I wanted a charming hideaway for our 2 kids without building a massive play structure. What we ended up building was a tee pee big enough for 2 kids and their imaginations. I love it because the look fits with the natural setting of our yard. It sits near the campfire ring and the sand box and it features some beautiful climbing plants. The kids love it because it's whimsical and will offer them a great hideaway. To make your own tee pee you only need 12 -15 foot long poles (we used small young ash trees), gardening twine, and a few climbing plants. I found our poles growing in a wooded area on my parents property. If you don't have a wooded lot ask around...
First, lay (or lie hmmm...) your poles out so that the bottoms meet. Your poles do not need to be the same length and actually look better if they vary in length and width. I would recommend taking the time to prune off the branches and leaves.
Next, loosly tie the top of the poles together. You can do this on the ground before you upright the tee pee. Tying the twine loosely allows you to place your poles in the best position while keeping them in a tee pee formation.
Once you have them tied together, you're ready to upright the tee pee. This is a great time to grab a friend or neighbor for extra help! Work with the natural bend and curves of the poles to find the best position along with the space you have to find the area of your tee pee. We had a small area to work with and chose to put it in our bark bed to avoid having to mow under it.
Next, dig holes from 6-12 inches deep to bury each of your poles into. This will give your tee pee extra stability.
To add even more stability, use a ladder to reach the top of your tee pee and re-tie the posts together. Weave between and around posts to create a tight web of twine.
At this point the basic frame of your tee pee is complete. You could plant climbing plants and call it a day....or, you can use more twine to add grid lines between your poles for the vines to grow on. We want a completely covered tee pee and so we chose to add twine to encourage the climbing plants to cover it. When we did this we were careful to leave the bottom half between 2 poles open to create a door for the kids to scramble in and out of.
We also found that it worked well to go around each pole once before stringing the twine to the next pole. This way the twine will stay in place as it ages and weathers.
Time to plant! There are a lot of climbing plants to choose from. Make sure you pick a plant that will work well in your climate. At first, I planned on using a climbing bean plant but then decided to go with Dutchman's Pipe because it's a perennial (no need to replant each year), flowers, and loves to climb.
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