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Decorative Bamboo for the Garden

Martha Stewart Living Television

Bamboo often resembles trees, but is actually a kind of grass. Many bamboo species have woody tissue that is strong and flexible, making it an ideal building material, as well as a good choice for a decorative addition to a garden or landscape.

Bamboo Path
Narrow strips of split bamboo can be arched into hoops and driven into the ground to line a pathway to a garden area. To make the strips, use a six-way splitter, a tool that looks like a giant apple corer. The splitter is inserted into the end of a piece of bamboo timber and tapped downward. The blades slide easily through the woody tissue, meeting just a bit of resistance at the nodes, until they have cut through the entire piece of bamboo. The result is six long, narrow bamboo strips with smooth, even edges. Points can then be cut in the ends of the pieces, allowing them to be easily driven into the ground.

Bamboo Fence
Bamboo posts can also be used to make fences, which are great for dividing and designating spaces in a garden. The trick is tying horizontal bamboo pieces to vertical fence posts made of eastern white cedar. The horizontal pieces are secured with nails, then tied with twine. As you lash the crosspieces to the posts, crisscross the twine, then tie a knot in front. Each knot is tied the same way, with the loop on the same side, to create an orderly visual pattern. The result is an attractive, natural fence that clearly marks boundaries within the garden.