How to Build a Wooden Arch Bridge

Written by cathy conrad
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How to Build a Wooden Arch Bridge
Arched garden timber bridge (Personal collection,

New ideas for landscaping your yard can include a wooden arch bridge. Wooden arch bridges can be made with garden timbers and do not have to have any special cuts. This bridge is pretty over a dry creek bed with rocks and plants or over a small stream. This project bridge is 8 feet long by 3 feet wide. You have the option of adding handrails.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 33 3-foot long garden timbers or landscape timbers
  • 12 2-1/2-foot long garden/landscape timbers
  • 6 6-foot long garden/landscape timbers
  • 60 10-inch long garden timber screws
  • 8 4-inch long garden timber screws
  • Drill with driver bit
  • Measuring tape
  • Circular saw if cutting timbers yourself

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  1. 1

    Either have the hardware store cut the landscape timber to desired lengths, or cut them yourself to specified lengths. There will be no need for predrilling screw holes, as the garden timber screws are self-tapping.

    How to Build a Wooden Arch Bridge
    Garden/landscape timbers
  2. 2

    Begin at the bottom of the first bridge step and lay two 2-1/2-foot lengths of board side by side on the ground. These are each side of the steps. Lay one 3-foot section across the 2-1/2-foot sections so they match up together on each end. Drill a 4-inch screw into each end, through both boards. Attach and screw another 3-foot section next to the one you just attached.

    How to Build a Wooden Arch Bridge
  3. 3

    Repeat Step 2 for the second step of the bridge, except use one 2-1/2-foot length on each side and two 3-foot lengths on top of the 2-1/2-foot length on each side. Then lay three 3-foot boards across the side frame, side by side. Attach the screws on each end of the boards, through all the boards, to hold them together.

  4. 4

    Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the steps on the opposite side of the bridge.

  5. 5

    Make the cross braces under the bridge. Place the steps on each side of the area that you want the bridge to span. Lay out two 6-foot boards stacked on top of each other, across to each step, on each side and in the middle of the bridge. Attach with the 4-inch screws, offset far enough to the inside of the board to allow for the bolts on the walkway in the next step.

  6. 6

    Lay the 3-foot lengths side by side all the way across the bridge. Attach each one with a 10-inch screw to the cross boards, underneath and on each end of the board.

Tips and warnings

  • Add width and length measurements if you need a longer or wider bridge.
  • Apply three coats of polyurethane seal or paint, if desired.
  • Use all safety precautions when using power equipment.

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