Living arbor from tree trunks: how to grow a frame of an unusual structure

Living arbor from tree trunks: how to grow a frame of an unusual structure

When there is not enough space in the country for all kinds of buildings and you want to plant greenery to the maximum, you can combine practicality and aesthetics by creating a large gazebo made of living trees. Outside, it will resemble a lush green wigwam, and inside, the owners will be able to arrange for themselves moments of relaxation and rest in the shade of rustling foliage. It is easy to breathe in such a building, there is no view for curious neighbors and passers-by. Over the years, a live gazebo will become a special highlight of your summer cottage, since all the branches will weave into one dense tent, attracting in the summer with a leafy cover, and in the winter with an amazing wood frame. If you are ready for a long landscape experiment, we will understand the intricacies of creating such a gazebo from scratch.

The right choice of trees for such a structure

A living gazebo differs from ordinary wooden or brick ones in that there are no walls, pillars and a roof made of building materials in it. All these functions are performed by trees. Trunks serve as supports, branches serve as a frame, and leaves fill all the voids of the frame, like walls and a roof. After 6-7 years, even rain will not be able to break through a thick hat.

Trees (or tall shrubs) are selected of the same variety so that the gazebo looks harmonious. In this case, it is determined in advance what height a living structure should be in an adult form. If 2.5-3 meters is enough, then irga, willow or mountain ash are planted. They are highly flexible at a young age and easily take shape. Such trees are planted in increments of 70-80 cm.

If you choose a willow for the gazebo, then you don't even have to create additional supports for it, since the plant bends beautifully and takes any shape

For a higher gazebo, poplars, maples, birches, lindens are suitable. It is recommended to plant them every meter so that in adulthood the trees do not crowd out each other due to lack of food.

All of these plants grow dense foliage only in good lighting conditions, so it is better to choose a place open on all sides for the gazebo. True, it is still not worth planting in drafts, otherwise a considerable part of the branches, especially young ones, can spoil from the winter winds. Try to have a structure or at least a fence about three meters from the future gazebo on the side where the wind most often blows in your area.

They feel good in such spruce plantings, which, unlike deciduous trees, develop normally in partial shade. True, inside a spruce gazebo it will be darker than in a birch or maple tree, but the aroma of useful phytoncides that kill microbes will constantly hang in the air.

Step by step construction technology

Stage # 1 - site breakdown

As with the creation of any structure, the first thing to do is markup. In order for the root system of trees to develop normally, there must be enough space inside the green room. The ideal option is 3x3 meters. More is possible, less undesirable due to the fact that you often have to prune the protruding young shoots inside the gazebo so that they do not interfere with your rest.

If you want a round shape, then outline the diameter of the inner space 6-7 meters.

Some owners, using high pruning of skeletal branches, create open gazebos that have no walls, but only a green roof.

Stage # 2 - planting trees

Seedlings are bought or dug up in the forest with a height of 1.5-2 meters. Try to match all trees with the same trunk height so that they develop evenly. Planting is usual - in early spring, before the start of sap flow.

Between the seedlings, posts are buried in the ground, which for the first time will become a support for the entire structure, until the tree trunks grow to the desired height and get stronger. All pillars are intertwined with wire, to which branches will be attached to form a dense frame. We immediately fix the seedlings to the frame so that they grow in the right direction and do not bend. You can tie it with plastic clamps, which are in gardening stores, or with a rope. Do not use wire, as it can strongly dig into the wood tissue and lead to cancer.

In this state, you leave a living frame until next spring, allowing the seedlings to take root in a new place and get stronger.

When using shrubs, it is impossible to achieve a thick trunk, so they are planted in several pieces (2-3), braiding around the support pillars

Stage # 3 - arrangement of internal space

While the trees get stronger and take root, you can equip the gazebo inside. Furniture and other accessories will appear over time, and the first thing to do is create the floor. Several options are possible here:

  • If the gazebo is solid, closed foliage from the ground to the top of the roof, and the entrance will be the only niche for the penetration of sunlight, then it is best to choose tiles or paving stones. She is not afraid of moisture, passes water and oxygen into the ground, which means that the nutrition of the roots will not be disturbed.
  • For gazebos, whose deciduous walls will start from half a meter high and higher, lawn grass or wooden chocks are suitable. There is enough light in such a structure, the gazebo is well ventilated, so the grass floor will not suffer from darkness, and the wooden floor will not suffer from moisture.

It's a good idea to think over the lighting at the initial stage. If you will use the gazebo in the evenings, you will have to hang a lamp. So, you need to conduct electricity. And while the seedlings are still small, and the site is not equipped, dig a groove and lay an electric cable. Over time, as the tree trunks grow, stretch the cable up to the ceiling and hang the lamp.

Some owners, instead of one central lamp, hang small ones around the perimeter of the walls. Then, from the outside, it seems as if the gazebo is filled with a fabulous glow and glows in the dark.

For a living gazebo, a stone floor is also suitable, which is well permeable to moisture, only under it it is imperative to pour a layer of sand

Stage # 4 - forming the frame of the gazebo

The next year, in early spring, the formation of the future walls of the building begins. If you want to make the gazebo as closed as possible from prying eyes, then trimming the seedlings is carried out as follows:

  1. Check where the top of the seedling is pointing. If it bends and does not grow vertically upwards, tie it to the frame, fixing it in the desired direction.
  2. All skeletal branches (the thickest ones coming from the trunk) should be cut in half to stimulate the growth of the lateral, thinner shoots. The lowest branches are fixed to the wire strictly horizontally.
  3. In the middle of summer, the top of the head is cut by 10-15 cm.

