To build the tripod, you’ll need three pieces of wood measuring six to seven feet long. One foot of each leg will be buried in soil inside the base, so choose the length of your wood with your final desired height in mind. The width of the tripod pieces, however, doesn’t matter as much, says Greg Hulbert of Portland Nursery. “Plants are opportunistic,” he says. “They’re going to make do with what’s there.”
Try to find wood that’s interesting to look at, such as used lumber, old molding (both common finds at The ReBuilding Center, 3625 N Mississippi Ave, rebuildingcenter.org) or sturdy fallen tree branches or driftwood. (We cut old lumber into two-inch-wide pieces for this version.)
Once you’ve picked your tripod pieces, place them inside the barrel at equal distances along the inside edge. Bring the three pieces together at the top, finding the point at which they naturally support each other. This will probably mean letting the three points meet precisely, or crossing them a few inches down, creating a teepee look. Tap a small nail into the point where the three pieces meet, or wrap them with thin wire until the structure feels sturdy. Don’t worry too much if the pieces move a bit—the tripod will be secured firmly with soil.