How To Create a Vertical Garden

by Jack Grover
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If you’re looking to maximize your gardening potential in a small space, a vertical garden is the perfect solution. Its stylish and space-saving design allows you to grow plants without worrying about finding room for all your vegetables and herbs.

In this article, we will guide you through the step-by-step process of creating your vertical garden. We’ll explore the different types of vertical gardens available, including options for containers and materials. We’ll also share maintenance tips to ensure the health of your plants.

By the end of this article, you’ll be equipped with all the knowledge needed to create a stunning and functional vertical garden that fits perfectly in a tight space.

Let’s get started!

Types of Vertical Gardens

Gardens can quickly lose their charm if all plants are positioned on the same level. Adding vertical accents breathes life and excitement into the layout.

Expanding your garden vertically can be achieved in several ways. Each method is unique and suitable for various plant types and spacing.

Here are a few alternatives worth considering.

  1. One popular option is utilizing a vertical container. This method involves planting your greenery of choice in a multi-level container system. It’s like having several mini gardens stacked on top of one another.
  1. Pocket gardening presents another fantastic option. It involves using a pocket-like structure that can be hung on a wall. Each pocket serves as an individual space for planting.
  1. Considering wall planters is also a great idea. These are simply containers affixed directly onto your walls. They maximize your gardening space while adding a unique aesthetic appeal to your wall surfaces.
  1. Creating pallet planters offers a rustic and charming vertical gardening method. In this method, gardeners use wooden pallets with slats to hold and display various potted plants.
  1. Shelves are yet another effective method of vertical gardening. By stacking multiple shelves, you can grow a variety of potted plants at different heights, turning a blank wall into a lush, living mural.
  1. A hanging basket system might work best for those with plenty of overhead space. This approach allows plants to ‘drape’ down, giving an enchanting waterfall-like feel to your vertical garden.
  1. Lastly, opting for a classic trellis provides a beautiful platform for your vines and climbers to grow upwards. A trellis can be all you need to transform a barren wall into a vibrant green space.
green covered walkway

Step-By-Step Guide

When you want to create a vertical garden, you basically have two options. You can either:

1) enlist the services of a professional company

or

2) embark on a DIY project.

The former guarantees a flawless setup with durability and proper functionality. Such companies bring experience to bear and can deliver exactly what you envision for your garden.

However, professional installation comes at a significant financial cost.

If you are conscious of budget constraints, a DIY vertical garden might be the preferable alternative. This approach requires some initial investment for necessary materials, but it offers substantial savings compared to hiring a professional service.

When creating a vertical garden, there are several critical steps to consider. 

Besides choosing the perfect location for your garden, one must learn how to build the garden frame and the backing layer. Installing an irrigation system and selecting suitable vegetation to plant in your garden could also pose more challenges than you might think.

Below is a step-by-step guide to help you set up your vertical garden from scratch.

Choosing the Location

green walkway

To find the perfect location for your vertical garden, establish what you’re going for.

Do you want your garden to be a wall bathed in sunlight or nestled in a shady spot? What plants do you want to grow there?

Consider the following factors when choosing the location:

  • Sunlight: Determine if your chosen plants prefer full sun or shade. Find a wall that provides the appropriate amount of sunlight for their needs.
  • Protection from Elements: Take into account wind, rain, and temperature fluctuations. Ensure that your chosen location offers protection from harsh weather conditions.
  • Practicality: Check if it’s feasible to grow certain species where you live. Research how plants naturally thrive in your area to select suitable options.
  • Aesthetics: Think about how the vertical garden will enhance the overall look of your space. Choose a location that complements other elements and creates an appealing visual impact.

Building the Garden Frame

Building the frame for your vertical garden is essential in creating a sturdy structure for your plants to thrive.

To start, you’ll need three pieces of 2-by-8-inch lumber. Cut four equal parts into 4-inch sections to form the frame, and cut a fifth piece to be used as the backer board.

