Making A Willow Den

How to build a willow den

£35 - £65
  • Living willow whips in 6', 7', or 9' lengths
  • Strong garden string
  • spade or garden fork
  • Weed matting (Optional)
  • Play Bark (Optional

Building a living willow den is easier than it looks and loads of fun. It will last for years, continually changes, and is a great natural addition to your garden, as well as creating a natural outdoor play setting for your children.

  1. Find a suitable place in your garden for the den. Stand in the middle of your chosen spot and hold onto a small child's hand while they circulate and let go of sand from their other hand.
  2. You can use weed matting or play bark inside your den or just leave the grass to grow
  3. To construct the main structure, plant several of the thicker stems vertically at about 30-40cm intervals around the willow den base. Tie the opposite whips together where they meet to begin to form a dome shape. Begin planting and weaving in the diagonal willow whips. The top of your willow den can be left open to grow before then weaving together.
  4. Plant stems about 10cm into the ground
  5. Plant smaller stems diagonally, working around the willow den base. These stems produce more shoots and will make your den dense and bushy, the vertical stems grow long and add to the height. Diagonal willow whips can be tied where they cross the vertical whips for a more stable structure.
  6. You can add more structure by weaving in horizontal willow whips around the structure and from the top of the entrance arch to the rest of the structure. The floor of the den can be left as bare matting or play bark can be added.
  • Willow can be bought from around November to March (December, January, and February being the best months to plant)
  • Salix Viminalis is a quick growing, hardy willow variety perfect for making dens out of.
  • The planted willow needs to be kept well watered during the first few months.
  • Your den can be pruned annually to keep the growth neat and confined, or you may prefer the wild and bushy look.
  • Dead or living willow can be used to weave horizontally to add more structure to your den or for repairs.
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