Salvaged Trees Become Living-Roof Garden Arbor

Jeremy Harper is used to making something out of nothing. For 20 years he has worked as an arborist and site clearer which has taken him across the United Kingdom, often repurposing would-be waste materials and giving them a new lease of life. But he admits that he has surprised himself with a personal project to build a living arbor in the garden of his family home in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England.

“The idea came from a trip through Norway and Iceland where my wife and I saw quite a few green roof structures on sheds and buildings,” he said. “It triggered an idea that I wanted one at home.” Taking that seed of an idea through to delivery didn’t involve a great deal of planning, Jeremy admits.

“It was my first attempt at creating something like this in the garden and we made space by removing our grandchildren’s play equipment then writing down a few rough dimensions on some scrap paper. I looked at the size I wanted and decided upon 8-inch by 8-inch uprights and 4-inch by 2-inch joists.”

He was contracted to a demolished industrial unit to tidy up and preserve the remaining trees. A Leylandii hedge (a fast-growing evergreen) was left and rather than chopping it up for firewood, he decided to mill it down to the size required for the arbor. “I wanted something that looked dramatic so we went for the largest squares we could and everything was selected from the bigger poles. The joists were cut down from what was left.”

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