It's teepee time! How to make a natural garden den
You don't need oodles of cash or room to make this fun playhouse for kids in your garden.
Most of us aren't lucky enough to preside over lots of outdoor space so we have to make the best of what we have. Quite often that means being a bit thrifty too.
Garden playhouses are always popular with children and they look lovely, if they're wooden or painted. But they're also expensive and take up much needed room.
A lovely, natural alternative is a teepee made out of runner beans, sweet peas, or for year-round play value - ivy. Here's how to make one.
You will need:
- 8-10 long bamboo canes which can be bought cheaply from garden centres. The longer the cane the bigger the teepee (ones big enough to fit a couple of little people or even to accommodate you too work best).
- Plants. Any of those listed above will do. You want to make sure you're buying climbers so they can scramble up the canes and create the shelter.
To make the teepee:
- Find a sunny spot if possible.
- Decide how big you're going to go. Bigger is better in my opinion but again, it depends on space.
- Place the canes in a circle, moving them to ge the size of the teepee you want.
- Tie string from cane to cane, moving up as you go around. This will give the plants something to grow up too. Remember to leave a gap at the front for the door.
- Dig out the earth around the outside of the teepee (if it's on grass) and mix in some well rotted manure then plant your beans or sweetpea, two to a cane. You may need to protect these from slugs. I've planted my sweet peas and beans outside now (I live in southern England), if you live further north you may want to wait a few more weeks.
- Gently tie in the plants if they need a bit of support (sweetpeas do). Place them in between the canes so they can grow up the string.
- Inside, if you've created your den on dirt, place some wood chippings down. If it's on a lawn it's not so important but do remember to water the plants!
I love bean teepees and incorporated one into plans for a sensory garden at school. They look lovely, the children adore them, they fuel lots of imaginiative play and best of all they double up as a planting space giving you flowers or beans too.
Photo copyright: Debbie Webber
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