A Rebar Pavilion
Learn how to build an unusual, private, outdoor dining room.
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Homeowners David and Angie Hejduk are newlyweds with a new home. Their backyard has a cement slab patio and a perimeter fence, but it doesn't provide enough privacy from their neighbors. They want a more attractive, low-maintenance area for entertaining friends. The solution is an unusual one: an outdoor room made of rebar panels and curtains for privacy.
The First Meeting
Host Paul Ghiringhelli introduces David and Angie to landscape designer Dan Berger, who suggests adding a unique dining pavilion to the patio. The pavilion panels will be made of curved rebar arches anchored in pots of plants. The pavilion will take only 1-1/2 days to build at a cost of about $800 in materials.
At a fabrication plant the rebar is bent into arches, which costs $600. Dan has designed a decorative top for the arches, but simpler arches would cost only about $300. The fabricators use a computer-guided machine to bend the rebar. In all, there are 16 rebar panels — eight with the decorative arch on top and eight with a smaller curve to go inside the outer panels.
The first step is to turn the flower pots into the foundation for the rebar panels. The pots, extra rebar for the foundation, and the concrete cost $136. Contractor Fred Norgaard cuts and bends the rebar into pins to anchor the concrete inside the pots. Rebar cutters can be rented for about $10/day. Because rebar comes in 20-foot lengths — not long enough for Dan's plan — Fred extends the rebar with 4- by- 4 redwood posts into which the rebar arches will slide.
Angie and Fred mix the concrete in the flower pots, taking care to minimize the dust, which can burn skin and irritate eyes. They fill the pots about halfway, leaving room for soil and plants. The rebar pins are centered in the concrete inside the pots. They prepare eight pots and let the concrete cure for 24 hours.
Contractor Mike Meehan cuts the redwood posts to the desired length, and Angie marks one end with an "X" to find the exact center. Then she drills a hole in the center to accommodate the rebar.
The pots are inserted onto the rebar pins in the pots. The tops of the posts have two holes because each will hold one end of two rebar arches.
The crew arranges the posts on the patio and slides the rebar arches into the posts, ensuring that the tops of the arches are about 7-1/2 feet from the ground.
They use rebar crossties to attach the outer and inner arches of the structure.They join the crossties to the arches with inexpensive pipe clamps, using a special tool to tighten them.
Angie adds curtain panels, with ties at the top, to the arches and will sew some weights to the bottoms so that they won't blow around in the wind.
With the pavilion nearly complete, it's time to plant. Trailing lantana is planted in the pots, with upright annuals to soften the lines of the posts. Flax and nandina add drama to the nearby flower beds.
Nancy Brigg shows how to sculpt a decorative ceramic teapot with a gingko leaf pattern.