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Make garden arches of rebar?

Posted by Violet.West (My Page) on
Sat, Feb 15, 14 at 11:33

I have this idea to make a series of arches along my back rock wall, which is 5' high. I was thinking of a rustic look with rebar, with lights added. I want the tops of the arches to be above the wall so they can be seen from the outside of the all.

Do you think a length of rebar is long enough to make a gentle arch about 6' high at the top? I don't know what lengths it comes in, and I've forgotten everything I maybe knew about geometry, so I can't model it.

Crazy idea?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

You can get rebar in lengths up to the length of a huge flatbed trailer. 40 feet or so, which would make a huge arch. Bending it is an issue with the bigger diameters.

Just take a garden hose and lay out the size and shape you want, then straighten the hose and measure it.

How will you support the arch? It will want to fall over.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

Perhaps make concrete footings and anchor it with wire to the wall. Very strong winds are an issue.

good idea about the hose!


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

How will you get them to bend in the same arch so they match?


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

Rebar would not be the material of first choice. As alluded to, it would be difficult to have the arches come out uniformly. Rebar is made primarily for its tensile strength, not its ability to be bent uniformly. Also, the strength to weight ratio is low. It would be better to use some sort of tubing.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

hmm -- I wanted rebar for the rusty-type aesthetics and value. I think copper tubing would be too expensive, and pvc ugly. Can you suggest an alternative?

but if you have them the same length bars, with the ends the same distance apart . . . then the arches would have the same curve, no?


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

There used to be a lot of people in the Antique Rose forum that had a lot of experience with rebar arches and trellises. You may have to purchase a thing called a rebar bender, but I don't think it is a particularly expensive tool.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

If you invest the extra time to build a jig you can ensure that every arch comes out the same. My worry is that anything over #3 rebar is a bear to bend without a torch or at least a bender, and I think #3 (or smaller) is going to be too dainty to read right.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 17, 14 at 13:00

"Rusty type aesthetics" can be seen as a euphemism for ugly and if you bang into or rub against rusty rebar - as one might do while working on something else, such as garden maintenance - it can be unpleasant. I would never install it where I might be bending over looking at the ground and then stand up into old rough rebar that was above my head. This may seen unlikely but if a situation is developed where there are multiple frequent visits to maintain flower or vine plantings each season the presence of the rebar might become seen as a detriment.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

haha, not much love for my idea. 'sokay! Very good points from the experienced peeps here and I will think on them.

I think with it's proposed location along the very back wall, banging into it won't be too much of a problem. and this is a desert yard, so rust color/funky is part of the overall design.

This post was edited by Violet.West on Mon, Feb 17, 14 at 13:35


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Feb 17, 14 at 13:22

Will Johnny Depp (reprising his role as Dr Hunter S Thompson) be visiting?


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

Johnny is always welcome! . . . but I don't think I have enough liquor in the house for that role . . .


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

to respond, Violet, to the questions you asked after my previous post .... Rebar doesn't bend smoothly. It will be wiggly no matter how careful you try to be. Worse, rebar will look scrawny and pencil thin in the landscape. Even if you use a size, like Marcinde says, that needs a torch to bend, it will look like undersized wire from a distance ... and cost more than you'd think. For the rusty quality, plain old mild steel tubing -- like exhaust pipe -- will comply readily. Of course, you would need to have it bent by someone who has the equipment and knowledge.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

How will you get them to bend in the same arch so they match?

If the distance between the ends is the same, and the length is the same, the arch will be the same. It's geometry.

Search Pinterest for rebar and it's all over the place!

You need to tie them together where they cross, but a messy


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

But you can also see in that picture above that the arches are (a) flimsy-looking and (b) each one is a different-shaped curve. I've also never understood the appeal of the rusty look from either a practical or aesthetic point of view. Something of a reasonable quality is going to be a better choice if you intend to stay at this property for a reasonable length of time. But then personal preferences and cost are likely going to be key determining factors in choosing the materials, but it might be worth looking into the cost of alternatives even if it is something as simple as putting a copper sleeve over the rebar.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

thank you, Yardvaark and others. Important info which -- I did not know! and . . . that's why I come here.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

Woody, I am with you. In the picture they don't look pretty, useful, or strong. Sorry, Violet, I do not get the appeal of rust any more than I would be attracted to bleeding acne.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

Y'all need to visit the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix if you want to see what's possible with rebar. But the artists there have worked out the scale issues, which I'm not seeing in the photo of odd shaped wickets.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

ah, gee Yardvark; unpleasant image. How about this:


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

granted, that's more than a simple arch, ad they are using other kinds of steel. And they have Chihuly. Maybe this?


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

and here's another one. it' doesn't have to be rebar, really -- just what came to mind. As for the "rust" color -- don't really care if it doesn't appeal to you -- it appeals to me, and it's my yard, eh?

Maybe a simpler idea would be to get one of the many wrought iron fabricators around here to top my rock wall with a decorative installation.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

It looks to me like you have found a fair number examples of rusty iron arches. I think feelings about the aesthetics of rust is quite location-based, both regional and rural. Since you know what you find appealing, I would do some web searches for ideas. A search for iron arch or garden arch will offer you a lot of options. In addition to doing a search on the Antique Rose forum, you might want to check at the cottage garden forum or your local area forum to see if anyone there has any additional examples for you.

