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Decorative Branch Fence

I’m back outside again today sharing our DIY decorative branch fence inspired by this one at the Mendocino Coast Botannical Gardens in Fort Bragg, CA.  I happened to run across that picture online a few years ago, loved it, and immediately knew I wanted to use it somewhere on our property!  So, I placed it in my (physical and mental) file folder to access when ready.  In a post from a few days ago, I showed you some renderings of my new virtual garden area.  Here’s one of those images showing where I decided to place the fence:

In March of this year, I was fortunate enough to visit Mendocino and made sure I paid a visit to the gardens to see my inspiration piece.  To my surprise, I found two of these beauties being used as gates (to keep the deer out).

Upon my return from Mendocino, we were ready to tackle this project!  We paid a visit to our local re-use store, that I just can’t get enough of, to get some wood.  Based on what we could find we contemplated how to build the frame and came up with the following process:

We  bought four 2″ x 4″ x 8′ tongue and groove boards.  Three were glued together, clamped, and left to dry over night.  The other one was cut in half and tenoned to use as side posts.  The bottom is a 4″ x 6″ x 8′ post.

We thought the tongue and groove boards would be easiest for two reasons: 1) after being glued together the connection would be solid; 2) it saves time because there’s no need to dado a groove for the branches – it’s already there.

Next, the hubby and his dad cut mortises in the bottom board to fit the tenons of the side posts. 

Shortly thereafter, I was called upon for the ‘design’ aspect (hence no pictures of this next process) to create the arch in the top frame.  Imagine a string connected to a pencil drawing an arch.  Next, the jigsaw comes out to cut the arch.  Then, ta-da!  Magically, it’s a perfectly imperfect arch (I promise, it was meant to be off-set).  Sanding takes place and the top is set aside to work on the base.

Next, they cut rebar, drilled holes on the bottom side of the base frame and epoxied the rebar in.  After drying, it was time to install the frame in its permanent location.  They tried to sledge hammer it into the ground but that was crawling along.  Then they got the bright idea to recruit the whole family to use the scientific method of ‘jumping up and down on it’ until it was level and at the height we wanted.  Since I was involved in the jumping I didn’t get any shots of the fun.  After 10 minutes of aerobic activity, the base frame was in place!  Next step, dry fit and level the rest of the frame.

All went as planned with the dry fit.  Now, a little bit of wood glue and we’re off to the races… only to sit and wait for the glue to dry again.  On a side note, you may have noticed the botannical gardens gate has steel bars supporting the frame.  Our little fence isn’t nearly as large and doesn’t act as a gate so we didn’t feel the need for the reinforcement.

While I was impatiently waiting for the glue to dry, we got to work on attaching the branches to the frame.  I picked up branches from various places; winter trimmings from trees in our yard, the Mendocino coast, the side of the road.  Anywhere I found an interesting branch formation, I picked it up.  Of course, I didn’t cut any branches off trees or steal from yards.  These were all legit finds.  Anyhoo, I arranged the placement (again, why there’s no pics of this process) while the hubby drilled the holes in the base for the branches to sit in.  After every branch was placed, the hubby went back and brad nailed branches he felt needed a bit more support.

Here’s the finished product.  The fence sits at the opening of the side yard leading into the backyard.  I thought this would be a nice transition into our veggie garden.

The cost breakdown for this project is rather simple. The re-use wood was $12; the branches were free; and we had rebar, wood glue, brad nails, and clamps on hand so there was no expense for any of these items either.  All-in-all, a decorative, interesting branch fence for $12 and some sweat equity was well worth the price!

This post is linked up to Centsational Girl’s Garden Party.


Melanie - Thanks, April! It was a fun and pretty quick project. You’ll love having one in your yard!!

April was in CT now CA - So gorgeous!! We visited that garden a few weeks ago and took pictures of the gate for the same reason; I must have one like it some day! Yours turned out beautifully.

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