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How do you make a willow dome?

Isle of Wight, United Kingdom Gb

I have been planning a willow dome for ages and now is the time you need to buy the whips.

Which variety of Salix is best to use?
How many whips do you need?
What is the length of whip required?
How do you build the dome, ie weave it together?
Do you need to use a metal structure?
What do you use to tie the whips together?
How do you prune it?
Many thanks




Hi Andrea - I just googled willow domes and found several suppliers and a useful company who actually give instructions!

The species of willow recommended seems to be Salix viminalis. The website was

I hope this helps. Good luck with it!

12 Jan, 2009


We made one for the nursery class at the local school a few years ago. We ordered the willow from Musgrove Willow in Somerset. They were very helpful on the phone with the sort you would need and the lengths available. We made slits with a spade to about 6 inch depth and pushed the rods in and firmed back the slit with our heel. If you put them in at an angle (as in your photo) you can tie them together into shape. Keep them watered and weededthroughout the first spring and summer. Trim off any wayward growth as necessary or weave it in to thicken the structure.

12 Jan, 2009


my first one was small rooted cuttings. my last one was six foot lengths bent and weaved together. best to do it when not in
its fun and easy. my kids have done there own. there are some pictures on my pages.

12 Jan, 2009


Have a look at my willow dome on here Andrea. type it in on the search at the top of the page.

End of the year I trim off all the long new whips (usually about 6-9ft long) and then either build something or re plant somewhere else, just by stiking them in the soil.

I placed a membrane on the ground then positioned about 24 whips into the ground as if you were going around a clock face. (Remember though to leave room for a door way.)
I tied these at the top just to hold them together. I then planted all the other whips one by one in between the original 24, at a slight angle. Trying to give it a dimond type shape, about 45 deg. At the same time weaving it in and out of the original 24.

I initally tied these with green garden string but soon realised that they grow and swell quite quick, so I replaced it with the soft plastic ties. a bit like electrical wire sleve but without the wire.

Once it was all tied in and I was happy, I spread wood chippings on the floor, positioned a seat inside and sat there willing it to grow.

Low and behold in the spring lots of fresh new shoots.

One big tip. Wherever you get your willow from, once it has been delivered keep it in a bucket of water until you are ready to build your new house. Sorry dome.

Hope this helps.

12 Jan, 2009


I have plans to build something of this nature for Brooke in the near future, i have been doing a bit of research and the web site that Spritz has mentioned sells sets from around £40 all the willow you need for main suports and weavers and instructions on how to make it, my concern with doing it though is will it end up growing into a trees? or will the roots become a problem in time. it might sound silly, but i asked a question on here ages ago about willow fedgeing which i believe is done in the same way, but was strongly advised against it as the roots can be a problem, have any of you that have the domes had any problems like this?

12 Jan, 2009


my first willow structure is now ten foot tall and growing....yes they will end up with a big rootball so be carefull where you plant it.

13 Jan, 2009


How long have you had it Sandra? are they fast to do this? and also do they send out suckers? how easy is it to keep in shape? sorry to bomard you with questions like this,

13 Jan, 2009


the oldest one is 6-7 years old. i enjoy weaving in the new growth. some are very angular and exact which is good. mine are more organic in
the first years weaving was a bit of hit and miss. each year i seem to get a bit better at it. the first year i used loads of string to help hold it all together. this year i managed without the string.

13 Jan, 2009


thanks Sandra i really like the idea of doing one of these, but just a bit concerned about it getting out of control, i don't have a big garden, the place i want to build one is proberly approx 1.5m x 1.5m it is not near the house but will have surounding beds and borders. would you say it is a good idea or best try another option?

13 Jan, 2009


hi Andrea, like yourself am really thinking about making one of these, i have done some more research, i have been looking on this web site for a few weeks now, that suply everything you need to make a dome or ti-pi check this out

i have just had a really nice converstion with the guy over the phone, and he assures me that they do not take over the garden or sucker, they can get big and need pruning 2-3 times a year to keep in check, but if ever this becomes a problem you can remove them, without too much bother. The kit you get comes complete with instructions and he has many colours of twigg too, you can chose which ones you have or have a combination for really bright winter interest. you can also buy a seprate kit that gives you all the trimmings such as weed supresser etc. prices look really reasonable. and really helpful guy, think i'm going to go with it...thought this might be of interest to you.

13 Jan, 2009


i love mine and would have to go for it....:-))

don't let it dry out in the summer.....
photos please

13 Jan, 2009


no probs, i am going to do a blog or two on this 'little project' so you will get to see just how i get on! :o)

14 Jan, 2009


Thanks to everyone for the fantastic advice, looks like i will have to give it a go

14 Jan, 2009


I wish there a way to add questions to "favourites"! as it is, will have to save the url and try to find it later!

30 Mar, 2014

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