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How to Build an Arched Bridge Over a Creek

How to Build an Arched Bridge Over a Creek

There are plenty of ways you can beautify your garden whilst making it more practical and usable. One way to improve a garden that has a small creek or stream is by building a small bridge over. However, adding this beautiful accent may not be as easy as it sounds.

Whilst the DIY project significantly cuts down the costs of having a professional build it for you or purchasing it from a store, you still need to learn how to build the decorative garden bridge. The good news is that when you learn the basics, the project is quite easy to execute. So, below, we’ve shared a detailed guide on how to build an arched bridge over a creek to make the process easier for you.

Tools and Material Needed

Before you begin to build the bridge, you must first compile all the necessary tools and materials needed for the task. Below, we’ve shared all the essentials needed.

Protective gear

  • Work gloves
  • Protective goggles

Lumber planks (redwood or cedar)

  • 2 x 4s or 2x6s for flooring (depending on the width of the creek)
  • 2x12x for stringers

Carpenters pencil
Hand saw
Drill
Screws

How to Build an Arched Footbridge: Step by Step

This guide offers a basic idea when it comes to sizing.

After all, different creeks will require different footbridge lengths. Furthermore, you will also have to consider the height of the bridge to ensure it is safe.

1. Cut Out the Top and Bottom Arch of the Bridge from the Stringer

Trace out the arch size you want on the 2 x 12s stringers using a pencil – at the bottom, leave at least 18 inches of space to create better bridge weight support. Then, using a hand saw, cut the bottom piece for the stinger. Then, on the other stringer, trace the cutout using a pencil and repeat the cutting step using a handsaw.

2. Attach the Floor Planks to the Bridge Stringer

How to Build an Arched Footbridge: Step by Step

The next step is to attach the smaller 2x4s or 2x6s planks to the bridge stringers. Line the cutout arches side by side, whilst they are supported using other boards. The distance between the two stringers is determined by the width of the bridge you want. So, for example, if you want a bridge that is 30 inches wide, then, their distance should be 30 inches wide.

Similarly, you will have to cut the floor planks to be 34 inches long. After cutting the planks, place them on top of the arches – leaving each side hanging by at least 2 inches. Continue to line the floor planks in that manner until the bridge floor is fully covered – you will need at least 15 to 18 planks. Then, pre-drill 2 holes on each end of the planks all the way into the stringer and tighten them using screws. Opt for stainless steel screws because they are corrosive resistant thus, they will last longer.

 When you are pre-drilling and screwing the planks, work on the planks one by one, working your way from one end to the other to ensure each plank is properly fitted and straight. You can even use a carpenter's pencil to ensure each floor plank is evenly spaced out.  After you are done, the footbridge will be ready for installation.

3. After Building the Footbridge

While some people are okay with simply using the footbridge, others people may prefer to install posts and rails on the footbridge to give them support when they are walking over. To add posts, take 6x12s planks. The 4 planks should be cut to match your desired post height –  you may make the posts about half or a few inches more of your height .

Then, attach the posts to both ends of the arches on the outer side and pre-drill two holes on each post at the bottom – into the arch, and secure them using screws. Then, at the top, attach the two other planks on either side of the bridge at the top part of the posts at each end. One plank should be attached to the front and back posts on the right side and the same on the left side.

Additionally, the planks should be attached to the inner part of the posts. Then, drill two holes into the planks – working your way into the posts and secure them using screws. You will then be left with the frame in the middle – you can design the middle how you want to – whether you want to fill it with the planks in vertical design or with a more artistic wood pattern.

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