Making a children’s teepee in the garden

children’s play teepee

N.B. This idea isn’t my own! I pinched it off Garden Answer and I recommend giving their video a watch here

We have a really awkward waste of space in our garden behind the garage. It was originally a patch of grass, which didn’t last too long as we temporarily stored our bins there. It’s too small a space to pop a decent sized shed there, and not enough sun for a little greenhouse. For the last couple of years it’s been my daughter’s garden, but this year it was hugely over taken by weeds and nettles. I quite fancied putting in a kids den of some description, and when I saw this video by Garden Answer on YouTube, I thought this blank space was probably the perfect spot for a little teepee. 

Blank garden patch

My dad and I (ok, mostly my dad) cleared out the space over the weekend, and I ordered all my materials online. I found a bundle of 10 bamboo canes (8ft) on Amazon, some garden twine, and some zip ties, and that’s all I bought. You don’t have to use bamboo, you could use any sticks or branches you have, but we didn’t have any materials lying around we could utilise. The canes arrived today, and as the weather was lovely, I was straight outside to put everything together.

I started by roughly raking the space flat. Once I’d done that I “borrowed” a couple of sticks my children have brought home from various walks and trips to the woods. I tied them together with string, and stuck the first stick roughly in the centre of my piece of ground, so I could use them as a makeshift compass. I had to retie the second stick a couple of times to get it the right distance from the centre so the teepee would be the size I wanted. 

DIY compass
If you’re able, I’d place the first stick in the centre, and leave the 2nd stick free to draw a circle into the ground. My ground was clumpy, stoney and not very smooth so I just used the second stick to make little holes where I thought I wanted to place my canes, as shown in the photo above. The top stick is the stationary, central point. I kept the string taut and moved the bottom right stick around in a circle, making little holes where I wanted them.

You could be really accurate and measure things out but I didn’t bother and did it by eye. I firstly decided where my doorway was going to be, and put the canes in for that. When I was happy with the width of the doorway I interspersed  the other canes at regular intervals around the circle. Luckily, we’ve had a lot of wet weather so my ground was very soft. I just stuck the canes into the ground as far as I could at a slight angle until I was left with this. 

Half constructed garden teepee
If your ground is more solid than mine you may have to work harder and dig holes for the canes. Alternatively, the guys in the Garden Answer video used a bulb auger attachment for their drill. 

Using a step to reach the top, I bundled the canes together and fastened them with a few white cable ties.

Fasten bamboo canes with cable ties
Before snipping the untidy ends off the cable ties, I walked round the whole structure making sure the canes were pushed down firmly into the ground, and I stamped around the base of each cane to compact the soil a little. Once I cut off the ends of the plastic cable ties, I wrapped a lot of garden twine around the top to both cover up the ties and secure the bamboo canes.   

Finally, I used the garden twine to make a trellis system around the canes, remembering to leave an opening at the front for the kids to get in and out of. 

Bamboo cane kids teepee
I’m really pleased with the finished teepee. It seems pretty secure, but we do get a lot of wind around us so we’ll see how it holds up in our next storm! You could just decorate your teepee with fairy lights and bunting, but I think we’ll grow things up ours. I’m currently looking at vines and runner beans, but I’ll keep you updated and let you know what we decide. 

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Have you, or your children, built a den or a teepee in your garden? I’d love to see a photo or hear about it. Let me know in the comments, or share a photo to my Facebook page where there’s a thread about this teepee.  
      

Children’s teepee


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