Friday, June 17, 2011

Arbor Amor

A few weeks ago, I posted a little sneak peak of the newest addition to the backyard patio....the grape arbor!  I'm back to give more details and pictures, and to confirm our swelling amounts of arbor amor (I have to say, I'm disappointed that "Arbor Amor" doesn't sound half as cool as it looks in writing; unless you get really fancy and pronounce arbor in an overly fancy, yet rhyming "arbooor" way.  And we're not quite that fancy, even if I do sneak in Latin words here and there.  (Amor is love for anyone who wasn't sure)).

But I digress.  And I'm coming back to the arbor only long enough to digress again into a discussion of the grapes.  Over a year ago now, Justin ate some grapes, harvested the seeds, and has babied the grapes ever since.  This has included a stint of winter simulation for the grapes in the freezer, lots of time, care, and attention from Justin, and a nice sunny window at his office throughout the cold (real) winter.  My cell phone memory is approaching full as a result of the number of pictures the proud gardener sent to me.  I have said before, and continue to believe, that if Justin someday cares for our kids with 1/2 the love and attention that he has provided to the grapes, they'll be in really good hands!

So as Justin's grapes were growing from tiny seeds to 6 foot plants, his dreams of a grape arbor were growing even faster.  While he has sometimes enjoyed, but mostly tolerated, my ongoing excitement about all things house-renovation-related, the arbor and gardens in general have shown Justin's passion; something into which he is truly excited about investing time, money, and brain power.  That alone has made this project extra fun and special.

We had initially planned to build the arbor like others we had seen from metal pipes.  However, we soon grew hesitant of the prices and our inability to find the fittings that would create the structure we envisioned.  On a suggestion from a neighbor, we found that we could meet all of our goals with components of chain link fencing.

We used the galvanized chain link pipes (which, unlike regular iron pipe, we could cut to length ourselves using a circular saw), as well as some of the standard pieces to building a chain link fence, used in slightly less-standard ways...

We basically built a rectangular upper frame; added two support bars parallel to the shorter sides, then connected this upper frame to 4 posts, which were cemented into the ground.

Gate corners and post caps form corner of upper frame, and connect frame to support posts:

T-clamps connect the support beams to the outside of the upper frame:

Justin also drilled holes in the pipes and added cross wires, which will eventually provide support for the growing grapes.

Obviously, as the grapes continue to grow, it will look better.  Eventually, the whole top will be very leafy.  There are also several projects to go to have the patio looking really good.  But I am really excited about our new solar-powered lights from Target!  They're the first step towards a festive summer patio ~ we're looking forward to lots of picnics and dinners out back :)

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