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How To Build a Front Porch Railing

Learn how to make a railing out of natural branches.

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natural branches pre drilled for easy installation
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Find the Branches

For our railing we used Rhododendron branches that were cut down when we cleared the site. (Rhododendron is a flowering shrub common to the Smoky Mountain region, and the branches are strong.) Since this is not for structural support, you can use large, thick branches and small, thin twigs.

Step 2: Decide How to Place the Branches

Decide on your placement for the branches and customize the shape and layout. If your porch sits 30" or more above ground, check your local building codes for railing regulations. Before securing the branches with nails, dry-fit them where you want them. You can custom cut each to fit into place using a reciprocating saw.

decide on layout of branches and customize shapes

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe

Step 3: Attach the Branches to the Porch

Before hammering, pre-drill into each large branch for easier nailing, then nail each into place with toe-in nailing. It's best to pre-drill and toenail the larger pieces, but the smaller pieces can just be tacked in with a finish nailer. For extra security and strength, spiral nail the branches to each other where you can.

pre drill larger branches for easier nailing

Courtesy of Lucie Rowe