Small garden bridges have become an all-time favorite form of garden decor. They add just the right touch that will turn a mediocre garden into something quite splendid.
This small structure is an ancient design that has been used across the ages for foot traffic and decoration, and it goes by many descriptive names: Foot bridge, ornamental bridge, landscape bridges, timber bridge, oriental bridge, Japanese bridge and garden bridge are just a few.
Small garden bridges are gently arched structures that span lengths from 5 feet to 20 feet, and are usually about 3 feet wide. Some bridges feature a flat platform.
The simplest garden bridge is the arched or flat plank structure without hand or side rails. More decorative garden bridges are built with ornamental and functional posts and side rails. Some side rails are specifically designed to protect children and other pedestrians; other side rails are strictly for decoration.
Garden landscaping bridges are not just for large, elaborate gardens. Many gardens that are small in size are large in beauty simply because garden bridges have been added in just the right places. Used over a small stream, rough terrain or even a little pond, bridges can add a wonderful, new dimension to any garden.
With such popularity, small garden bridges are easy to find. Garden centers and home improvement depots carry them, and one of the best places to find and compare garden bridges is online. Most bridges are shipped requiring some assembly.
How To Select Small Garden Bridges
Choosing the right garden bridge is easy with just a little planning. Look at the space you have and decide where a bridge would fit in. Consider more than one area and then choose your favorite. Always measure the area you intend your bridge to span.
When you measure the distance you want an arched garden bridge to reach across, you need to know exactly how long the bridge will span. Measure the actual span length of the distance you wish to cover and not the arch length. Some bridge builders may sell an “8 foot bridge” but it will actually only span about 6 or 7 feet.
Make sure the bridge is made of weather and water resistant wood, or sealed and stained wood. Most small garden bridges are constructed of cedar, teak, pressure treated pine, spruce, redwood, and birch planks and posts. You can also find garden bridges made with an attractive steel frame with wooden planks. The construction of the bridges should also use only stainless steel or galvanized hardware such as bolts, washers, nuts and screws.
Try to find a garden bridge that is very easily assembled with only a few tools required. Find out if the manufacturer numbered and labeled each board, each post and rail – so when it’s time to assemble it, you just match the numbers and put in the screws and tighten.
For Do-It-Yourselfers, building a small garden bridge is a great project. Garden foot bridge plans are always available at the same places you can find the actual bridges for sale.
Small garden bridges can be used in a host of garden and landscape settings. As a foot bridge over a stream, or as a decorative accent through a large flower bed, these simple structures instill a functional and captivating charm.
Copyright 2006 Robert Mosse
Robert Mosse is a gardening and lawn care specialist and author of the “Easy” Lawn and Gardening Book Series. Visit Robert at http://www.lawn-and-gardening-tips.com for great, hands-on gardening information.