New bonsai grow area: share your insights

Lars Grimm

Chumono
Messages
678
Reaction score
1,095
Location
Durham, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7
Hi All,

I am moving into a new house in July. This will include a much larger area for my bonsai, roughly 30 feet long by about 20 feet wide against the corner of the fence. This is a total blank canvas and I can do whatever I want with it. If you had to redo your bonsai setup, what would you have done differently? I am leaning towards two tiered benches against the fence. I am debating monkey pools running in parallel to show off some of my nicer/larger trees, or having perpendicular benches running at right angles (shaped like an 'E') to maximize space and make it easier to run an irrigation setup. Any general feedback or lessons learned would be helpful. I'll post some drawings later.

Thanks,
Lars
 

Wires_Guy_wires

Masterpiece
Messages
2,410
Reaction score
3,384
Location
Netherlands
If I had a free choice of design, I think I'd go with two opposing C-shaped benches and a comfortable chair in the center. Build them in layers like an arena.
Surrounded by a tiny forest of cheering trees for the only gladiator with a scissor. Something like that.

The E shapes are maximizing space, but visually and mentally uncomfortable to me: you can see trees and not be able to walk up to them without taking a corner. Somehow that little walk is going to feel like a chore, and one day you'll want to cut corners, lose balance and bump a tree of the bench. I'm like that at least. It happened to me more than once. Not with trees but with antiques that weren't mine.

That's my take on it. But I think that whatever you decide, will work just fine.
 

zelk

Shohin
Messages
408
Reaction score
298
Location
San DIego
USDA Zone
10a
Think about where you want your hose to be to minimize any annoyance from going around corners. Consider the side of the yard with the longest photoperiod and maximize its functionality if that is important for some of the species that you grow.
 

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
24,281
Reaction score
32,277
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
Think about where you want your hose to be to minimize any annoyance from going around corners
Wise!

My thing is easily being able to walk around the back of them. For easy full inspection.

Keeping them high enough to see underleaves is also good for pest inspection.
Then you also don't have to crouch or move them to spray up under the leaves for pest blasting.

Gutters on top to gather watering water and drip it gently to trees below could also save water and watering time.

Keep Nursery potted trees with the nasty green balls at the bottom so watering them doesnt calcify your pots/foliage below.

Sorce
 

Lars Grimm

Chumono
Messages
678
Reaction score
1,095
Location
Durham, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7
If I had a free choice of design, I think I'd go with two opposing C-shaped benches and a comfortable chair in the center. Build them in layers like an arena.
Surrounded by a tiny forest of cheering trees for the only gladiator with a scissor. Something like that.
That sounds epic!!
 

Lars Grimm

Chumono
Messages
678
Reaction score
1,095
Location
Durham, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7
Wise!

My thing is easily being able to walk around the back of them. For easy full inspection.

Keeping them high enough to see underleaves is also good for pest inspection.
Then you also don't have to crouch or move them to spray up under the leaves for pest blasting.

Gutters on top to gather watering water and drip it gently to trees below could also save water and watering time.

Keep Nursery potted trees with the nasty green balls at the bottom so watering them doesnt calcify your pots/foliage below.

Sorce
This is some really good practical advice. I think going with a selection of monkey poles or free standing benches would be especially helpful for my bigger trees.
 

TomB

Chumono
Messages
712
Reaction score
3,595
Location
S.E. UK
My thoughts if useful:

Word of warning about C and E shapes - you can lose a lot of space in the corners, where it's difficult to get at trees.
I'd be looking at parallel rows of benches if possible, ideally accessible from both sides so you can have trees 'back to back'. Try to make it tiered as you suggest to maximise use of space. Monkey poles look good IF you have the space, but you'll get more trees per square foot on regular benches. Running an irrigation system is also easier with benches.
Certainly think about sun exposure and shade as required for your trees.
Think about having shelving under the benches, for storage (I have firewood under some of mine), pots, watering cans, shade-loving plants etc. If you need winter shelter in your location, think about whether you could do that under the benches.
 
Last edited:

sorce

Nonsense Rascal
Messages
24,281
Reaction score
32,277
Location
Berwyn, Il
USDA Zone
6.2
This is some really good practical advice. I think going with a selection of monkey poles or free standing benches would be especially helpful for my bigger trees.
I been looking to build some steel benches since we have a lot of good scrap. ..
Could make Stainless Colanders and such.

