RUSTIC WATTLE WORK
Woven hurdle fencing is familiar to all gardeners. The techniques used to make these have long been a basic skill of gardeners and countrymen who used wattle work much as we would use plywood or MDF today. This factsheet describes how anyone can use wattlework in the garden to create a range of interesting feature including raised beds and turf seats.
Hazel is the most commonly used wattlework species. Willow is also common but must not be used where any thing is backfilled with soil as it might take root and grow! Sweet Chestnut, being naturally durable, is the ideal species to use but it is only available in the southeast. It is very difficult to accurately to estimate the amount of wood required, suffice it to say after over ten years doing this sort of thing I am always surprised how much it takes.
· Using the sledgehammer sink two posts
to a depth of 90cm 2.4m apart along the length to be wattled.
· Select the thickest rod and weave
it in and out around the stakes. Press it firmly down to the ground.
Finishing the Top
· Take the two thinnest rods and place
them side-by-side so that the tip of one is beside the butt of the
Raised beds and turf seats
The basic principles described for the 2.4m wattle bay can be adapted to meet a number of different needs. Two popular options are to construct either raised beds or Turf Seats with wattle borders. In both cases the wattle work should have a waterproof material between it and the soil. This not only helps to retain moisture in the raised structure but also slows down the rate of decay of the wattle work. Added durability can be provided from using two metal concrete reinforcing rods in place of some of the hazel stakes.
The Local Woodland Products Initiative is working to increase the use of sustainable woodland products in the garden. For more details contact Geoff Sinclair (Tel 01473 327 720)/Karen Kenny (Tel 01473 718 874) or www.allotmentforestry.com
This factsheet is one of a number produced to help gardeners use wood more imaginatively and sustainably in the garden. We gratefully acknowledge the help of The Countryside Agency, The Forestry Commission, Shell Better Britain Campaign and Suffolk Environment Trust in the production of this leaflet