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How to: make a garden bridge

Photo - Linda Ross

Why is it that a garden bridge is so much more exciting than a path? 

Japanese garden designers have long revered the symbolic and aesthetic potential of a bridge. Claude Monet, who was himself much inspired by Japanese garden making, built what is possibly the best known garden bridge, over his lily pond at Giverny. 

Closer to home, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch built a turf-covered curved stone bridge across a narrow part of the lake at Cruden Farm. While most of us don’t have a lake, our gardens may still benefit by a bridge used to link different sections across a ‘stream’ of garden bed, or dry creek of stones. 

Photo - Linda Ross

Linda and her family added a jetty style bridge to their bush garden. Here’s how they did it.


1.Measure up. Determine the ideal width and length of your bridge. We decided to make our bridge as wide as half the length of an old railway sleeper to make the job easier.

2.Decide on materials. We chose recycled sleepers. These have a life expectancy of 25 years.

3.Lay down the footings. We used four recycled concrete piers buried into the ground. Lay two bearers across the footings.



4.Lay sleepers. Use a chainsaw to cut the sleepers in half, lay them at right angles to the bearers and bolt into place.

5.Finish up. Two posts at both ends add formal structure and look like the posts of a jetty. We painted the tops white and added a loop of marine rope to finish off.


Text: Linda Ross


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Author: Linda Ross