How to: making a tepee for creeper plants

Children love building, so giving them a garden project that will allow them to have a living tepee in their garden is sure to spark their interest. If you make the tepee large enough, they’ll be able to enjoy summer hideaways with their friends within its leaf-growing ‘walls’.

What you’ll need:

8 bamboo poles (3 metres each)
20 metres nylon cord
1 bag compost
24 seeds or seedlings of your choice (runner beans, Chinese jasmine, or climbing nasturtium will work well for this)

Planning your space:

Find an area in your garden that will allow for a 2.5m diameter tepee. Mark the centre of this circle with a stone and cut a length of rope to 1.25m to measure out 8 points this distance from the centre for marking where the poles will be inserted, in an equidistant circular format. Dig up the soil on the outside edge of each of these marked spots, mixing in some compost to enrich the soil for planting.

Setting up the structure:

Tie the first two poles together with nylon cord, 30cm from the top. Separate the opposite ends and dig these two ends into opposite sides of your tepee circle, in two of the eight marked points. Make sure you dig these poles at least 15cm into the ground to ensure stability.

Now, with the help of your ladder, insert each of the other six poles in the other six spots you marked in the ground, tying each one at a time to the apex, connecting them to the first two poles you tied together. Now, at 30cm intervals, from top to bottom, tie cord around the tepee to ensure stability from wind and busy bodies, keeping one gap free of rope, allowing it to form a ‘doorway’ to enter the structure.

Planting your seeds:

Plants three seeds at the base of every pole where you dug in the compost. Water well and tend as normal. When stems begin to appear, gently tie them to the pole to train the plants upwards. When covered in greenery, your tepee will become a unique summer clubhouse for your children. With Chinese jasmine, this will be a heavenly smelling space too. And runner beans will offer an abundant opportunity for children to harvest their own beans. Playing in the garden will instantly take on new meaning, offering endless childhood memories.

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