A DIY tepee plant cover: a stylish way to protect your flowers and plants from the frost

A tepee-style plant cover on a lawn, with a plant inside.
A tepee-style plant cover protects a rose plant against the elements.

  • Difficulty
    easy
  • Cost
    < 50 £
  • Duration
    1-3 h

Let’s be honest: most plant covers for balconies, patios and gardens don’t look that great. So why not make a tepee to protect your roses or hydrangea from the frost, instead? Teepees are not just great fun for children and animals to play in, they're also perfect for your most sensitive plants and flowers. And with our instructions, you can make your own one in just under an hour.

You need
Utilities
  • face mask
  • safety glasses
  • tape measure
  • screw clamps
  • pencil
Materials
  • 6 wooden slats or rods: min. 12 mm in thickness (the length of the rods depends on the height and diameter of your plant)
  • Waterproof rope, e.g. sailing rope: approx. 1.2 metres in length
  • Sturdy fabric, e.g. twill: approx. 1.5 x 1.5 m (L x W)
  • Sprayable clear varnish, suitable for use outdoors
  • Waterproofing spray
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 5

Drill holes in the wooden rods

Four round rods each marked up with a pencil.
Mark the position of the holes on the wood
Use a drill to make a hole in each rod.
To prevent the rods from slipping when you’re drilling, it’s best to fix them to your work bench or table with screw clamps
Holes are drilled in the wooden rods.
After drilling the holes, you can sand down the rods if needed

You need: Cordless combi drill, Multi-sander, screw clamps, pencil, tape measure, 6 wooden slats or rods

The rods will be tied together with rope that you thread through them. To make the holes, first use a pencil and ruler to mark them up. The height of the holes will depend on how big you want your tepee-style plant cover to be and/or how much you want it to fan out. To make sure the tepee is sturdy, you should leave at least 10 cm between the holes and the end of the rods. The size of the holes should be based on the diameter of the rope you’re using (the rope needs to fit through the holes). Before you start drilling, clamp down the slats or rods with the screw clamps to prevent them from slipping. Now drill down through the centre of each rod. If the hole isn’t clean, you can sand it down with a multi-sander and sanding sheet (120 grit) or an abrasive sponge.

 

Step 2 5

Finish the wooden rods

Six drilled rods are sprayed with a finish.
Spray the finish from around 20 cm away

You need: face mask, Sprayable clear varnish, suitable for use outdoors

To make the rods weather-proof, spray them with a waterproof clear finish – after all, you want your plant cover to last the whole winter. Using the can or the spray system, spray the finish on the rods from around 20 cm away. Don’t forget the ends! It’s best to use a face mask when doing this. You could also wear disposable gloves to protect your hands. Then leave the rods to dry thoroughly; you’ll find information on drying times on the spray can.

Tip
INSIDER TIP

Before coating the rods with the finish, you might also want to use a medium-grit abrasive sponge on them. This will help make the finish better.

Step 3 5

Thread the rope through the holes and tie it in knots

Six wooden rods lying side by side on a wooden pallet, with a red rope threaded through them.
Tie two knots in the rope between each rod

You need: waterproof rope

Once your rods are dry, you can tie them together. Thread the rope through the first hole and pull on it until only around 15 cm sticks out. Tie one knot before the hole and two after it. Then thread the rope through the next hole and, again, tie two knots in it. Continue until you have threaded the rope through all six rods, then tie one final knot. You should be left with one longer piece of rope.

Step 4 5

Cut the fabric and waterproof it

A piece of fabric with one corner cut off, lying on a pallet
Cut the fabric into the shape of a hexagon by cutting along five lines of equal length.

You need: DIY Power tools, pencil, ruler, fabric

To avoid too much material trailing on the ground, cut some off the bottom edge of the fabric. Then mark out a hexagon shape with a ruler and pencil (so you’ll need to draw five sides of equal length). These should be the same length as the distance between the bottoms of the tepee rods on the ground.

Step 5 5

Now to make your tepee

The frame for a tepee over a rose plant, on a lawn.
Position the rods for your plant cover over the flower or plant that you want to protect.
A tepee-style plant cover on a lawn, with a plant inside.
Drape the fabric over the wooden rods.
The fabric is attached to a rod using a Bosch hot glue gun.
Stick the fabric to the frame, rod by rod
Some hot glue is applied to a piece of fabric.
Once you reach the last rod, attach the rest of the fabric to the fabric on the first rod to close your tepee.
A tepee-style plant cover on a lawn.
Once you’ve wrapped around the fabric and attached it to the rods, your plant cover is complete!

Now it’s time to make your tepee and attach the fabric to it. First twist the rods in the same way you would twist spaghetti in a pan. Position the rods over the plant or flower that you want to protect. Then take the hot glue gun and insert a stick. While it’s heating, drape the fabric over the frame, with the right side facing outwards. Now apply the glue along one rod, from top to bottom. Press the fabric on to the rod for 30 to 60 seconds, until the glue is dry. Repeat this step on each rod. On the final rod, glue down the fabric firmly again and attach any remaining fabric to the fabric on the first rod.

Now your tepee-style plant cover is all ready!

Tip
INSIDER TIP

As you can see from the photos, our version of the plant cover has a gap at the front – almost like the entrance to a tent. When it gets very cold (below -10°C), you should close this gap – for example, by piling up wood mulch. Or, in step 5, you could stick a triangular piece of fabric to the two tepee rods that later form the entrance, then attach the larger piece of fabric, which you cut in step 4, on top of that.