Willow, Reed or Bamboo – Which Fence Material Is Best For You?

Create a tropical escape in your backyard with willow, reed or bamboo fencing. These cost-effective fencing materials capture the beauty of nature to transform any exterior into a Tiki-themed paradise. There are dozens of colors and sizes to help you bring your vision to life.

Although willow, reed and bamboo have a similar aesthetic, they have unique features and advantages. The ideal option depends on your climate, budget and style preferences. This guide will explain the differences between these materials to help you choose the best fencing for your home or commercial space.

What’s the Difference Between Willow, Reed and Bamboo Fencing?

People often group willow, reed and bamboo together for their natural appearance. However, they grow from three different plants with unique benefits and applications. They vary in appearance, strength, price and other important factors that contribute to their functionality. It’s essential to consider the characteristics of each material before choosing one for your next project.

What Is Willow Fencing?

Branches from the willow plant are tightly woven together and secured with galvanized wire to create willow fencing. The eco-friendly barrier gives your outdoor space some privacy. The small spaces between the branches let the light pass through, so your yard looks light and airy. Check out these willow fencing product features:

  • Style: The natural material is the perfect backdrop to a tropical-themed patio or English garden.
  • Color: Natural willow is typically a medium brown shade. Over time, it may fade to a weathered gray in certain climates. Using a wood sealant can help preserve the original color. Carbonized willow is peeled and treated with high-pressure steam, and the finished product is a tan shade.
  • Affordability: Since willow fencing is thinner than bamboo, it’s typically more affordable. However, it costs more than reed fencing.
  • Versatility: Willow fencing is perfect for a wide range of interior or exterior projects. You can use it outside to outline your garden, pool or entire yard. It also looks excellent indoors to give your space a tropical vibe. Hang it on the wall or create dividers to define your home or commercial space.
  • Durability: Willow fencing can last up to 10 years with proper care, depending on the climate.

Benefits of Willow Fencing

Willow fencing is an excellent option for any interior or exterior project. There are many benefits to choosing this organic material:

1. Versatile Design

The natural wood tones of willow branches blend well with almost any aesthetic. Whether you have a bohemian, contemporary, French country, traditional or minimalist style, willow fencing will work with your existing decor.

2. Long Lifetime

Willow fencing can last 5 – 10 years in moderate climates — much longer than natural reed fencing.

3. Affordable Price

Willow fencing is a cost-effective alternative to bamboo, as it’s nearly half the price of colored bamboo fencing.

4. Simple Upkeep

In extreme weather, willow fencing can gradually unravel over time. To keep your fence tight and secure, simply check it once per year for any signs of sagging or loose branches. You can easily add extra staples or supports to keep up with your landscaping.

What Is Reed Fencing?

Reed fencing comes from freshwater reeds that grow along riverbanks and wetlands. They’re harvested, peeled and connected with vinyl-reed coated wire. Reed fencing is an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to traditional plastic or wood varieties. It looks similar to bamboo, except it’s much thinner. Even the jumbo variety is less than half the diameter of bamboo. Check out these unique product features:

  • Style: Reed fencing’s natural tones and textures lend well to a tropical yet sophisticated theme.
  • Color: Choose from natural or coffee-colored reed fencing to enhance your space.
  • Affordability: Reed fencing is extremely affordable. It’s a fraction of the cost of bamboo and willow.
  • Versatility: Reed fencing works perfectly in almost any space. Use it to outline your yard or decorate around your island-themed patio. Bring it indoors to give your home a pop of natural color and texture. The lightweight material also makes an excellent headboard for a coastal-inspired bedroom.

Benefits of Reed Fencing

There are many advantages to using reed fencing, including its visual appeal and functionality. Consider the following benefits:

1. Cost-Effective

If you have a limited budget or a large project requiring many materials, reed fencing is incredibly affordable.

2. Pest Resistant

Reed fencing is naturally resistant to termites and pests, making it even easier to take care of.

