© Stephie McCarthy

Solar Lampposts for a Garden Bridge

No Digging … No Concrete Mix

© Stephie McCarthy

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Our bridge has green lampposts on each corner and we love this garden feature.

It's a garden path, a focal point, a place to lay things …

We're landscaping the area bit-by-bit.

We stained the bridge deck by mixing
• 1 cup of Behr Waterproofing Wood Finish, with
• 1/4 cup of Kilz Complete Coat in 'Berry Punch'
( which you can buy in 8-ounce sizes.)

Behr waterproofing

It's colorful, the grain still shows, as do the cat prints, and it's waterproof … we love it!

In certain lights the lilac paint looks silver gray and does a good job hiding dirt.

Hardscapes can be handy for placing hats, cameras, tools …

… and our pets love to hang out here.

When I'm working here, I'll never leave my clippers in the dirt again!

The Blocks and Posts

We placed our posts into blocks that are designed to hold 4' x 4' timbers.

Post and Block LampPost project

The square hole in the block is about 7" deep, tapering from the top to a round drain hole on the bottom.

We painted the blocks with Krylon Spray 'Satin Peacock Blue'

Post and Block Fencing and Decor

You could hammer a square-bottom post into these blocks (difficult), but we decided to taper our posts with our miter saw.

LampPost Project

The tricky part is using the miter saw to cut off each corner.

Pat drew lines on the bottom and sides of the posts to guide the cutting.

We made four cuts per post and we also shortened them a few inches at the top so they didn't overwhelm the small bridge. We used Behr Waterproofing Wood Finish on the painted posts which gave them an antique amber effect.

Ready to put in the blocks!

We found the posts wobbled a bit, so we used Sika Concrete Fix to cement them into the blocks.

We used a caulk gun to coat the inside of the hole with the adhesive, added the post, and tapped the tops with a hammer. No more wobbling, the Sika sets up fast!

You may need to shim under your blocks with "fritter-sized" stones to make sure they don't wobble. If you have super flat ground, no worries! We're working on a rocky slope and we get wobbles unless we shim.

We'll add a solar light on each post, but first, the cute chain railings!

Chain Railing

We used green carabiner clips and ten feet of lamp chain on each side to make light-duty railings.

DIY Bridge Garden

Attached to small hooks, this setup allows us to remove the chains for maintenance around the bridge.

Our Bridge Garden

If you need more stability with your railings, we recommend using a pre-drilled post-n-rail system anchored into these same blocks. You can even add pickets. Creativity has so much potential here.

The chain lets us hang lanterns and other decorations too. Whatever railing system you use, be sure to apply your hardware before putting the posts upright in the blocks. It's easier to hammer and screw hardware to wood that is on a horizontal surface.

The tinted metals may not stay colorful through winter, but for now they make us smile.

We do love a colorful garden that doesn't look too contrived!

Solar Post Caps

We took a shortcut with the post caps by using ready-made post skirts from HomeDepot

… with a touch of chalk paint, of course!

We cut matching boards a bit larger than the skirts.

We used the top part of our solar lights, discarding the long plastic stems.

We used an 18V Ryobi Drill and a Bosch 1" Hole Saw to make holes in our boards. As soon as the hole saw punches through, remove the battery or power supply, then remove the hole saw bit (careful, it will be hot!) so you can push out the wood plug.

We used an awl to pry the wood plug out of the saw then reconnected the saw and the battery, and continued until we had four tops ready for the lights.

We used LocTite Go2 Wrap to turn the stem of the solar light into a kind of soft cork that would fit snuggly into the hole. (Split the wrap and it'll fit even better.) We used mini tubes of E6000 to help hold the lights in place in the holes. We think the lights can be removed if necessary, but will not fly off in a high wind.

Just a bit of touch up chalk paint and Behr Waterproofer, and finito (times four!)

We'll use a small nails to hold the post caps in place.

We can think of a few more uses for a well-placed post.

Plans are afoot for the footbridge garden and a mountain stream water feature.

Watching the solar lamps light for the first time was a sweet moment!

Can you hear the owls and crickets?

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