Anyway...this got me to thinking.....

Monkey poles that are a 2inch square tube...
With a nut welded to the hollow center..
And the tree on a plate welded to a threaded rod beneath.

This way you could spin your tree..
And raise it and lower it for inspection.

Like a shoring post for trees!

Belt driven Motorization later!

Spinning up till noon, and down till 6.

That's even growth!

Sorce
 

Lars Grimm

Chumono
Messages
678
Reaction score
1,095
Location
Durham, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7
I been looking to build some steel benches since we have a lot of good scrap. ..
Could make Stainless Colanders and such.

Anyway...this got me to thinking.....

Monkey poles that are a 2inch square tube...
With a nut welded to the hollow center..
And the tree on a plate welded to a threaded rod beneath.

This way you could spin your tree..
And raise it and lower it for inspection.

Like a shoring post for trees!

Belt driven Motorization later!

Spinning up till noon, and down till 6.

That's even growth!

Sorce
That's some outside the box thinking. I am going to be using some Pennsylvania blue stone for the garden walkway so I was thinking about using that as the top for some of my posts. It would look really nice and clean.
 

Lars Grimm

Chumono
Messages
678
Reaction score
1,095
Location
Durham, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7
My thoughts if useful:

Word of warning about C and E shapes - you can lose a lot of space in the corners, where it's difficult to get at trees.
I'd be looking at parallel rows of benches if possible, ideally accessible from both sides so you can have trees 'back to back'. Try to make it tiered as you suggest to maximise use of space. Monkey poles look good IF you have the space, but you'll get more trees per square foot on regular benches. Running an irrigation system is also easier with benches.
Certainly think about sun exposure and shade as required for your trees.
Think about having shelving under the benches, for storage (I have firewood under some of mine), pots, watering cans, shade-loving plants etc. If you need winter shelter in your location, think about whether you could do that under the benches.
I have been thinking about ways to combine my benches with some paneling to double as winter storage, essentially a constructed greenhouse. I don't have enough space for a separate free standing structure.
 

Lars Grimm

Chumono
Messages
678
Reaction score
1,095
Location
Durham, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7
Has anyone considered using reclaimed barnwood for benches? It has a great aged look and patina. I imagine it would require some sealant to prevent water damage.
 

Johnathan

Chumono
Messages
904
Reaction score
911
Location
Oklahoma City, OK
If I had a free choice of design, I think I'd go with two opposing C-shaped benches and a comfortable chair in the center. Build them in layers like an arena.
Surrounded by a tiny forest of cheering trees for the only gladiator with a scissor. Something like that.
Best description ever.
 

Wires_Guy_wires

Masterpiece
Messages
2,410
Reaction score
3,384
Location
Netherlands
Thanks @Johnathan !

Has anyone considered using reclaimed barnwood for benches? It has a great aged look and patina. I imagine it would require some sealant to prevent water damage.
Barnwood no, but only because our barns are plastic or concrete or metal. I have seen a lot of used pallets though. And the boards construction workers use in their .. scaffolds? Is that the word?
Usually that scaffold wood is so full of concrete remains and plaster that fungi and bacteria can't get a good grip on it. But don't challenge them, they will try to prove me wrong. Seal it up!
 
D

Deleted member 21616

Guest
@Lars Grimm any progress? any plans for irrigation? what types of trees to do you have? Have you thought about shade? I am asking because i have a south-facing yard that gets direct sunlight all morning and afternoon. i only have maples. Shade, and a system for afternoon watering while I am at work, are at the top of my concerns. I got away with it this year, but I need a better plan for next year. curious if you have made any developments on this?
 

Lars Grimm

Chumono
Messages
678
Reaction score
1,095
Location
Durham, North Carolina
USDA Zone
7
@Lars Grimm any progress? any plans for irrigation? what types of trees to do you have? Have you thought about shade? I am asking because i have a south-facing yard that gets direct sunlight all morning and afternoon. i only have maples. Shade, and a system for afternoon watering while I am at work, are at the top of my concerns. I got away with it this year, but I need a better plan for next year. curious if you have made any developments on this?
We just moved into the house last month. I have sited out my grow area but am waiting on a shed to be delivered before deciding how to arrange my benches. My plan is to slowly build everything up over the winter.
 

