Create a rustic fence around your garden or yard using tree branches or limbs. A natural fence is a functional and decorative addition to any garden. It provides security and demarcates personal property, while enhancing the appeal of the landscape. Wattling, the ancient art of weaving flexible branches, originates from the Bronze Age. Wattled panels for the fence are simple to make and relatively cost-free. Use pliable hazel or willow wood for the fence or soak other woods to make them workable.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Lopping pruners
- 5 wooden posts or 1 1/2-inch-wide branches
- Hemp string
Cut 1-inch-wide willow branches with lopping pruners during fall. Keep each 6 feet long. You need 30 to 40 pliable branches for every 3-by-5-foot hurdle or fence section.
Create bundles of branches, using cord to tie them together. Store the bundles in a basement during winter. Bring the branches out of the basement in spring and soak them in water to rehydrate them.
Sharpen the lower end of a 1 1/2-inch-wide wooden post or branch that measures 10 to 12 inches longer than the finished height of the wattle fence section or hurdle. Use a hatchet to make the end smooth. Repeat the procedure until you have a total of five posts.
Insert the posts into the ground, over the area in your yard where you want to install the fence. Push each post 12 inches into the soil and space each 12 inches apart.
Weave willow branches through the posts to create a hurdle or fence section. Allow the end of a limb to protrude as you weave it in and out of the posts.
Push the branch down to the base of the fence and begin weaving another pliable branch to create another row. Alternate the weave of each new branch so it starts from the side opposite to the previous one. Push this row down and continue weaving branches through the posts to create a 5-foot-wide hurdle or section in your desired height.
Weave thinner, leftover pliable branches to cover any gaps in the fence. Trim off protruding edges of branches with loppers.
Weave hemp string through the ends of the branches to make the hurdle more secure.
Insert five more posts 12 inches into the ground and weave pliable branches through them to create another wattle. Repeat the process of weaving until your fence covers the entire area.
Tips and warnings
- Although willows are more pliable than other woods, you can use semi-hardwoods such as oak, dogwood or maple for the fence.
- You can use rebar instead of wooden posts, because it lasts a longer time.
- The tighter you weave the wattle, the stronger the fence will be.
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