Growing Up: 14 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 14 creative ideas to get you started.

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Leaning Ladder

This ladder design allows you to pack a lot of greenery into a small space. Built out of stock lumber, you can customize yours with as many “steps” as you’d like. Trailing plant varieties will look especially pretty in this planter—no matter where you choose to lean it.

Customized Crates

The different levels in this DIY vertical garden allow you to mix and match plants that require more sun with plants that require more shade. The upper levels of the planter protect and shade the lower levels, and the whole arrangement comes together in an eye-pleasing design. While the planter looks like it’s comprised of stacked crates, these boxes are built with stock 2-inch lumber, and can be customized to fit any backyard, porch, or patio.

Related: 15 Shipping Pallet Projects for the DIY Home

A Garden Wall

With some cedar posts, hex wire, and terra cotta pots, you can create a vertical garden than will double as a privacy screen. Hanging individual pots allows you to easily pot up or retire plants with the seasons. The hex wire support allows air to flow through the hanging display, keeping your outdoor space cool and breezy.

Pallets and Paint Cans

Recycled pallets and shiny new paint cans can turn a chain-link fence into a wow-worthy garden wall. This idea is perfect for renters or budget-conscious homeowners, who can’t replace a fence but want to cover the eyesore. The pallet wall attaches to the fence with hooks, allowing it to be moved elsewhere at a moment’s notice. After drilling some drainage holes in the cans, they’re ready for potting soil, plants, and a prominent place in your yard.

Tiered Hanging Baskets

This graduated basket design is simple yet attractive, and requires virtually zero effort to construct. Just thread and knot braided polyester rope through the corners of some sturdy woven baskets. Add potting soil and plants, then hang the whole array on a pair of strong hooks. When choosing your supplies, keep in mind that polyester rope comes in a variety of colors, so you can pick something that provides a complement or contrast to your plants for an extra pop of color.

Wire Mesh Wonder

Even office accessories can be repurposed as vertical planters. With the addition of coconut fiber liners, potting soil, and starter herbs, this mesh hanging file organizer transforms into a surprisingly stylish vertical planter to hang in a sunny spot close to your kitchen. Fresh ingredients for dinner will be close at hand!

Succulent Frame

Succulents require minimal effort to maintain and pack a powerful visual punch when planted together. Build a simple frame and create your own artistic arrangement to hang on any wall—indoors or out. When it’s time to water, about once a week, lay the planter flat and spray with a gentle mist.

Picket Fence Planter

Cedar fence pickets serve as the foundation of this long and tall vertical planter. A square planter box at the bottom gives the piece a sturdy base, and metal hose clamps make great mounting brackets for the tiered terra cotta pots above. Whether you choose to plant herbs or flowers, the wood slats provide the perfect backdrop for luscious greenery.

Repurposed Ladder

This vertical garden is supremely easy to create, and allows for lots of planting flexibility. Just paint an old step ladder, then arrange several pots on each level. Swap plants in and out as the season advances, or as your tastes change.

Monogram Planter

Add a personal touch to your outdoor decor with a DIY monogram planter. Constructed out of cedar, it will stand up to wind and weather, providing you with a profusion of color for many seasons to come.

Related:  10 Ways to Weatherproof Your Garden

Latticed Front

Vertical gardens can pose a challenge when it comes to watering. Tall gardens may require special hose attachments to reach, while some hanging planters must be removed and laid flat prior to sprinkling. This hanging planter design makes the watering process easy with the addition of PVC pipes that have been drilled with holes to deliver water to plants. To replicate this smart irrigation trick, install the pipes before adding the soil and plants, then add a wooden lattice front for a polished look that helps hold the plants in place.

Terra Cotta Cut Outs

Hung inside or out, this vertical garden has a balance and symmetry that makes it look at home amidst modern home decor. The planter is easily constructed with pine boards and 1/4” diameter rope. Cut out circles in the boards with a hole saw, then nestle a terra cotta pot in each hole. It may be simple but it’s certainly an eye-catching design!

Pocket Full of Herbs via pippa5

What could be easier than repurposing an existing organizer as a vertical garden? That’s exactly what you see pictured here: An over-the-door pocket organizer takes on a new function as a backyard planter. Fill each pocket with soil, and put a plant in each sleeve. The porous canvas material allows excess water to drain, thereby preventing root rot. Hang the cloth planter on a sunny wall outside and watch your garden grow!

Living Wall

Pre-fab trellises, and plant pots and hooks from IKEA come together to form a lush living wall in this outdoor oasis. If you like the look of the wooden supports, don’t confine yourself to hanging only plants. You could install candle holders or artwork the same way, or intersperse decor elements amongst your plants for a truly unique look.

Look Up

These vertical garden ideas prove that a great garden is possible no matter if you have a big or small yard.