A grape arbor can be one of the most delightful sites in a garden. For centuries, these arbors have been used to add an element of beauty and scenic effect to home porches around the world. If you are willing to experiment with your own little heavenly space, read on ...
A grape arbor helps in the steady growth of grapes, and maintains the form and function of grapevines. Also, they are a beautiful and cost-effective value addition to the landscape.
The structure also serves as a comfy sitting area in the outdoors, providing shade and of course, bunches of grapes to feast upon. These arbors can be constructed in a range of sizes and shapes, depending on your choice.
Building a Grape Arbor
1. To begin with, you will need wood-crude or treated lumber and rafters/metal posts, mixed concrete, post hole diggers, screws/bolts, shovel, circular saw, drill and drill bits, tape measure, hammer, and some of your garden tools.
2. Grapes need sunlight to grow.Ensure you get direct sunrays reaching the area where you want the arbor. Choose one suitable to the ambiance you want and the type of grapes to be grown. Make sure the material can bear the weather and the weight of vine.
3. Get a set of post hole diggers, and begin digging at the desired spot. The size of the arbor determines the number of holes to be made. Once the holes are dug, fix the poles raised at a level, and pour concrete to strengthen the base.
4. Wood or steel posts provide a sturdy support to the framework. Before filling in the concrete, check whether the posts are straight and leveled, and always create a space for drainage in the ground.
Cedarwood is a good choice for the poles as:
It is resistant to rot or mildew, and can resist harsh weather effects.
It is strong, yet light in weight.
It can be shaped into the desired frame easily, as compared to other forms of wood.
However, depending on your preferences, a variety of wood or metal posts can be used to support the arbor.
5. Once the concrete hardens and the posts are firm and stable, the crossovers can be set up. The crossover arrangement depends on the type of grapes and choice of ambiance. A pruned vine gives a formal aura with a heavy cluster of grapes on it. The casual look needs less pruning and gives more shade but less yields. They need a strong crossovers network.
6. An intricate arrangement of rafters and lumbers can form the horizontal support. The arrangement of materials may differ according to your choice. There is a lot of scope for innovation and hence, a great joy in designing the arrangement.
If you wish to paint the arbor, wash the lumbers with a trisodium phosphate solution, and then apply the paint. In order to give a typical look to the arbor, multiple layers of paint can also be applied.
7. If you want a more organized setup, lighting up the arbor is a good option. But install the apparatus at the start of the second growing season of the vines. This way you can have an estimate of the water seepage and take care of other safety measures. If there is a conduit to be used in the setting, paint it before installing/inserting the setup.
8. Grapes grow in a weather with lot of sunlight and rain. Choose the right variety to suit the climate of your region. Generally, the European variety of grapes are used in hot regions. The concord variety of grapes have a shorter growth span, and are planted during the cold season.
9. In order to direct the vines on the arrangement, you can hammer staples in the middle of the posts, and slip a wire through them to fasten the climbers. Decorative effects can be added by including wisteria, jasmine, or rose plant, along with the grape vines.
Grape arbor designing is a collective exercise and therefore, involving your family members can make it a lovely experience, or as they say, 'the more the merrier'!