© Stephie McCarthy

Upcycle: Make a Footbridge from a Futon

© Stephie McCarthy


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How to Make a Garden Bridge

We've started a bridge garden in our tiny meadow. Here's how it looks so far …

Fresh and ready for foot traffic. Now we're mixing up a nice brew for a colorful top coat.

Here's a view of the ditch on the left, below. This is where we will simulate a mountain spring with mossy stones.

This bridge is made strong by a set of pavers underneath. Ogre approved!

This was the original futon section, below, the back which is eight feet long and 30 inches wide…

… minus the legs which were easy to remove with a hand saw.

We used new untreated lumber for the planks that will go on top. Untreated lumber may be the safer choice for us since our pets may be drinking from the spring that will flow next to the bridge. Treated lumber may be the better choice for you.

We used a water-based product by #BehrPaints on the futon and one side of the planks. This is the product we will use for the tinted stain too. We'll add the pigment ourselves.

Check the availability of Behr Waterproofing Wood Finish --

The futon frame does not touch the ground. It sits upon these concrete pavers. The tricky part was getting these level, especially in hot, humid, melting weather.

Since we ran into a 'monster' rock in the center of the bridge path, Plan B was shimming the pavers from below with bricks and stones. Hopefully your ground is more level! We stacked the pavers on the right to help level them with the pavers on the left.

But, there's something to be said for rolling hills. It took 2 hours then finally the pavers were level and the futon sat firmly upon them.

Once the frame was in place, we poured two bags of gravel and pushed it into every crevice we could reach. This will provide weed supression, drainage, and help hold everything stable.

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Preventing Insect Damage

We also sprinkled the area with Diatomaceous Earth which is non-toxic. Creepy, crawly bugs (and trolls) don't care for it.

check the price of diatomaceous earth here --

We cut the planks at a length that would allow a one-inch overhang around the frame.

We used a spare board as a spacer before nailing each board to the frame — four nails in the corners, 2" long. If you put your boards too close together it will look more like a table than a bridge. Check the look of your bridge from a distance before nailing.

The generous spacing emphasizes the footbridge look. The board used as a spacer keeps everything uniform until the nails are in place.

The pavers give the impression of a raised bridge and the weight of people crossing will be transferred down to them for strength.

The futon frame wraps around the pavers for a snug, stable fit. That floating effect really helps the overall design and it is strong and doesn't wobble!

There's a bit of bend when the ogre walks over, but cats, dogs, and smaller people — it's good to go.

We'll be staining the bridge next, but thought you'd like to see some of the brass nails that will be on the center ends as a finishing touch and for additional strength. We found these nails in the picture-hanging section at Walmart. We'll add the nails after staining the boards.

You can also buy similar nails online.

Here's one more view of the project at this stage. The spring will flow on the left of the bridge. Our perennial and blueberry border will be on the right.

We've also come up with an easy way to make a strong railing which we'll be posting before long. We can't wait to show you!

Until then, we'll be in the garden!

Check out the video here!

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