Living Willow Wigwams and Tunnels

 Wlllow tunnel

Key Points


  • BUY IN THE WINTER January to March when the willow is dormant.


Children love dens and places to hide.  A living willow wigwam or tunnel can form a lovely leafy den and shady play area for your kids.  You do not need to be an experienced gardener to create these willow hideaways.  Nearly all willow suppliers sell kits to simplify the task.   Older children can help you plant and all kids will enjoy sitting inside to see how the buds have formed and how the leaves are going to enclose the shelter.
Plant the willow in November to March during its dormant months, though some suppliers extend this period by keeping the willow in cold storage.  Therefore place your order well before Easter.

 kidsinthegarden 001

The willow whips look like lifeless flexible stems, but they will root easily when put into weed free ground.  All willows like water so if the ground is poor you can incorporate some free draining grit or other moisture retentive material.  Once planted keep the willow whips watered.  The first years’ growth will be rapid from 3ft to 9ft.  In subsequent years prune annually to control growth.

Your willow structure will look good even in the winter.   For the inside and/or around the den you can add a layer of soft cocoa shells, play bark or amenity bark.  Some suppliers provide mulch mats with their kits to prevent weed growth.   They are a really good idea. The smallest wigwam available is about 5ft in diameter and 4 ft high.

willow wigwamGrow your own Willow Den

For a step by step guide to creating a living willow den see how we planted our willow wigwam and how it looked at the end of the growing season

Check out the following websites to see what is on offer:-

World of Willow

English Willow Baskets

Living Willow Kit

Out to Learn Willow




We used the book Living Willow Sculpture by Jon Warnes to help us build our willow wigwam.  Click on image to see prices from Amazon.

Living Willow Sculpture

If you want to take a look locally at what you could create pop over to our pinterest page or try your local infant school.  Many have willow structures in their school garden or playground.


If you are reading this in April, May and June too late for a willow structure this year then why not grow the children a runner bean teepee.