How to Make Willow Structures for Your Garden

[Music] Quick growing and producing lots of flexible stems, hazel and willow trees offer a plentiful supply of natural materials that you can work with in the garden. You can use the stems to create supports for climbing plants, to weave into screens, hurdles or edging – even create your own stunning sculptures. In this video, we’ll show you how to create a handsome hurdle step by step, and you can use the same technique for all manner of willow structures. Both willow and hazel have a long history of use in all manner of garden structures In order to encourage the long straight stems required, the trees are periodically ‘coppiced’, when the stems are cut right back to a stump to encourage replacement shoots. You can buy ready-to-work-with bundles of hazel or willow stems, or you can grow your own, cutting the stems right back to ground level then allowing new stems to grow in their place. Willow grows quickest and produces highly flexible stems that are ideal for weaving. Dogwoods offer another excellent option for weaving, with stems coming in a range of colors from red to yellow. Hazel stems tend to be a little thicker and make excellent beanpoles. Fences made from hazel or willow look stunning. They also help to filter wind rather than deflect it, avoiding the damaging eddies sometimes found at the bottom of solid walls. Lower woven hurdles make very pretty edges to raised beds, though bear in mind that close contact with the soil will reduce their lifespan. Alternatively, use woven hurdles such as these ones made from willow to create handsome screens hiding ugly pots or less attractive parts of your garden such as a compost area. Let’s have a go at making a very simple willow hurdle. Start by hammering thick sticks at least an inch (2cm) in diameter into the ground to form your uprights. They need to be really firmly anchored into place, with the two thicker sticks positioned at either end. If necessary, you can whittle the ends of the sticks to a point so that they pierce the ground more easily. With your uprights in position, you can begin weaving. For this we’re using bundles of young thin willow stems. Fresh stems, or ‘rods’, are flexible enough to use immediately, while older stems may need soaking in water for a day or two to soften them up. Begin weaving by laying the first rod down and weaving it in and out of the sticks like this so that the position of the rod alternates between being in front of an upright and then behind the next. Now add another rod, this time weaving in the opposite direction. To hold the end uprights in place so they don’t fall away, we’ll need to tie them in. Select an extra-long rod for your next weave. Weave it in position, then flex the thinner end of the rod around the final upright and weave it back into the hurdle. Tuck the end in like this. Now repeat the process for the opposite end. Feed in another rod and flex it back around the upright. Weave it back on itself, and tuck it in. Continue adding rods, alternating the weave to create a good solid finish. Firm up the weave occasionally by hammering or tapping down the rods so they’re nice and tight against each other. Every few rows, tuck the end of the rod back in on itself, twisting it around the end upright and weaving it back into the hurdle. The final two rods should also be brought back in on themselves and tucked into the weave to create a tidy finish. To complete the hurdle, either trim any protruding rods so they are flush with the ends, or carefully twist and weave them back in. And there you have your finished hurdle! Making your own hurdle is a really fun project, and I hope you’ll agree that end result looks just stunning. Now, if you decide to give this a go, we’d really love to know how you get on. Or perhaps you’ve got another way of using willow or hazel that you’d like to share? In either case just pop us a comment below, and look out for our upcoming videos too. The easiest way to do that of course is to subscribe so you’ll be notified every time we upload something new. I’ll catch you next time. [Music]

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49 thoughts on “How to Make Willow Structures for Your Garden

  1. I would like to know how are those twigs treated so that they are dead and won't sprout willows all over the place? Thanks for this nice video! =)

  2. Seeing this woke up me up my Northern England persuasion , (adopted out, they were 6 ,five girls one boy ,mother die, I was 9 month old.)
    My mom , brother had a DNA test done. and I understand it was a shocker! 2 place Northern England genetics, did the ancient people of Scandinavia do this to build fences,?
    On my mother side DNA. 1. Scandinavian countries villages do they this too.

