Growing Up: 10 Inventive DIY Vertical Gardens

Spring is in the air and it’s time to get growing! Whether you’re working within the confines of an apartment balcony, a modest backyard, or an expansive ranch, a vertical garden provides new opportunities for growth. Vertical gardens use a variety of methods to grow herbs, vegetables, and flowers in a structured environment. While there are numerous commercial vertical planters on the market, it is easy to make your own by upcycling items from your garage or attic—or hunting for affordable finds at your local flea market. The key ingredient is good-quality potting soil and a planting vessel that allows for consistent drainage. If you’re wondering whether you have any household items that could be used to build a DIY vertical garden, here are 10 creative ideas to get you started.

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  1. Going to Pot


    Make the most of a small backyard space by covering up your worn old fence with these cheap and cheerful painted terra-cotta pots. A few hanging hooks hold the planters in place, and when they're filled with trailing sweet peas, pink petunias, and white alyssum, these pots will draw the eye upward, taking advantage of the vertical space in your garden.

  2. Great Garden Gutters


    Do you have some scrap gutters left over from your spring roofing project? If so, clean them, slap on a coat of shiny white paint, and add a couple of lengths of chain. Voilà! You’ve just turned those gutters into a hanging garden feature for your back deck or front porch.

    Related: 5 Things to Do with… Gutters

  3. Boxed Up


    Here’s a wonderful project to make use of scrap wood or even wooden drawers from an old bureau. Either grab some old drawers or assemble simple boxes from wood scraps; leave the wood as is or paint it. Fill with soil, plant your herbs, and attach the boxes to your garden wall. If you're feeling adventurous, create a self-watering garden by rigging up a vertical irrigation system.

  4. Wooden Slats


    Scrap wood—or a really large old plantation shutter—and a can of purple paint can make a charming vertical garden to house colorful annuals, trailing greenery, and herbs. The angled slats make it easy to fill the garden with potting soil, while a large open frame holds it all together.

  5. Cement Block Garden Wall


    This DIY vertical garden uses carefully placed cement block planters and wall components to create a unique feature— and hide the unattractive underside of a concrete front porch. This is a good solution in arid climates and a pretty way to showcase cactus and other plants that thrive in desert soils.

  6. Yarn Pocket Planters


    Check out this inventive DIY wall garden solution for knitters or crochet buffs who have some leftover yarn. Use large-size knitting needles to whip up a few big pocket planters. Line them with gardening fabric, fill them with soil, and add succulent seedlings or seeds. These DIY pocket planters can hang from a trellis or a hook, or attach to fence slats.

  7. Mason Jar Garden


    Don’t throw away those old mason jars once your canning and pickling is complete—use them to make an indoor or outdoor herb wall garden. Metal bands and screws hold the jars in place against a scrap piece of wood for a rustic look. Add your potting soil and plants, and you’ll enjoy inexpensive fresh herbs all year long.

  8. Walking Up the Wall


    Once your family has outgrown their crocs, fill up those rubber shoes with dirt and nail them to a garden fence or outdoor wall. This is a great way to add color to a dull spot, both with the bright, well-ventilated shoes and colorful annuals such as vincas, petunias, or impatiens.

  9. Pots and Rebar


    Old rusty rebar from a concrete project and rows of used terra-cotta planters combine to form this unusual but simple garden wall. This structure creates an attractive showcase for trailing perennials as well as herbs. For a more polished look, spray-paint the rebar black and paint the pots either black to match or white for a dramatic contrast.

  10. Soda Bottle Planters


    Instead of cluttering up a landfill with your plastic soda bottles, put them into service outdoors as wall planters. Cut an opening in the center of the bottle, fill the bottom third with soil, and plant a seedling. Arrange the bottles along a white concrete wall or fence, and consider adding color with paints.

    Related:  How to Paint EVERYTHING

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