Garden DIY: Building a brushwood fence
I wanted a natural-looking fence in my garden and brushwood seemed like the perfect choice. I really recommend it!
The old wooden fence that sectioned off the warmest part of the kitchen garden started looking really worse for wear last winter. The wind has been blowing hard on the boards and it was time to replace the fence with something new. My children and I took it down in spring. The original idea was to put up a similar, but slightly lower fence in the same spot.
The only problem with that idea is of course that we would need to replace that fence too in just a few years. So, I tried thinking of something else.
My brushwood fence
I had been dreaming about getting one of those simple brushwood fences that create a type of natural-looking barrier in your garden. A combination of compost pile and fence, that is. The first time I saw one of these fences was at my friends Birgar and Maria's place. My friends Friederike and Sven did something similar in their kitchen garden, and it just looks so lovely! Unfortunately, I didn't have enough brushwood in my own garden to get started right away.
Read more about growing in compost here: Growing vegetables in compost
But then one day, I went to visit Gunnar in the neighboring village. He had a kind of brushwood fence in his garden, made with weeds too. Like a large wall, almost. This is exactly what I needed to see. There were all kinds of twigs and weeds in there. Everything from old raspberry bushes to Jerusalem artichoke stems and much more. Not only twigs from trees, that is. I didn't know you could do it like that! That's when I decided.
Quick to build
Unfortunately, our friend who works at the sawmill had just destroyed a bunch of boards that we might have been able to use for our fence posts. Instead, we decided to go for regular impregnated posts, around 2.3 inches in diameter. After we posted our progress on Instagram and Facebook, a man from the village actually came to drop of a whole trailer filled with old brushwood that we could use. Wonderful!
We gave our oldest kids a few coins to help me and my husband Philip with the posts. We placed them around 3.4 feet (1 meters) apart, and the second row were placed half that distance apart.
The brushwood is not that tightly packed right now, the layers are quite airy really. I'm guessing that it will start to compress the more brushwood I use.
Easy to build
The kitchen garden got a completely new look when we built the fence. It just looks so nice! And it didn't even take that long to make, no more than an hour when the whole family helped out.
This type of fence helps protect the garden against hard winds , even though the brushwood fence does allow some air to come through of course. This area is also protected by a stone wall, which makes this the warmest spot in my garden. Perfect for so many of the vegetables that I want to grow outdoors!
I can put basically anything on this pile now. Any weeds will dry out quickly in this warm and airy spot, and I can simply add any old brushwood on top. The material will shrink as time go by, and I'm counting on using this spot to grow vegetables too. I can put pots in there, or even grow plants straight in the material. One of my followers on Instagram suggested that I grow roses horizontally across the material. I can't wait to try it! But I will wait until I build my second fence somewhere else in my garden.
I think my brushwood fence looks lovely! What do you think?
Thanks for the inspiration! I have an endless supply of brush and just the place in need of a fence. I'm starting it today.
I would love to do this in our partially wooded lot, as we have about 30 years' worth of old brush and branches to clean up. Such a great idea to create a naturally composting fence! Additionally, if our current brush piles are anything to go by, it will become a safe habitat for hundreds of little creatures.
One question though: how deep did you bury your support posts? I was thinking somewhere between 1-2 feet?