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Back-to-Basics | Building Fences and garden supports using sticks and small logs

Updated on May 14, 2013
Post and rail fence.
Post and rail fence.
Grape Arbor made from cedar post.
Grape Arbor made from cedar post.
A pig pen fence using random length sticks.
A pig pen fence using random length sticks.
Chicken coop and pen made very uniform.
Chicken coop and pen made very uniform.
Post and rail fence.
Post and rail fence.
Cross over ladder takes the place of gates.
Cross over ladder takes the place of gates.
Split rail fence.
Split rail fence.
Garden Supports
Garden Supports

These low cost and low maintenance natural wood fences might be a good option.

We found all types of farm and garden fences and supports made from just sticks and small logs.

Think about how the early settlers carved out a living and life in the wild unsettled territories using only available natural resources.

They packed what they could carry or haul in a wagon and settled to raise crops and a family.

Most everything had to be made from the natural resources that they found when they arrived.

Those early settlers used sticks and logs to build supports for all types of gardening needs and fences for livestock.

This use of natural resources is just as obtainable today as it was back then.

We now have better tools to harvest and prepare the wood more quickly.

We are not talking about building log cabins. Just more simple structures to support garden plants and keep the chickens and livestock in their place.

Using only natural resources instead of buying commercial made products is a green approach to clearing out unwanted brush.

It does require some integrity in using a tape measure and a uniform building style so that the finished product will look good and not tacky.

It also requires a lot more labor. But, if you have the time or if you are already paying to clear out brush anyway, why not repurpose those trees and brush into practical fences and supports.

The grape arbor in the picture was made from cedar post. Cedar and locust post are some of the most rot and insect resistant for direct burial in the ground.

Osage Orange trees also make good post for direct burial but they grow so crooked it’s difficult to cut out a straight post much over the length of a fence post.

If you don’t have the resources available on your property look around your area. Unless you are just in a place where no trees grow, many land owners will be very happy to have someone clear out the small trees and brush that will make perfect garden supports and fences.

Green willow tree branches can be bent, shaped and woven into interesting panels and designs. Tall sprouts from other aggressive growing trees make perfect uprights either as a garden support or wired together to make a fence.

Some planning and a system to cut each stick uniform in length will give a nice natural appearance for most back yard settings.

Without this approach your stick fence might look a bit tacky as if you went and stacked up a bunch of brush.

The picture of the chicken coop shows that the constructor went to considerable detail to measure and cut the sticks just as they would of done using regular lumber.

The picture of the pig pen, well it’s a peg pin, it looks like someone just nailed a bunch of random sticks together and to make the pen. It works but nothing to brag about.

Most of the sticks are wired together or nailed in to place. The split rail post are either stacked in a zig -zag format, which is a self sustaining structure.

This type of fence was commonly used where locus and other easy splitting tree woods could be found.

The fence last for years, but does take up a lot more space than a straight fence. It is also more difficult to mow and maintain weed control because it doesn’t flow in a straight line.

The straight split rail fence or post fence uses two post side by side in the ground with short cross braces. The rails are then stacked on to the cross braces.

In making grape arbors and garden trellises, planning and using the “Y” from the natural branch growth will give stronger supports to attach cross post beams.

For garden supports the typical teepee tripod frame works well for cucumbers, while the rail and post system works better on pole beans.

Tomato support cages can be as simple as one post next to the plants or a small tripod or four legged structure.

Pictures courtesy of Cottage Craft Works .com Back-to-Basics General Store.


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    • Deborah Minter profile image

      Deborah Minter 

      22 months ago from U.S, California

      Wonderful article!


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