Cofga

Omono
Messages
1,077
Reaction score
984
Location
Western NC
USDA Zone
7a
Make sure you have a combination of the right sun exposure for your bonsai and those you hope to acquire unless you plan on buidling a shade structure for your tender trees or have too much shade for your pines and spruce, etc. Also don’t forget to consider the future growth of trees in your yard and your neightbors’. All too often this is an afterthought or in my case the trees have filled in and my full sun areas are now only part sun.
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
Clicio I'll not grow bonsai anymore. Maples 35
Culper Woodhull Grow lamp for Fukien Tea/Carmona Bonsai? Tropicals 15
erb.75 making your bonsai club grow General Discussion 38
SeaBucket can bonsai grow on top of petrified wood New to Bonsai 8
T jasmine tree in grow bag ready to bonsai, should i use training pot first? New to Bonsai 1
J New to Bonsai, looking to grow from Seeds New to Bonsai 13
S new to bonsai, wanting to grow from seed New to Bonsai 10
C Very confused wrt Peter Adams's 'Bonsai w/Japanese Maples' Maples 12
N Pre bonsai plants, now what... General Discussion 4
Bittenfox What kind of Bonsai is this? New to Bonsai 5
coh Spring at the International Bonsai Arboretum (William Valavanis) General Discussion 6
P Bonsai courses General Discussion 3
J Unknown Bonsai General Discussion 6
J New Bonsai Owner seeking help to identify/care for injured plants New to Bonsai 3
K I think it's a Juniper Bonsai New to Bonsai 8
bonsaibp Nine days left to apply for $1000 to study bonsai General Discussion 1
bonsaiDerek moving from wisconsin to minnesota.... how to move the bonsai General Discussion 16
C Source for large inexpensive bonsai pots: Bay Area Pots 11
Peter44 Tiny Roots Bonsai Soil General Discussion 1
Arlithrien A unique idea for a bonsai? General Discussion 2
Brian Van Fleet Kimura Masterclass on Bonsai Empire Vendor experiences 11
P My first Bonsai New to Bonsai 42
Katharsus Shou sugi ban/Yakisugi Bonsai Shelf. General Discussion 4
Werd2jah Fans of The Bonsai Zone?! General Discussion 1
Brian Van Fleet Alabama Bonsai Society 2020 (virtual) Spring Show Events, Exhibits & Outings 4
S New to bonsai- looking for any recommendations for good North American maples species? New to Bonsai 32
M Unidentified tree: Interesting bonsai? General Discussion 22
AaronThomas BEHOLD!!! THE MYSTERY OF BONSAI CARE SOLVED... (you are welcome) General Discussion 18
B Bonsai - Appraisal Help Tree selling 14
BonsaiSniper Kifu Bonsai experiences Vendor experiences 8
BonsaiSniper Elderberry Exposed Root Bonsai Other Deciduous 1
T I bought a 8 year old Ficus retusa bonsai New to Bonsai 9
B Acer "butterfly" can i bonsai this? New to Bonsai 8
B Japonica azalea possible bonsai ? New to Bonsai 13
B Advice for 1st time bonsai (chinese elm) New to Bonsai 11
Bonsai Nut Welcome to the Phoenix Bonsai Society club forum! Phoenix Bonsai Society 4
H Help with Podocarpus bonsai New to Bonsai 2
Forsoothe! Virtual Michign All-State Bonsai Show Events, Exhibits & Outings 5
Woocash From seed to bonsai General Discussion 68
cedarcanvas World Bonsai Day—How are you celebrating? General Discussion 9
W3rk World Bonsai Day - National Bonsai Foundation Celebration and Resources. General Discussion 1
Forsoothe! 2020 Vitual All-State Michigan Bonsai Show General Discussion 1
rockm Bonsai and Penjing Museum homepage takeover Events, Exhibits & Outings 1
B Help! My bonsai is dying- I think it has a fungal infection?? General Discussion 4
yenling83 Bonsai Heresy General Discussion 34
ghues Bonsai Pit Reno, General Discussion 1
J Is My Juniper Bonsai Ok? Junipers 8
M Chinese elm bonsai in Japan. General Discussion 0
Cadillactaste Bonsai two stepping... General Discussion 107
J help with fukien tea bonsai Flowering 3
Similar threads


















































Top Bottom