Do It! How to Build a Decorative Bar

Homeowner Leah nails wood boards on the back of a fence while her husband, Justin, watches. These boards will support the bar for their patio.

Homeowners who enjoy entertaining family and friends outdoors can enhance their patio with a decorative bar.

We’re using a pressure-treated 2×4 frame cut to the length of the fence section where the bar will be mounted. The bar will be 18 inches deep.

We will use square butt joints — secured with 3-inch nails or screws — at the back of the bar.

Use 45-degree miter joints for the front of the bar; these will hide the end grain of the 2×4’s. We put a bevel on the outside corner nearest to the gate to make access easier. The frame is now ready to mount on the fence.

The typical height of a bar is between 36 and 42 inches. When the frame is level, nail or screw it to the fence; ensure you’ve hit the 2×4 framing into the fence.

Next, check the level of the bar from the fence outward before attaching diagonal braces from the wall to the cross pieces in the frame.

We use 1×4’s for the top of our bar, but you can also use five quarter deck boards or 2-by material; just account for thickness when you establish the bar height.

Before installing the top pieces, orient each board so the crown is up. This prevents cupping of the boards later.

Secure the top boards with 2-inch finishing nails everywhere they pass over the framework.

Watch the video above for the step-by-step process!

This segment was featured in the “Maximize Outdoor Living” episode of “Today’s Homeowner.” Click here for more projects from this episode.


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