arbor anchor?

kimcocoJanuary 25, 2010

Our municipality requires a permit, fee, and approval from the town board for a permanent structure - which includes arbor and pergolas.

To bypass that avenue, I'd like to install a wood arbor with non-permanent footings. Has anyone done this?

I had a neighbor who did this, but I can't remember where he got them from. The four by fours (he created a privacy screen) were installed into metal footings that were inset in the ground, and the four by fours were stabilized with reinforcement screws into these footings. Technically, not a "permanent" structure. I'm assuming they're found in the millwork department, as the 4 x 4's fit into them perfectly.

Any idea what these are called?

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Just to clarify, I'm assuming they are referred to as "footings" but when I do that search on the web, I don't see anything like it.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 9:58PM
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Mickie Marquis(6 SW Ohio)

Just look in the fence/deck/patio department at one of the big box home stores (Lowes, Home Depot, etc.). I have seen them there. Also if you have a good mom and pop hardware store - they know where to find all that stuff.

Good luck - I know city ordinances are set for good reasons but they can soemtimes be real hurdles for us!


    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 8:32AM
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kimcoco, the brackets that I think you are talking about actually have to be secured into formed concrete, in the ground. There are cylindrical forms that are used with these things (my parents in law used them for their fence) that you pour the concrete into and then the brackets are put into the concrete. The 4x4's are then attached to the brackets. Of course, if your neighbor had them stabilized directly into the ground, perhaps these are not the ones I'm talking about. As folks have said, the autumn clematis is quite aggressive and your arbor needs to be really well secured otherwise your clem might walk off down the street taking your arbor with it:) Kat

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 10:52PM
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The anchors you refer to come to a point and are pounded into the ground. They are very sturdy and are even used for footings for decks.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 8:58AM
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That is great news. Now it's a simple (yeah, right) matter of building the arbor. LOL. I have a book with the specs, but I need to make it a little wider than the specs...our walkway spans 6 feet in width. Can't wait.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 3:12PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

I know of the anchors that sharon refers. Unless you are building a structure that is very well reinforced, I would be afraid of what is going to happen when SAC gets large and there are high winds after a soaking rain. I bet the whole structure ends up on the ground! The difference between a deck structure that is close to the ground and has the weight of the decking material to keep it in place versus a structure that has all the weight up in the air with the wind catching properties of a vine that can get very huge are two vastly different things. I think you are courting disaster and one that I would not venture to try. To me, it sounds as if you would be better suited to go the permit, fee and approval route in the long run and sink the structure in the ground with cement reinforcing the poles in the ground. Better safe than sorry in my judgement.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 7:02PM
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Thanks Miguel, I don't disagree with you. Unfortunately, for reasons that aren't worth getting into, the permit route is just not an option. I do have the option to stabilize the anchors in the ground, if in fact that is practical and necessary. I don't see why that would be an issue from the standpoint of municipal code, given that these precautions do not classify it as a permanent structure.

Realistically, I'm trying to keep the structure simple, but I do need a width (the opening, specifically) to span in excess of 6 feet, and that's where the problems come in....I'd opt for a metal arbor, but I am having a difficult time finding a resource for the width I need, and at a reasonable price. I won't pay anthing in excess of $400, and even $300 is steep IMO for a simple metal structure. The lanonstone walkway at the entrance spans 6+ feet.

If anyone has a resource for wide metal arbors with an opening in excess of 6 feet, within my price range, please do share!

Thanks for all the feedback.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 4:21PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Hey no problem Kimcoco. I just wanted to point out what I saw as a potential issue with using the particular type of anchor that Sharon pointed out. I almost mentioned them myself previous to her mentioning them but didn't because they are not what I would want used to support an arbor of the size you are talking about. Let us know how they work out.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 6:41PM
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Thanks Miguel. I value your opinion. Hope all is well with you and your Mom.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 1:06PM
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nckvilledudes(7a NC)

Mom is doing great Kimcoco. Her last visit to her cancer doctor showed that things are still well and no recurrence. Thanks for asking!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2010 at 2:38PM
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Kim, have you checked Menards? I doubt the garden center is stocked for the season at this point, but I remember they had a very nice arbor that would have been great for clematis, I don't remember if it was 6 feet across, but it was quite large, and the price was reasonable.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2010 at 3:06PM
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Thanks Janet. I will check when I head over there. Always best to purchase off season.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 6:18AM
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I've used them before - it is correct that you will find them at a Lowes or Home Depot in the fence/decking area. Being about 2' long, you wouldn't have any problem with a large clematis making a 8-9' arbor unstable; it would be fine.

Another option to consider, which is what I did: secure thin but long metal rods to your structure with C-clamps (they look like the Greek "omega"). These 1/4-1/2" diameter metal rods can also be found at HD, 2-4' long. These slide easily into the ground, but if it's an arbor and you use four of them, it provides a lot of stability.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2010 at 4:13PM
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Ok, I found an arbor trellis at Menards. It has a nice semi-arch to it. It's made of wood, looks prepainted or pre-primed, I got it for a steal of a price. I'll be priming with exterior oil based primer, and paint with exterior paint. It's not six feet in width, I've scratched that plan, but I have a nice location for this one and I'd like to plant a rose climber on one side and a clematis on the other.

My question is, how do I anchor this one? This one doesn't have "legs" that stick in the ground, it looks like it's designed to sit atop the ground, so of course that wouldn't be very sturdy. And remember my dilemma, I can't make it a permanent structure.

Suggestions on how to anchor for stability?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 6:43PM
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You might be able to use the method on the link I'm posting, lots of photos detailing it all if you scroll down, might do what he did on 2 sides of each 4X4. He has his suspended above the ground a bit to avoid rot but I'd probably just let mine be touching the ground, mine was down in a bit before it fell or was pushed over supposed to be anchored in cement but guy missed a couple of the footings, and the straplike "anchors" with one hole for a screw to the wood (mine are 2X2) were too flimsy for a structure that large, metal was pretty strong. I haven't decided how to anchor mine if I have it put up again, don't want concrete footings and want the old ones jackhammered out before we start over, not a pleasant prospect, but I want rid of them.

I didn't bother to get a permit, usually do get one if I know it's required, just didn't think about it.

There is another method somebody taught me on my photo forum, but that was for one 4X4 post with a cedar birdfeeder on top of it. I don't know if it would work for 4 4X4's and a heavy arbor or if you would even want to consider it.

The photo forum guy built what I dub a "baffle box" and sent me the schematic for it, had the cedar boards cut at the hardware store, and the repair shop drilled about 2 holes each end, hope you can figure out where they should be, and secured it with screws. I can't drill straight into ends of boards or I would have done it.

I didn't allow enough for the width of the boards when I had the cedar lumber cut, but it works anyway. It is about 1' tall. Should be a little more than 4" on the inside to allow for expansion and shrinkage, and the pieces that stick out are supposed to be about 1-1/2 inches.

Maybe I took the post with the boards so the guy in the shop could figure out if it was going to slide in it, can't remember all of it now.

It's sunk into the ground 16", had a guy do that for me. Sometimes it has a little give to it and sometimes it's snug, but has stayed plumb, been in the ground for at least 3 years now, don't know how long it will last as it wasn't treated lumber, and we didn't put anything on it. But it was cedar.

Hope you can forgive the drawing which is not to scale and ended up having to do over evidently because I didn't check the right specs for the line tool in Photoshop. You should be able to visualize the side view.

Here is a link that might be useful: Anchoring a cedar obelisk on the OGR forum

    Bookmark   February 27, 2010 at 10:27PM
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