3. Lightweight

Reed fencing is incredibly lightweight, making installation a breeze. You could attach it to chicken wire or plastic garden fencing, and it won’t topple over. Although the reeds are thin, they are still a good option for privacy and tropical screening.

4. Simple Upkeep

Reed fencing is one of the simplest materials to keep clean. Simply hose it down occasionally to prevent mold and algae from forming.

5. Maximum Versatility

Reed fencing is a quick and affordable way to add natural color and texture to any space. You can use it for countless DIY home improvement projects. Hang it on the wall, wrap it around a Tiki bar or attach it over a pergola. You could even use it to decorate candle holders for parties — the possibilities are endless!

What Is Bamboo Fencing?

As its name implies, bamboo fencing is made from bamboo plants. The poles are harvested, stripped and connected with a galvanized steel wire. Bamboo fencing is a beautiful and eco-friendly alternative to traditional wood or plastic fencing. The material is also exceptionally sturdy, with higher tensile strength than wood, brick, concrete and steel. Check out these bamboo fencing product features:

  • Style: Natural bamboo fencing is a must-have to create an authentic Tiki-themed design. The darker shades are more subtle to blend with any aesthetic.
  • Color: Bamboo fencing comes in four unique shades — natural, black, caramel brown and burnt. With options ranging from the traditional yellow hue to a rich chocolate brown, you’ll surely find a color you like. You can also use paint or stain to create your own custom hue.
  • Affordability: Bamboo fencing is typically more cost-effective than vinyl or wood fencing. While it costs more than reed and willow fencing, it lasts much longer.
  • Versatility: Bamboo comes in various sizes for residential and commercial use. Give your backyard some much-needed privacy with an 8-foot high bamboo fence, or use it indoors to make your space feel like a tropical paradise. Choose your favorite size and color to complete a wide range of projects.
  • Durability: If your bamboo fence is installed and taken care of properly, it can last 20 years or more, depending on your climate.

Benefits of Bamboo Fencing

There are many benefits to choosing bamboo fencing. People have used it worldwide for thousands of years, and for good reasons. Consider the following advantages:

1. Long Lifetime

Bamboo lasts longer than reed and willow fencing combined. If you want your fence to stand the test of time, bamboo is the best option.

2. Extreme Strength

The poles used to make bamboo fencing are incredibly durable. They can withstand years of wear and tear, especially if you seal them with a total wood protectant (TWP).

3. Pest Resistance

Like reed, bamboo is naturally resistant to termites and other backyard pests, eliminating the need for pesticide treatments.

4. Simple Upkeep

Unlike traditional wood fencing, bamboo requires minimal upkeep. A yearly cleaning is typically sufficient, depending on your climate.

6. Easy Installation

Bamboo fencing is moderately easy to install. You can do it yourself without paying a costly contractor.

How to Install Willow, Reed and Bamboo Fencing

Willow, reed and bamboo fencing come on a flexible roll that is moderately easy to install. If you already have an existing fence, that makes the process even easier. Installation is similar for all three materials. Here’s how you do it:

  • Chain-link fence: Attaching willow, reed or bamboo to a chain-link fence takes a matter of minutes. Simply unroll it across the existing fence and use zip ties to attach the galvanized wire to the chain-link. You don’t even need any tools!
  • Brick wall: Installing your new fence on a brick or cinderblock wall is a little more complicated. First, you must attach two pieces of wood so you can screw on the willow, reed or bamboo. Use masonry screws to install a two-by-four across the wall near the top and bottom of your new fence. Then, roll out your fencing material and use regular screws to attach it to the wood beams every 12 inches. If you’re using bamboo, predrill your holes so the screws go in smoothly.
  • Wooden fence: Attaching the new material is even easier if you have a wooden fence. For reed or willow fencing, simply drill it in every 12 inches. For bamboo, make sure you predrill your holes first.
  • Wooden frame: Without an existing structure, you must create a wooden frame to attach your new fence. Once the frame is in place, you can secure your willow, reed or bamboo the same way you would to a wooden fence.

