[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]