Some things to think about:
- As others have suggested, the mass of the material used is important. If you look at your examples, the first two have elements with more heft, that add mass (they aren't made only of rebar) and the last one uses the rebar to outline a volume.
- If you plan to grow vines on the arch, you'll need to consider how the vine climbs (twining stems, tendrils, aerial roots, etc.) in deciding on specific materials.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

VW, I offer opinion ... never tell you what to do. Of the three recent pictures, the first and last have some merit, but the middle picture seems very week. None of these look like rebar; all are rod and tubing. I think nbabs makes an important point about how thinner material can be used to outline volume, giving the impression of greater substance. The first picture creates a plane of thinner material.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

as always, very good and thought provoking comments.

except for the bleeding acne!


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

Just trying to make it colorful. Some rust is really not that bad.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

rust; yes. flowers; yes. color; yes.

blood and pus--no!

:D

this idea will probably go into the pile of "great ideas but . . . "

This post was edited by Violet.West on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 17:20


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

Your quest for garden arches reminded me of the ones I saw at Old Sturbridge MA a few years back. Here is one of my pictures from Flickr. If adapted to your uses, the rebar could be left straight and mounted that way on curved structure as at the AZ installation.

Sturbridge05No017


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

nice idea -- don't think it would work along a wall though?


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

So y'all don't think I'm crazy, here's what I was thinking about the arches. I have a 5' high rock wall which I think is 30 feet long and abuts against a walking path and busy highway.

If I were cleverer, I'd draw a series of gentle arches on the pic just above the top going along the wall on the left side there. The intent is to highlight the view of the night lights which are visible, and to provide a subtle visual interest on both sides. (I also have plans for planting back there.)

The maligned "rust" color isn't strictly necessary, but mirrors the color of the rock in the wall. I was thinking my HOA would let me get away with it instead of black or dark brown metal.

I know nothing of rebar and little of metalworking, so I'm glad to have your comments. I'm certainly rethinking this project, but who knows? maybe I'll find a way!

This post was edited by Violet.West on Wed, Feb 19, 14 at 21:33


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

I thoroughly do not comprehend how the arches would "highlight the view of the night lights." If the arches are each to frame a piece of the view, it rubs me that they are not the right shape. Everything is horizontal. Then, I might not be getting it.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

ha! I guess I have a unique vision. If I ever get it done, I'll show you.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

You must have seen this done somewhere, and really liked the look. We have city light views, and we don't want anything in the way of those beautiful lights.

A city light view is nice, but they make it too light to see many of the stars at night. It's a trade off....

Good luck with your project!


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

Well PVC may be ugly in its natural white but....you can paint it rusty steel, copper (new or aged) black, brown, green...or whatever fits your landscape.

I used some to train a weeping Norway Spruce and have one painted green (to disappear) on a support for a weeping Cedrus Atlantica. I would show a picture, but this is strictly utilitarian and not a good representation for an arch. Mine have been set in place with rebar staked into the ground, but I think a nice arch would be to take maybe a 2x 4 PT post set into the ground with a hole in the top to set (maybe glue with construction glue or RTV silicone).

I may try this; I would go to HD or Lowe's and see what type of radius would be possible with various PVC pipe first to see if it fits the size you want to try. Off hand I think 1" would work fine and depending on how big it would be 1 1/2 inches may be possible....or a larger diameter if you can find some thin wall or lower schedule PVC pipe (most is schedule 40 which is great for sturdy plumbing, but tough to bend to a tight radius).
Its isn't scrawny, it seems easy enough, it is any color you want duplicating any 'material' you want (rusted metal, new or patina copper, brass, wrought iron / black or any color available in those plastic sprays, it would stand up well and best of all its inexpensive and can be redone by painting over it or simply replacing the piping and painting a new scheme..

Violet Wet's arches could be easily duplicated with PVC except for the twining that seems to be 'growing up and around (maybe this is vines?) It sure could be vines anyway. Spray the PVC a rusty color and I bet it would take a real close look to tell what it really was.

That or some other PVC arch or focal point is what I would to try some day.

Jon

This post was edited by jonnyb023 on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 13:16


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

very nice suggestion, Jon. What kind of paint would you use?


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Krylon fusion is what I used and it has stood up well for over 2 years. No flaking and it still looks good.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

I will consider! Here's a pic of some lighted pvc arches, using rebar anchors.


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Here's my crude drawing of my idea FWIW. The night lights would be viewed through and around the arches.

I think it would look nice but I could be crazy.

This post was edited by Violet.West on Fri, Feb 21, 14 at 14:16


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

OK, Violet, here is my idea. For an arch you could use 4x4s as shown with PVC arch(es). For your wall I would use 4x6s with two ends of the arches set into the 4x6 as shown. In either case use pressure treated lumber and set the 4x4 or 4x6 into concrete to anchor the posts in place. I think the PVC alone just doesn't look substantial enough even though it works as a mounting for lights.

 photo img030_zps2f7b1036.jpg

??? Jon


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

thank you so much for taking the time to comment and draw that, Jon. I'll keep the drawing handy and see if that works for me.


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

...or, use the 4x6s and criss-cross the arches as you have shown anchored into the ground with rebar. I just think posts look more substantial especially when used with the stone wall. .


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

I like your idea, Violet, rust and all. I found this article on making a trellis out of rebar that might have ideas you can use.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rebar trellis


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RE: Make garden arches of rebar?

Just a thought. I couldn't see what the top of your current fence is, however-rather then trying to attach into the ground, why not on top of the fence? It looks like you could attach a flat piece of wood (cedar?) along the fence top and either drill holes for the pipe (depending on depth of wood) or use flange pieces sized to fit what ever pipe you use. It would also be a lot easier to do and less material. It also wouldn't mess up your gorgeous fence line.


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