If you want to leave the lower part of the gazebo clean of greenery, consisting only of bare trunks, then cut all skeletal branches to the trunk, leaving no stumps, to the height that you need. Most often, a gap of 80-100 cm is left below. You should have only the trunk below, without a single branch. At the same time, each place of the cut is covered with garden varnish so that the tree does not get sick. The rest of the steps are as in the instructions above: align the top of the head, tie the branches horizontally, etc.

Cut the lower skeletal branches only lightly to give impetus to the growth of dormant side shoots, and the rest by about half

No more trimming is done this year. The next spring, the frame continues to be molded:

  1. Choose from the young upper branches the one that will become the new crown, and fix it strictly vertically.
  2. Cut the new skeletal branches in half.
  3. Above last year's lower branches, tied horizontally, we find another pair of young skeletal branches and fix them to the wire in the same way as last year's (horizontally).
  4. Cut off the crown again (in July).

Thus, we form the walls of the gazebo until it reaches the height we need. At the same time, every year we cut off or braid all the protruding young branches between the skeletal ones so that they do not violate the integrity of the structure. This can be done until July.

Stage # 5 - creating a green roof

When the trunks have grown stronger and have grown to the desired height, we begin to form the roof. To do this, all the upper crown shoots must be braided into a braid, pulled with a rope over the edge and bent to the center of the future roof of the gazebo. The second edge of the rope is tied to the top of the support pillar on the opposite wall of the gazebo, or the top of the tree opposite is pulled together with this end. In any case, the rope must be taut so that the branches cannot straighten out, but remain in the position that they were given.

It is imperative to weave the tops of the head into braids so that over time, when the branches become lignified, you get a reliable frame over your head. If you just tie the branches, then after removing the ropes, they will begin to grow in different directions.

After the trunks and skeletal branches that form the walls and roof are lignified, you can remove the entire wire frame and remove the support pillars. From now on, you only have to trim thin branches that are knocked out of the total mass.

Additional wall decoration

To add foliage to the bottom of the gazebo (where there are no skeletal branches), plant shrubs in place of the support posts that respond well to haircuts (spireas, boxwoods, barberries, etc.). When they grow to the level of the lower branch, trim the top of the head and trim the side shoots to the desired shape.

As an additional decor for the gazebo, you can also use creeping annuals, which bloom beautifully and add accents to the green foliage tent.

You can plant flowering vines (maiden grapes, clematis, etc.) instead of shrubs, but try to choose such plants that stretch no more than 2 meters so that they do not interrupt the main background of the foliage. At the same time, remember that you will have to feed them more often, since the main food from the ground will be taken by a live gazebo.

Such constructions are not uncommon in Europe, but our gazebos made of living trees are still exotic. So if you want to surprise your friends and acquaintances with your summer cottage landscape - try to grow this masterpiece with your own hands.

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Choosing the type of gazebo

There are a fairly large number of varieties of garden gazebos, which differ from each other in:

  • The type of material of manufacture - stone, brick, wood, metal, plastic.
  • The shape of the structure is square, rectangular, six- or octagonal, round, compound (this is when two or more shapes are combined into one).
  • Open, closed, glazed.
  • Log or frame - the base is made in the form of a log frame or a frame made of bars).
  • Simple or decorative - support posts can be straight, carved, or from raw tree trunks.
  • By the type of roofs - flat, simple, multi-pitched, covered with slate, metal or bituminous tiles, decorative coating.

The overall dimensions remain entirely at your discretion - no one except you can decide how much capacity the gazebo should have and what it is intended for. It will be just a place for feasts, or you will want to install a brazier there with all the accompanying accessories.

Having considered all the possible options, we will choose not the most difficult, but also not the easiest of them - a hexagonal arbor made of wood with a plank floor and a roof made of metal tiles, upholstered with wooden clapboard below.

Weaving subtleties

The weaving process is rightfully considered the most creative stage of work. If the gazebo is made according to the "basket principle", then weaving consists of the following steps:

1. Use a construction stapler, nails or wire to secure the ends of the vine to the lowest post.
2. Further, the weaving pattern assumes that each rod will be threaded between the posts. You need to thread the vine in a checkerboard pattern to achieve a beautiful texture of the wicker surface.
3. If the twig ends between the posts, lengthen it by tying a new twig with a wire.
4. After the circle of weaving is completed, the ends of the vine are tied to the last post in the row.
5. Then the cycle is repeated.
6. For greater rigidity of the weaving between the main supports, you can use the auxiliary posts of wood, metal or plastic.

It is worth noting that this method is simple and fast. Even beginners can master it. But the owners of summer cottages with extensive experience can weave the vine with "strings" or according to the principle of braids. Patterns of such weaving can be found on the Internet without any problems.

The choice of materials for the floor

The floor in the gazebo must be strong and durable. Based on these requirements, site owners select the type of flooring. Good reviews have floors made of the following materials:

- wood
- a rock
- concrete
- tiles, etc.

Roofing for wicker arbors

An arbor made of branches, in addition to performing decorative functions, should protect households from precipitation, heat and wind. Therefore, due attention must be paid to the roof. Its format can be different - at the request of the owner, one of the following roof options can be chosen:

- single slope
- gable
- domed
- conical
- rounded.

Having chosen the shape of the roof, you need to decide on the roofing material. Ideally, it should be strong but light in weight. So, in the work can be used polycarbonate, sheet metal, tied in neat bundles of reeds or straw. Roofing material is attached to the roof frame made of wooden beams. You can assemble the frame on the floor, and then place it on the gazebo.

Video: a gazebo made of branches

After completing construction work, the landowner can start decorating. Wicker gazebos surrounded by greenery of garden vines, conifers and the bright color of plants from flower beds look spectacular in the garden. Do not forget about the choice of furniture that is suitable in style - wicker tables and chairs, functional pedestals and stands for kitchen utensils.

Watch the video: Arbor Day Webinar