How to build a garden pagoda

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Garden pagodas can be used as trellises for a vine garden and can also be used to provide shade for family gatherings or for shade plants, depending on the type of covering used. Several types of wood can be used, depending on the look you are going for. For a bare wood look, use hardwood, such as oak, as it takes longer to decompose. If you are going to stain or paint the pagoda, you can use a softer wood, such as pine.

Determine the size of the pagoda. Each corner uses a 10 x 10 cm (4 x 4 inch) post (four posts, total). For a large pagoda, place a mark for a post every 1.8 m (6 feet). If the pagoda is 2.4 m x 1.8 m (8 feet x 6 feet), mark out the four corner posts, then place a mark in the centre of the two posts on the 2.4 m (8 foot) side (for a total of six posts).

Dig the holes to a depth of 90 cm (3 feet). Set the posts in the holes. Put 20 to 30 cm (8 to 12 inches) of scrap stone (broken concrete, rocks, broken pavers) in the bottom of the hole to help hold the post upright. Run the string across the top of the posts (hold it on with a screw or nail) or lay a 5 x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) board over the top of the posts. Hang a string level on the string or lay a level on top of the 5 x 10 cm (2 X 4 inch) boards to make sure the posts are level. If the posts are not level, adjust them accordingly by digging the hole deeper or adding soil to the bottom of the hole.

Add Quik-crete cement (dry) to the holes up to 15 cm (6 inches) from the top of the hole. Add enough water to the cement to thoroughly moisten the cement. Do not “drown” the cement with too much water -- you need just enough to moisten the powder. When the cement no longer soaks up the water, you have enough water.

Allow the cement to dry according to the instructions on the package -- usually 24 hours gives it enough time to set firm enough to work on the project.

Pencil in a decorative design on the ends of the crosspiece 5 x 15 cm (2 x 6 inch) boards (optional). Cut the design out with the jigsaw.

Nail or screw the 5 x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) boards around the insides of the posts to form a box around the very top of the pagoda. The 5 cm (2 inch) side of the board is even with the top of the posts.

Stand the 5 x 15 cm (2 x 6 inch) boards on the 5 cm (2 inch) side across the top of the pagoda. Place a board every 30 to 60 cm (12 to 24 inches), depending on your preferences. Fit the hurricane straps (L-shaped) on each side of the board, over the 5 x 10 cm (2 X 4 inch) boards. Screw or nail the hurricane straps into the 5 X 10 cm (2 X 4 inch) boards and the 5 x 15 cm (2 x 6 inch) boards to hold the 5 x 15 cm (2 x 6 inch) boards upright.

Stain or paint the pagoda, if that is your preference.

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