The optimal height of the railing is traditionally 3-3,5 feet.
- The wooden parts of the bridge must be painted and treated with a protective agent.
- It should be noted that if the width of your pond is more than 20 feet, the bridge will need a solid foundation made of concrete blocks and the intermediate supports.
We hope this article helped you to find an answer to the question how to build a garden bridge with your own hands in a proper way.