Grow Your Own Garden Chair

By Lisa Winkler

Looking for naturalistic furniture for your garden? Richard Reames of Arborsmith Studios in Oregon has just the answer for you. Reames trains and prunes young living trees into chairs, benches, and sculptures. Axel Erlandson's 1947 Tree Circus caught Reames's imagination with its collection of trees trained into circus figures. Reames himself has now mastered the art of arborsculpture (tree trunk topiary) and since 1992 has installed his tree sculptures throughout the world. He selects the site, designs the sculpture, grows the saplings, plants the trees, and provides additional visits for training and pruning. After approximately five years, the arborsculpture is complete and needs only annual pruning. Each chair is made from about 12 saplings and will support most adults within two years.

To commission an arborsculpture or order Reames's book How to Grow a Chair, The Art of Tree Trunk Topiary (Arborsmith Studios, 1995; $18), which includes instructions, call (541) 846-7188 or visit the Web site at

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