    2. Northern England.was next big slice, no dilution here of upstairs Downton Abbey Living and finery unless I'm cleaning it.
    evidently they were farm labor's, according to U.S.A. government papers. sharecroppers, Before and after I was adopted in 1958 Dad was a sharecropper/ slave…
    What I can gather the old world same as the new world. farm laborers, (and no you did get always eat.) So said my older sister., So guess I am fascinated with England,
    I don't care for Scandinavian, it's cold looking I don't eat fish yeck!.
    We all thought we were Scottish_ Irish Blackfeet native American.
    we'll what a kick……Tx"s

  3. The English sure do know how to have neat and tidy gardens!
    Mine is all about things growing together in a chaotic, Western American style.
    I love English gardening channels for the exposure to the style.

    This is a great video.

  4. Great video, lots of encouragement for gardeners to grow and coppice willow, we have added this video to our Willow / Salix playlist

  5. just found this on the Willow playlist, could just as easily be in the coppicing playlist, great stuff.

  6. I didn't come up with on my own and will give credit to Mel of "Square Gardening" fame. If you have several bed and don't want to carry your supplies from bed to bed (especially if they're located a distance from each other) purchase a set of tools (trowel, gardening gloves, scissors, etc) at a dollar store or similar discount store to keep at EACH bed. Even if you have seven or eight beds, this shouldn't amount to even $20 and will save you from having to run back to the greenhouse or shed because you forgot the one thing you needed. Also, you can vacuum seal (if you're lucky enough to have a machine) seeds that you plan to use in a bed after the current crop is harvested so you don't have to look for those either. I plant to put all of these things in lidded buckets under (my raised boxes are off the ground 2') my beds, but you could easily keep them right next to your bed as long as the buckets are sealed well. Keeping a bag in your supply bucket as well gives you a place to collect compost material so you can just dump them all at once into your heap.

  7. Great video! Thank you! My mum made one from willow. She called it a "willow fedge" is this the same? Thank you. For anyone wanting to see the one my mum made its in my videos. Thanks

  8. When you speak of "hazel" do you mean corylopsis (winter hazel), or perhaps corylus (filbert or hazelnut tree)?

  9. Thank you for this video. How long would you say that a Willow or Hazel structure could last before rootening? Are there suggested techniques to help preserve its integrity?

  10. please do a video on attracting beneficial insects and other pollinators (such as bees and butterflies) to my garden

  11. I enjoyed this video. Thank you. Love these fences. I have willow growing at the end of the property down by the pond, but I am going to grab the wisdom here and have an area closer to my potting shed for just willow because for good fast growth they do require water.

  12. So very British! – love it – nice video. Certainly enhances garden beauty – perhaps one day something I can think about.

  13. ✪ stP. #rapGod, is that really you? This is some kind of joke. Did you and I play in CS?

  14. I am trying to figure out which video to watch that talks about the large sheets of cardboard that are covered with soil as a bed in the garden. Could you link that for me, please.

  15. Loved the video but have a quick question. Is there a difference between willow and weeping willow? Thank you!

  16. Awesome. Thank you for the great idea and 'how to'. Just planted a willow tree last month. It's growing but not ready yet for harvesting.

  17. is it necessary to take the bark off before using willow rods ? I have a massive willow tree locally that has tons of material I can work with but I'm not making decorative indoor products, just garden support structures.

  18. Lovely quick and informative video. Do you have a rough idea of what size willow bundle you would need for the size of hurdle? I'm looking into building a playhouse and trying to get an idea of how much willow I would need.

  19. Where can you buy willow in bulk?, I can't seem to find it for sale(and relative cheap) anywhere. Also I do not want to go foraging or growing it myself due the lack of room we have.

  20. I’m trying to imagine how to create corners with this technique. Can you start another edge at an angle a weave into the previous edge to make a boxed in area?

  21. I would love to grow Willow in my garden. Thanks so much for this brilliant video. Just found out that you can buy Willow soft charcoal. Hope to try it out on Japanese Knotweed Paper. I made some Japanese Knotweed paper. If we in the UK created our own JK paper like they are doing overseas, we could save a lot of trees:

  22. We will give it a go. our willow has lots of extra shoots so we should manage a couple of little hurdles

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