If your willow, reed or bamboo fencing is too long, you can adjust the length in a few simple steps. Using wire cutters, carefully cut the wire at the end of your fencing. Remove several poles, reeds or branches until you reach your desired size. Bend the wires back toward the end to secure them in place.

How to Pick the Right Fencing Material for You

With so many beautiful and eco-friendly fencing options, choosing a favorite is challenging. Willow, reed and bamboo fencing work perfectly in almost any space. Consider the following factors to help you make your decision:

1. Style

Although willow, reed and bamboo fences look similar, they all have unique characteristics. Reed fencing looks like a thin version of bamboo, while willow looks more like tree branches. Consider which material looks best with the design aesthetic you’re trying to achieve.

Natural bamboo and reed fencing pair perfectly with a lush, tropical theme, while willow is slightly more neutral. However, bamboo comes in several shades that could work with a wide range of interior and exterior designs.

2. Budget

All three fencing options are cost-effective alternatives to traditional fencing materials like wood and vinyl, especially if you consider the time and money you can save by installing them yourself.

Even the most restrictive budgets can afford willow or reed fencing. Your backyard will look like a tropical destination for less than the price of a plane ticket. If you’re looking for the most cost-effective option, reed fencing provides the most bang for your buck.

3. Project Size

Another important factor to consider is the size and quantity of fencing you need. Willow and reed are ideal for large yards because you can get more fencing at an affordable price. However, you’re limited to 6-foot high panels. You could trim them shorter, but stacking multiple panels is the only way to add height.

Alternatively, bamboo comes in four different heights — 3 feet, 4 feet, 6 feet and 8 feet. If you want a tall fence, bamboo is the best option.

4. Existing Fence

Willow, reed and bamboo are simple to install over an existing fence, only requiring a few basic skills and supplies. However, if you lack a functional fence or barrier, the installation process becomes more challenging.

To create a bamboo fence from scratch, you must create a wooden frame. Building and installing a wooden frame takes time and a higher level of carpentry skills.

Alternatively, willow and reed are much lighter, so you can skip the wooden frame. Instead, consider attaching them to chicken wire or garden netting, which is much easier to install. Installation only requires a few spools of wire or netting and metal stakes. Drive the metal stakes into the ground around the area you’re trying to enclose, and wrap the wire or netting around the poles to create a fence-like structure. Finally, fasten your willow or reed fencing to the frame with zip ties, and you have a beautiful new privacy screen.

5. Climate

Extreme temperatures, harsh weather, humidity and other elements can significantly impact the life span of your organic fencing. Bamboo is likely your best option if you live in an intense climate. Willow and reed fencing are sturdy, but bamboo fences are more durable. No matter which material you choose, applying a sealant will provide added protection from harsh weather and UV rays.

6. Thickness

How thick would you like your fence to be? Willow and reed options are typically thin, while bamboo comes in several diameters. Consider the following dimensions:

  • Willow: Willow branches grow to 1/4-1/2 inch diameters. The size of the branches will fluctuate across the panel.
  • Reed: Traditional reed fencing is the smallest option, ranging in size from 1/8-1/4 inch. Jumbo fencing uses thicker reeds, ranging from 1/4-3/8 inches.
  • Bamboo: Bamboo fencing is available in 3/4-inch, 1-inch and 2-inch diameters. You could also choose split bamboo fencing with 5/8-inch slates.

Where to Buy Willow, Reed or Bamboo Fencing

Shop Forever Bamboo for the best selection of eco-friendly fencing. We have the highest quality willow, reed and bamboo panels in a wide range of colors and sizes. With our extensive inventory of fencing and other products, you’ll find everything you need to bring your vision to life!

Explore our selection of willow, reed and bamboo products today! Our knowledgeable employees can help you choose the best materials for your space — call us at 877-912-2244.