Willow Woven Garden Beds
Gardens around the world are done in so many different ways. Some are directly in the ground, some in pots on patio's and some large garden boxes. Deb has even planted one in an antique bathtub before. Honestly, you can build the bed wall with almost any material that will contain the soil, including stone, woven willow, and concrete. Recently both girls decided to redo their garden areas! Britt chose to construct her garden boxes out of cedar and you can find the DIY tutorial here. Deb simply gave her garden a lil'facelift by adding woven garden beds and a simple stone pathway. Take a look below at how she made her willow woven raised planter boxes!
Raised Planter Boxes
As a young girl, Deb remember's her grandmother garden at the back of the farmhouse. It was always full of beautiful flowers and seemed so magical to a young girl. She would play in the garden and pretend it was full of fairy's and magic! It sparked so much creativity for her back then as there is something so beautiful about the thought of a secret garden and she never lost the idea of having one of her own. When she moved to her home, her vision was to have a garden outside of the bay window that she could look at and watch grow from inside. The large lilac bushes that grew there would make the perfect natural arch for the entrance. They fenced off the area and build some large garden boxes for veggies and flowers!
The project was never fully finished as she always wanted to remove the grass in the garden area. It was forever growing into the garden boxes and hard to mow back there. The original idea was to have an old brick pathway but she opted to try Rundle stone slate instead for a more natural look.
She had also fallen in love with the idea of willow garden beds. Her mother worked with willow all her life, making chairs, arbours, baskets and about anything else you can imagine with willow! So the idea of weaving the beds seemed to be a relatively easy idea for her to take on. And the result... well it was even more beautiful then she imagined.
Tools and Supplies
Willow bunches of both thin and mature branches
Drill and screws
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Step by Step Tutorial
1. Begin by gathering your willow, depending on your project, you will want to get as many large will trees with lots of branches as possible. You will want to use your willow quite quickly after it has been cut to keep it the most flexible. Some people do like to soak the willow in water prior to using it to improve flexibility however Deb didn't do this.
2. Using some of the larger willow tree trunks, cut 12" stakes. These will be used to weave your willow around when making the beds. Deb tried to use wooden 2" x 1/4" wooden stakes at first but they didn't work as well as the willow itself. The shape of the willow is better to work with!
3. Hammer your stakes approximately 12" apart into the ground in the shape you are wanting your bed. Deb went around her existing beds so this was what she used as a guide.
Note* If you are going around existing raised planter boxes, make sure to leave about 1.5" space between the stake and the existing box. Also make sure to hammer a stake at each corner of the bed. You will use this to secure the sides when you are weaving.
4. Now you can begin weaving! Using some of the largest willow pieces you have, start on one side and continue all the way around all four sides until you are back at the first corner. You will want to criss cross your willow on each corner stake like the image shown below. This will help your structure become strong. **If your willow has any leaves, you will want to strip them off prior to starting this step.
5. Once you have got a good base going, start seeing where you can fill or add denser branches into the structure. Deb used a good mix of all sizes of willow to make her beds. She went back and filled in as many areas as she could with smaller pieces afterwards as well. Continue until your desired height of the beds.
6. Once you are complete happy with the fullness, size and height of your raised planted boxes, you can go around and snip off any loose pieces that don't seem to want to cooperate!
7. If you did your willow beds around existing raised planter boxes, use a few screws and secure the beds to the wooden boxes. This should help with the strength of the beds as well!
Tip* Weather permitting, try and collect your willow prior to the leaves budding out on them. This will save you a ton of work stripping the leaves off.
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Tips and Tricks
It will take a season for the willow to dry but it should hold it's shape and look for years to come. If you are wanting to keep the willow healthy looking every year, you can add a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine to the wood and it should help to prolong the life. Simply wipe it on with an old rag or paint brush.
Hopefully you have enjoyed this DIY tutorial on willow raised planter boxes. Deb is so happy with how it has turned out! A very easy and affordable project that gives major impact in the garden!