7 Jul 2010

New Life for an Old Wooden Ladder

by Amber Reddinger

A few weeks ago I raided my neighbors' trash pile. They had all sorts of great stuff out, including these pieces of an old wooden ladder:

short pieces

The upright pieces were almost the same length, just a few inches off, and the piece laying down was very long.

long piece

I evened out the short pieces and measured the length of the long piece to get started. Then I sketched out the shape I wanted and did all sorts of geometry to figure out what angle I needed to cut the top piece at (to get the height I needed for people to be able to walk under). I had to look stuff up online because I don't seem to remember anything from high school math, but it all came back to me as I was doing it. When I had everything figured out, I realized I had just wasted a whole bunch of time because I couldn't find a protractor, compass, or the most important piece of my miter box and would have to cut it by hand and eyeball it anyway... So some more sketching happened and I drew some lines and got really lucky.


The hardware at the bottom of that one side piece was impossible to remove. I tried everything, including whacking it with a sledgehammer, but it was not coming off. So I decided to just bury it and forget about it. :) With about six inches buried for stability, we still have eight feet of clearance at the peak, so even our tallest friends can walk under without feeling the need to duck.

view from house

I love how it creates an entrance to the yard off of the patio and my kids think it is super cool.

view from yard

Looking back toward the kitchen door... And with some pretty little lights added:


They look so nice at night :)

arbor lights at night

I planted a grape (King of the North) between the arbor and a mixed color clematis on the other side. Hopefully by next year they will meet at the top and start to intermingle. :) All in all, this was an insanely easy project. The only time consuming part (if you eliminate the gratuitous geometry) was the predrilling and screwing together.

Now I can't wait to see it all covered with vines. :)

About the author:

I love working with my hands and helping things grow. :)