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Building your own arbour

WE'VE waited a long time, but it seems an Indian summer is on its way at last.

WE'VE waited a long time, but it seems an Indian summer is on its way at last.

And to make the most of those welcome rays we've picked three of the most stylish garden retreats to enjoy with friends, family or indulgently alone.

Weekend project: Build a Chelsea garden arbour

Here is a beautifully individual, easy-build arbour that makes a garden highlight all year round.

You can create it in a weekend from Forest Garden timber components stocked at most garden centres.

Add a bench, feature containers and some richly scented climbers and you'll have a truly intimate haven.

Shopping list:

4 x 2.1m slotted uprights (SU74A), 4 x 90 - 105mm Fencefast Easy-Fit post spikes, 2 x 1.82m crossbeams, 4 x 1.36m rafters, 1 x 1.83m x 1.23m Chelsea Trellis - square, 2 x 1.83m Chelsea Lattice concave panels, 2 x Chelsea Lattice corner inserts, 2 x Chelsea Lattice wing panels, 2 x 1500 x 75 x 75mm posts, 2 x 65 - 80mm Fencefast Easy-Fit post spikes, 1 x pair Ball & Cap Finials, ½ kilo 62mm galvanised nails.

Total cost £306.53 (Approx finished size: 2.8m w x 2.2m h x 0.8m d)

Install the four main uprights using the post support spikes (use the Chelsea Trellis and Chelsea Lattice Concave panels to determine the spacing of the uprights).

Insert the 1.82m crossbeams into the uprights.

Attach the Chelsea Trellis and Chelsea Lattice concave panels between the uprights, then secure the crossbeams to the uprights with the 62mm nails.

Position the 1.36m rafters, lining up the pre-cut slots with each crossbeam, and secure with 62mm nails from above.

Add the Chelsea corner inserts. Position the wing panels before adding the 1.5m posts at each side.

Finish posts with finials and post caps.

For shade and sheer elegance when eating or entertaining outdoors, a canopied pavilion can be a stunning solution.

The summery 3m sq Tivoli Pavilion from Forest Garden, which costs £399 in easy-erect kit form from garden centres, has four trellised uprights and integral corner planters which you can plant up with seasonal flowers and foliage.

If you'd like a more substantial garden room to use as a summerhouse, playroom or even an office, there has never been more choice.

For particularly well-crafted pine cabins and cottages look out for the Outdoor Life range.

The Chelsea arbour project is featured in a handy 24-page ‘How To' booklet by Forest Garden packed with advice on decking, fencing, arches and pergolas.

For a free copy, full product brochure or local stockist details, call the Forest Garden hotline on 01886 811030 or visit


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