PopUp Garden Review: Perfect for Gardeners with Limited Outdoor Space

This space-saving vertical garden allows you to grow vegetables, flowers, or herbs in a small corner of your patio, balcony, or front porch.

By Debbie Wolfe | Published Jun 21, 2023 12:30 PM

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PopUp Garden Review

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

As someone who has dealt with lower-back issues for more than a decade, doing traditional gardening is nearly physically impossible. For the past few years, I have turned to vertical gardening because it allows me to grow more efficiently in a small space with little to no bending. I have had the chance to test this vertical garden—PopUp Garden’s modular system—for the past couple of months, and I am genuinely impressed.

I’ve made my vertical gardening systems in the past by elevating planters or using raised garden beds. It’s cost-efficient but requires a lot more maintenance when watering multiple containers. PopUp Garden’s modular systems make gardening in small spaces easy and, more importantly, accessible for someone with mobility issues. With its compact size and square design, the garden tucks easily into a corner, creating an instant garden space.

Made from 100 percent recyclable and BPA-free materials, the vertical plastic garden is durable, sleek, and blends into almost any garden style. Best of all, little bending, reaching, or stretching is necessary, so this design can offer full accessibility for nearly anyone.

I planted herbs, an upside-down tomato, a cherry pepper, and petunias in my PopUp Deluxe planter. Setting it up is easy, and maintaining the vertical garden takes less than 10 minutes daily.

PopUp Garden Review

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

Rating: 9/10

PROS

  • Made from recyclable polypropylene copolymer plastic that is naturally BPA-free and UV-resistant
  • Sets up in less than 5 minutes; no tools required
  • Modular system allows a gardener to configure it in more than one way
  • Lightweight and easy to move to a new location

CONS

  • Bottom drip tray is hard to remove without having to lift the entire structure off first

Get the Deluxe PopUp Garden at PopUp Garden for $99.99.
Get the Essential PopUp Garden at PopUp Garden for $79.99.

What is the PopUp Garden?

The PopUp Garden is a modular, vertical gardening system composed of BPA-free and UV-resistant recyclable polypropylene copolymer (PPC) plastic. PPC is a softer plastic with a higher impact strength than standard polypropylene. As a result, the 17-inch-square by 40-inch- high modular garden is lightweight (less than 14 pounds when empty), easy to move, and weather-resistant.

The Deluxe PopUp Garden features a three-stand component with interlocking sections, a planter for the top insert, a drip tray, and a four-pack of side trays. The Essential version is similar to the Deluxe, but it only comes with a two-pack side tray. The top planter insert also features a large planting hole on the center bottom for growing a compact plant variety, such as cherry tomatoes, upside down.

The PopUp Garden fits snugly on a patio, porch, or balcony corner, or directly in the middle if you prefer. The portable garden needs less than 2 square feet of floor space. The removable drip tray catches excess water from the main planter, and it takes only 25 quarts of container soil to fill up the Essential model and 50 quarts for the Deluxe version.

PopUp Garden Review

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

Is it easy to set up a PopUp Garden?

The PopUp Garden takes seconds to set up and requires no tools for assembly. It arrives nested neatly in a moderate-size box with minimal recyclable packaging. I really like that the components were not individually wrapped in plastic. Once I had the box open, assembling it took less than 5 minutes. If you can stack blocks, you can assemble the PopUp Garden.

Is it easy to use a PopUp Garden?

The PopUp Garden is as easy to use as any planter. Filling the main planter is more convenient before you stack it on top of the tower. I used the large drainage hole in the main planter to try planting an upside-down tomato. It took some elbow grease to get the root ball through the planting hole, but once I did, it stayed in place.

Potting up the side trays and top of the central planter is simple. The only issue I had was with the drip tray. It’s hard to remove from the base without spilling water that it catches from the central planter. The only way to do it neatly is to move the entire planter off the drip tray. Also, the drip tray does not catch all the water that seeps out of the side planters. I recommend placing the planter only on surfaces that can handle moisture without sustaining damage.

How comfortable is it to use the PopUp Garden?

The vertical garden comes up to just above chest height for me. That height makes it comfortable to maintain the planter without bending. The beauty of this planter system is that the user can decide where to place the side trays; they can hang off the middle or lower tier.

Since I have the Deluxe model, which comes with four trays, I opted to hang two on the middle tier and two on the bottom. Of course, growing in trays at the bottom requires some bending. However, I planted them before placing them on the tower. Watering the side trays requires limited bending, and it’s easy enough to pull up a chair and sit if I need to deadhead flowers from the bottom tier.

PopUp Garden Review

Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

Is this vertical planter right for you?

The PopUp Garden vertical planter is ideal for anyone with limited growing space and mobility issues. Although I have plenty of outdoor garden space, this system allows me to grow some of my favorite plants closer to where I need them. It’s attractive, easy to use, and fits nicely in corners or small spaces.

The PopUp Garden is significantly less expensive than similar vertical gardening or hydroponic systems and requires less maintenance. I love that it’s lightweight but durable and easy to move to any location I see fit. I wholeheartedly recommend this system for anyone with back pain or as a gift for a loved one who wants to get outdoors to garden but lacks the space or flexibility.

Get the Deluxe PopUp Garden at PopUp Garden for $99.99.
Get the Essential PopUp Garden at PopUp Garden for $79.99.

Meet the Tester

Debbie Wolfe is a photographer, author, and freelance writer in various niches. She has contributed hundreds of home, garden, and crafting articles and DIY tutorials for leading media outlets and retailers, including HGTV, Real Simple, Forbes Advisor, The Spruce, The Home Depot, Walmart, and Mother Earth News. She is the author of two DIY books: Do-It-Yourself Garden Projects and Crafts and Crafting with Herbs, from Skyhorse Publishing. Her testing approach is straightforward and budget-minded.