Lightweight bamboo serves many purposes around the garden.

Bamboo Pole Ideas for Gardens

by Kathy Adams

Bamboo poles have a multitude of uses around the garden for function and decor. This lightweight, sturdy wood can be used again and again for both temporary and semi-permanent garden structures, from trellises to benches and everything in between. Bamboo is so lightweight that the kids may be able to help build some of the garden structures with it. If stashed indoors during seasons when they are not in use, bamboo poles may be reusable for many years to come.

1. Custom Trellis

Bamboo poles are well-suited to just about any type of trellis, such as a flat grid or fan-style trellis. Draw your basic design on paper and then secure bamboo poles to one another, based on your drawing, with lashing cord or twine. For a grid-style trellis, horizontal space for climbing vines can be made from bamboo poles and they may be secured with cord or by tying bits of rope between vertical bamboo posts. A hole dug for each pole and then filled in after the poles are inserted secures the trellis in the ground. A hack saw allows you to cut poles to the desired lengths.

2. From Poles to Potting Bench

Bamboo poles create a simple tabletop surface for a homemade potting bench. You may use two sawhorses as the legs or use leftover kitchen cabinets as a storage base in an area that receives little rain. You may also use a metal table frame from an old glass-topped sofa table. Poles lined up over the top serve as the table surface; secure them to a sawhorse or table frame with lashing cord, or tack them down onto kitchen cabinets.

3. Teepee Time

Some plants, such as pole beans (Phaseolus vulgaris), thrive under a teepee-style structure that serves as a trellis. To make a teepee shape with bamboo poles, arrange five or six of the poles in a circle, softening the dirt where the bottom ends will be buried at least 8 inches deep. Lean the poles inward around the circle, allowing the tops to cross at least a few inches from their tips. Lashing cord or twine secures the tops together, while the bottom ends are buried in the dirt. Bits of twine or scrap bamboo pieces tied onto the structure provide horizontal climbing areas for the vines.

4. Pint-sized Planters

Wide bamboo poles may be cut down into short planters for an all-natural look. With a saw, cut one pole into pieces of different heights, from 12 inches down to four or five inches. Grouped together, the bamboo planters are tied with a bit of twine or raffia to keep them together. Bunch up a plastic bag and stuff it into the pole to help hold soil in each piece, or use hot glue to secure over the bottom opening a piece of plastic, for example, a disposable food container lid that has been cut to size. Poke a few holes in it first to allow for drainage. Succulents could sit in the planters, which you may fill to the top with dirt and small pebbles for a garden or patio planter grouping. The same bamboo grouping could also be used to house votive candle holders for a display near a garden seating area.

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