Tree roots, broken limbs and drift wood can be used to make a whole lot of magic in your garden. Our G.I. Joe root was secured after a local business excavated a tree on their lot. The root was going to be composted so we asked if we could have it. They were happy to get that hog off their hands for free. Here are a few more ideas:

Buying Wood

One of the advantages of buying wood, is that you can look the pieces, see if you think it would work and make an offer.  Authentic wood pieces of all shapes and sizes can be bought from Amazon, craft and hobby shops, antique or souvenir shops, aquarium shops, at flea markets, Craigslist, on eBay, and at many other online stores. But these pieces can be pricy and if you buy them online, they are typically pretty heavy and shipping can cost a fortune.

Finding Wood

You are going to need to hunt for wood and cool bark.

  • Driftwood is most often found on the edge of lakes, riverbanks or beaches (duh, next to the water). The best time to find driftwood is in the morning when things were washed in overnight, late afternoon after traffic on the water has pushed debris to the edges, or after a storm. If you are on the ocean, lowtide times of day provide the best opportunity to find wooded treasure.
  • Cool branches and bark. After a wind or rain storm is best. The debris will be scattered all over the yard, street or event in parks where there are huge trees.
  • Roots, stumps and tree trunk slices. These can be found by calling tree trimming services and asking if they have any on their lots or where the take their composting too. The may not have any immediately, but if they know you are looking for them, many have extra stuff laying around on their lot. Roots that are pulled may need to have pieces cut off, sharp parts of the root or long stringy roots. Ideally a hedge clipper can do that, but you might need a chainsaw if the diameter is too large for your own garden tools.
Getting It Home and Taking Care of It

Put plastic down in your car and use gloves to pick it up, edges can be sharp and the dirt makes it slippery. Remember you might need a second person to help with any movement of the wood. These wood pieces can be very heavy and awkwardly shaped for carrying. We did not clean ours with anything besides water. We did not want any chemicals on it with the kids playing on it.

Have Fun

Most importantly, have a great time. You want to stay safe, stay with an adult, and then just let the magic happen. We find that our grandkids have now got the best eye for really cool stuff on our walks. Enjoy.