Living willow structures are a cheap and sustainable way to add gorgeous elements to your property. They are fun to create and are functional, providing shelter or fencing in addition to decorative aspects.
Using willows to create shelters, fences, and sculptures has been popular in the UK for ages and is becoming more popular in the US. Check out these 15 amazing living willow project ideas for a look into the types of things that can be made with willow whips:
15 living willow project ideas
1. Living garden art
Willows can be turned into amazing works of art that grow and change with the seasons, like this beautiful feature in the UK.
2. Living willow tunnel
A living tunnel would be so much fun to have in a garden. It would be the perfect shady place to hang out on hot summer days, and kids would love it! A tunnel like this could be built as long or as short as you need, depending on your available space.
3. Willow fence
Fences made of willows are extremely functional and easy to maintain. As they leaf out and create new growth, they can replace most traditional fences. They are also a beautiful, natural way to enclose a yard.
4. Mature willow privacy fence
Here is an example of a more mature willow fence. The base is woven horizontally and the tops are left to grow vertically. This style makes an excellent privacy fence and is sufficient to keep most pets contained on a property.
5. Willow arbors…or a church?
Amazing structures can be made out of willows, like this striking feature in Germany made from arches of various sizes. The cool thing is – this is actually a church. A structure like this would make a beautiful and fun addition to any yard or park, requiring little maintenance once established.
6. Willow-sheltered seating area
Here is a beautiful live willow seating area providing shade in a yard. Willows can be woven and shaped into domes or half-domes for shelter and visual interest.
7. Willow fence in winter
This living fence in England shows how beautiful a willow fence can be even in winter when the plants are dormant. It will fill out again with lush green leaves in spring.
8. Artsy willow tunnel
Willow creations can be very elaborate or very simple. Even a seemingly uncomplicated design like this tunnel in a park can have beautiful artistic appeal with its curvature and branches woven horizontally across the structure.
9. Willow fort for kids
For a fabulously fun idea for kids, check out this living willow fort for kids. We once built something similar with sunflowers, but willows would be great because they don’t have to be replanted every year. It could also become a snow fort in winter!
10. Willow tunnel in a garden
This willow tunnel adds some vertical space to a garden plot and acts as a natural divider between the garden sections.
11. Arch sculpture
Here is another creative arch design using live willows. The feature is a work of art that doubles as a fun place to find some shade.
12. Living sculptures
Willows can be manipulated into just about any shape, making them perfect for creating sculptures that come to life when the leaves turn green. This would be a wonderful type of project to get kids involved in the garden!
13. Decorative willow fence
This simple but beautiful fence makes a nice decorative border around a pond in England. This fence is a good example of the versatility of willows for use in functional projects large and small.
14. Willow domes
I can’t think of too many things more fun for kids than their own willow dome in the yard. And what a cool way to get them outdoors, enjoying nature and watching their dome change over the years as the willows grow!
15. Simple willow arch
Finally, here is another archway that shows simple can be beautiful. A minimalist willow arch in this country field gives the scene a fun, whimsical feel.
These projects show the incredible versatility of willows, no matter what you want to create. If your growing conditions are right, willows can provide beautiful, green structures on your property that last for years!