An artificial kelp bed simulates the natural plants with a grid of buoyant, synthetic rope, "planted" in the sea bed. Each length of rope is jetted into the sand bottom below the maximum scour depth. The rope floats upward to just below the surface or, if longer than the water depth, can simply lay over on top of the water - just as natural kelp does. The ends can be whipped to prevent fraying, or allowed to fray and provide thousands of interstices for smaller organisms. Leaf-like shapes could also be incorporated into the ends if desired, to enhance the looks and add buoyancy.