How to build a garden ‘door arbor’
Jeanne Sammons’s door arbor has a history. Her photo of it went viral on the Internet creating a delightful sensation amongst gardeners all over the country. It seemed the most romantic arbor ever! When the arbor finally wore out, Jeanne was determined to rebuild it and recreate the planting she had before. Luckily she has a partner who could take on the job,…her dear hubby!
Old doors and a handy hubby. Perfect combo
Jeanne told us this spring, “I’m excited that my DH, (dear hubby) Larry, made time to start a new project!. We’re replacing the ‘old door arbor’ that sadly bit the dust this past year after weathering six years out in our the pines.
For the replacement, these old doors have been stored in lean-to for a few years from our daughter’s old two-story house…three of these doors were the ‘garage’ doors …probably for cars from the Model T times. Don’t you just love old doors and windows for projects in your gardens?! I’m thrilled and will share the progress!
“Two of the three braces at the top are from the old door Arbor two by eights. We recycled them to fit the new doors and cut new corner braces. Larry does most of the building! I supervise and paint,” Jeanne laughs.
I’m going outside soon as Larry and I are prepping the area where the old door arbor sat … for the new one…it will be much taller because these were old house tri-fold garage doors to an old basement.
Preparing to plant
“Here’s my progress,” Jeanne says… “I dug out the sod and weeds from the last year – I planted the rose and going to add some more good dirt, compost and seed with mixed color Cleome and also look for small 4 or 6 packs of it.”
“Standing it up …. locating it and pounding in the short green steel fence posts.” Jeanne says, “Those are short steel fence posts that Larry pounded into the ground and screwed to the edge of each door. When they are painted you won’t even notice them.” The lilies from before are already popping up to take their place in the scene
“Two of the three braces at the top are from the old door Arbor two by eights. Those corner braces Larry made new are 2 x 6.”
“My ‘Old Door Arbor’ is completed! The white Asiatic Lilies on the right side were planted by my first ‘old door arbor’ we had for six years. Now I’ve once again added some ‘Cleome’ plants (shades of pink) under the arbor and a ‘Knock Out Rose’ on the left side. The other plants here are Quick Fire hydrangea and Bee balm…a Mandevilla is hanging in the arbor. Same as I had by the old door arbor.”
“I’m just finished adding a second coat of paint for longevity! It will get chippy as the years pass by.”
Someone asked, ‘Is that hanging basket up high enough to walk under?’
Jeanne: “I don’t know for sure and I’m not tall … but the doors definitely are tall! No, the view is my purpose … not passage.”
“I can walk under it … just went out and checked!”
A fun project! The first ‘old door arbor’ lasted 6 years and we learned some TIPS for longevity: What we’re trying this time:
- We left the glass windows intact. Since the door is not located out in the open, not much anyway, we will watch to see if we have any trouble with birds flying into the glass.
- 2. We gave the whole door double coats of paint.
- We patched up any holes with caulk where boards or anything had been removed from the doors.
- We set the door arbor on cement pavers, making sure they are not in the dirt.
Another gardener asked, ‘What about weather? How long will this last outdoors?’
Jeanne: “Six years on our first one in four season weather. We learned some things to try … I’m keeping the glass panes in this time unless I notice birds at them ~~ more caulking and also gave it two coats of paint … I like it to ‘weather’ … so we’ll see what happens. Short steel fence posts in four corners, too and pavers underneath.
Jeanne confides, “The hydrangea is starting to change and it looks so pretty out there … I’m happy! I told my Larry that I love that arbor and he said, “Me, too.” …. and smiled.”