Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Garden structures - An oak and hazel panel

This summer, Martin and myself were asked to construct a hazel panel as part of a garden redesign. The hazel panel would attract the eye as you walked through the garden and screen a sloping section of wall behind it. It would also be used to support climbing plants.

We made a free standing 6ft x 6ft oak frame, bedded into the ground at a depth of 2ft. Martin had sourced a lovely straight green oak log just by chance for £50 from a local timber merchant and we set about splitting it with axes and wedges. It's a lot of fun and is surprisingly easy to do with a little welly!

We split the log into about eight sections, each sufficient for a post - or rail, choosing the lighter one for the top cross piece. By securing the pieces in the cleaving break we cleaned the faces of the oak posts up with a draw knife.

The frame was drilled and pegged together with dried oak wedges. Enough was left over for Martin to make a slatted bench too - albeit the most uncomfortable bench anyone could ever sit on (not my words!) and I made an oak planter.

The hazel for the panel came from Martins' new coppice at Manor Farm Burton Overy, Leicestershire. A yound wood planted only 11 years ago, - if you look back at previous blog posts you can see us coppicing the hazel last winter. I wove the hazel right to the top and we were done! What a nice job!

Around the rest of the garden I was asked to stake and bind a hedge planted around five years ago. The effect the owners wanted to achieve was to 'define' the garden with a boundary line. This worked well and set off the style of cottage planting. You can see this hedge on the right of this photo.

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