On a recent visit with our four-year-old nephews, we brought them to the Bay Area Discovery Museum and found ourselves enchanted by the giant maze and tunnel made from willow branches. That beautiful installation by Patrick Doughtery might be too large for most residential outdoor spaces, but we recently came across a local company that produces similar structures for gardens: The Willow Farm in Pescadero. Using willow branches grown sustainably on their farm, The Willow Farm creates furniture, tents, sculptural spheres, fencing, and tunnels like the one pictured in the garden above. See more after the jump...
The Willow Farm's creations have a rustic, organic look that could work just as beautifully in a cottage garden as in a sleek, contemporary outdoor space. Some of their structures (like the tunnel pictured in the fourth photo above) are actually living, and will continue to sprout greenery over the years. And because they grow such a large variety of willow, poplar, and alder species, their creations can include many different textures and colors.
Larger structures are of course quite pricey (you'll have to think of them as artwork—and imagine the work that goes into them!), but the smaller pieces, like furniture and screens, are more reasonable. A 48"x24" screen, for instance, costs $160. Unfortunately it looks as if right now they sell primarily to the trade, but you can contact them or visit their site for information about specific products.
(Images: The Willow Farm)