A Gardening Project for Any Skill Level & Any Space

4 easy ways to DIY a vertical garden.

March 25, 2019

I fell into a vertical garden wormhole for the first time after seeing a Pinterest photo of a “living wall” at someone’s wedding. This was several years ago, and I’ve since learned that lush, green, plant-filled walls fall into a larger category of eye-candy, called “vertical gardens”—and boy, oh, boy, is it a magical corner of content. Just search #verticalgarden on Instagram for a preview (good luck not scrolling through all 208,000 posts).

While I’m looking forward to having a living wall at my hypothetical future wedding (it’s the perfect photo backdrop!), creating any sort of vertical garden—even a tiny one!—can be easy and affordable. Here are our best ideas for putting your green thumb to work.

Repurpose a ladder.

You most likely don’t have a spare ladder lying around, but look to Craigslist or local antique stores to find one affordably. You can turn the rungs into shelves, or use them as racks for hanging potted plants. For an urban space, consider a vertical herb garden—they’re equal parts practical and pretty.

Frame your greenery.

Instead of hanging another poster, turn succulents into wall art. You can freestyle this by planting your succulents in a shadow box lined with hardware cloth and a staple gun, or use a kit and follow its instructions. The most important things to keep in mind are letting your succulents take root for a few weeks before hanging, and remembering to water those little guys once a month (take it down from the wall and lay it flat before you do this!).

Pick up a pallet.

A wooden pallet is the idea vessel for a vertical garden in an outdoor space. Think: a wall of greenery that looks lush and a lot more complicated than it really is. It doesn’t have to be huge, either—grab whatever size pallet fits your space, from mini to large. Use landscape fabric to cover the back, bottom, and sides of the pallet (to keep the soil in!), and staple it into place. Leafy greens and herbs work especially well in pallet gardens.

Hang a pipe.

For a simple, small-scale indoor option, look no further than a rod or pipe, which you can hang with wall-mounts or brackets. Use twine or colorful cords to string it with small planter pots.

What's your best vertical gardening tip? Let us know in the comments!

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1 Comment

msmely April 16, 2019
For pallet planters, remember that there's a moisture differential where the top will be drier than the bottom, so put your water loving plants on the bottom and your drainage-loving plants on the top! This is less of an issue with frame-styles as you can rotate the frame (depending on your mounting options.) If you're using the pallet on a balcony or someplace where the fabric gets lots of air/sun exposure, you might have to water lots lots more than you'd have to water if you had it leaning against a wall. Talk to your landscaper-fam about choices in landscaping fabric since the amount of moisture loss will vary.