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Garden Bridges

An attractive garden bridge can make an outstanding all seasons architectural feature on your property. More than just a means to cross a small stream, a bridge can become an important focal point for your lawn or garden. With the right landscaping a bridge can turn an unattractive drainage ditch into the most charming part of your yard. The simplest bridges are just sturdy wooden planks or lashed together logs that span the waterway, but more elegant bridges are a traditional part of any garden plan.

If you are thinking of installing a garden bridge, consider the following:

  • Decide what style of bridge you want. Oriental designs have long been a favorite style in American gardens, but bridges with Victorian gingerbread or colonial railings may be more appropriate for your site.
  • The length of the bridge will be determined by the width of the water way. Make sure the bridge is long enough so that it is firmly secured at both ends. It should be high enough so that it will not be swept away by periodic rainstorms or seasonal flooding. Make it wide enough to accommodate necessary garden equipment, such as mowers and wheelbarrows. The height of the railings should prevent those crossing it from falling in. When you have finished your measurements, consider the overall scale of the bridge in your garden. It should not overwhelm the property.
  • Bridges are usually constructed from wood or metal. A good quality weather resistant wood will last for many seasons. Mahogany and teak can be left untreated to weather to a beautiful silver gray. Cedar can also be stained or polyurethaned. Bridges made from pressure treated lumber are usually less expensive. The most formal style bridges are almost always painted. Bridges made from metals such as cast or wrought iron will also need to be painted to keep them from rusting. Stainless steel is more suitable for modern bridge designs.

Finaly, make sure that you build your bridge so that it can safely hold the weight of expected traffic, and then check it several times a year for necessary repairs.

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