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 Willow Structure Examples - See online Shop, Domes, Wigwams, Tunnels & Arbours



One of the more recent uses for willow is to create living willow structures. Living willow structures and sculptures are very easy to make. Children love constructing domes and tunnels with willow because it requires little skill and lots of imagination. Living willow fences, ‘fedges’, are also an attractive alternative to conventional fencing. Some specialist companies construct willow walls, living willow hurdles filled with soil which make a solid structure with the added bonus of acting as a shield against noise and pollution. Although almost any type of willow can be used for living willow structures, varieties such as Salix Viminalis are ideal. This is because they produce long straight rods without many side shoots which are easier to use for large structures.

See 'Online Shop' for pricing & ordering of Kits


You can design almost any shaped structure you wish, however there are of course a few restraints. We supply willow that is all new growth, i.e. Less than 12 months old, that means it is very supple and ideal for weaving and building. These can be any length up to 9ft. Not all the rods in the structure need to be pushed into the ground, however any that are not will of course die away eventually and will need to be replaced by new growth being weaved in. Your living willow structure will evolve over time, but to make this happen it is essential to maintain the structure during the winter, new growth needs to be tied in or pruned right out.


What is Required

- Sketch/design so you can work out rods required, allowing at least 15-20cm pushed into the ground.
- Appropriate numbers & sizes of Willow rods for your design.
- Weed suppressing membrane, heavy duty type that lets water through is ideal
- Pegs to hold down membrane
- Bar or metal stake to create holes & a large hammer (only needed if ground is hard)
- String or gardening twine to tie in the willow weave




Below are some examples of recent simple projects we have completed, we are happy to come and build the structures for you if you prefer. We are happy to quote for jobs anywhere in the mainland UK.

Large 3M Dome with 3m Long Tunnel Entrance

2.5m Diameter Dome


1) Willow Fedge

You can be more creative and undulate the top of your fedge or make holes and windows in it. Ties are simply used to secure the structure while it gets established

The photos shown are of simple 1.8m fedge constructed last winter. Click on thumbnails to enlarge.

The two last shots are this summer, showing growth at the base and mainly at the top. Trimming the top will encourage lower growth. Lower shoots can also be woven in to thicken the base.

See 'Online Shop' page 8 for pricing & ordering of Kits




2) Low Willow Tunnel

This shows a long low bendy tunnel, again constructed last winter, with last photos taken this spring showing early growth. Click on thumbnails to enlarge.

This is about 1m high and 5m long, it is great fun to build.

It is particularly easy for children to help with and requires only 1.5m long willow rods.

See 'Online Shop' page 8 for pricing & ordering of Kits




3) High Willow Tunnel

This high tunnel was constructed from 3m Rods and was very quick and easy to build. Click on thumbnails to enlarge.

The early photos were last winter and the last one this summer showing it in need a some attention. This was later trimmed at the top to encourage lower growth and the lower growth weaved into the structure.

The membrane ensures easy maintenance and keeps moisture in.

See 'Online Shop' page 8 for pricing & ordering of Kits




4) Willow Dome

This dome was again constructed last winter and vigorous growth can be seen in just a few months. Trimming at the top and weaving in growth lower down is essential at least once a year, ideally two or three times. Click on thumbnails to enlarge.

The top of the dome will be open to begin with. You will gradually close up the gap when new growth can be woven and tied in during winter maintenance in the following years.

See 'Online Shop' page 8 for pricing & ordering of Kits




Books on the Subject

Living Willow Sculpture by Jon Warnes. This covers in detail, tools & equipment, weaving, joining, and pruning. It also covers construction of domes, wigwams, fences, chairs, tunnels and arbours.


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This site was last updated 30-Jun-2012