It’s recommended to use rot-resistant cedar for its durability. If you’d like, you can add paint or stain before assembling the frame and let it dry according to the instructions on the label.

Next, screw two screws into the edges of all four corners to form your frame. It will keep your vertical garden stable to support the weight of your plants.

Adding the Backing Layer

Now it’s time to add a layer of tough plastic sheeting to the frame. It will serve as both protection for your plants and your wall.

This backing layer has two important functions in your vertical garden project.

First, it acts as an inner layer behind the fabric at the front. Once your frame is constructed, you’ll create pouches for your plants between this inner layer and the outer fabric layer. Doing so will keep everything organized and secure.

Second, the backing layer protects your wall from water that’ll be constantly running down your vertical garden when you water it each day. It prevents potential damage or staining on the wall surface.

When choosing a material for the backing layer, opt for rigid plastic sheeting that can withstand rough treatment without tearing. Look for something durable and reliable to ensure long-lasting protection for your plants and the wall.

Attaching the Fabric Layer

Next, let’s move to attaching the fabric layer to the front. This part of your vertical garden will house the plants.

The primary condition for choosing the fabric is its ability to hold water. The material choice is limitless, from special professional-grade fabrics to common inexpensive ones like canvas or felt.

An expensive material may render a polished look to your vertical garden. Since plants will eventually cover it, it might not be worth splurging on.

If you want to cut costs, opt for a canvas or felt. Though cheap, they are equally efficient in preventing water leakage and are durable.

Once you have your fabric ready, it’s time to affix it to the mainframe. This process involves stretching out the material until it’s taut and devoid of creases. You can effectively secure the fabric using either staples or screws.

Installing an Irrigation System

water dropping over hand

Installing an irrigation system is an excellent way to provide automated watering for your vertical garden. It’s a much more convenient option compared to manually watering with a garden hose.

It’s recommended to have several short bursts of water throughout the day for optimal plant growth.

You can purchase irrigation systems with accurate timers from specialized suppliers.

Alternatively, if you prefer a DIY approach, you can create one by drilling holes in plastic piping to allow water to drip down onto the plants.

Still, keep in mind that even with a DIY irrigation system, you’ll need to add water manually.

Planting

To ensure successful growth, carefully plant each plant in your vertical garden by tucking them into small holes and patting the soil firmly around the root system. It will provide stability and support for the plants as they grow vertically.

Consider the specific needs of each plant when determining where to place them in your garden. Some plants may require more sunlight or shade than others, so be mindful of their placement to optimize their growth.

Additionally, grouping plants with similar watering and nutrient requirements together can make maintenance easier.

Here’s a table that shows some common vegetables and herbs that can be grown in a vertical garden:

VegetablesHerbs
Tomatoes– Cucumbers- Beans- Peppers- Carrots- Cabbages– Radishes- Eggplants (miniature)– Basil- Rosemary- Thyme– Mint- Sorrel- Lavender– Marjoram- Sage

Maintenance Tips

Since the plants in a vertical garden have shallow roots and limited soil around them, they can quickly dry out. Therefore, remember to water your vertical garden frequently.

At the same time, it’s important to fertilize your vertical garden since the plants can’t pull nutrients from the ground like they would if planted in the soil. You can apply liquid fertilizer with a spray bottle or incorporate it into your irrigation system.

Fertilizing regularly will provide the necessary nutrients for healthy plant growth and help prevent nutrient deficiencies.

Keep in mind that some plants may not thrive or even die in your vertical garden due to their shallow root systems and limited growing space.

To maintain your garden’s visual appeal, it’s a good idea to keep extra plants on hand in other containers. This way, you can easily replace a plant with a healthy one from your backup supply when it dies.

Pros and Cons of a Vertical Garden

The use of vertical features in a garden is a creative strategy to break the monotony of a flat landscape. It draws the eye upward, creating an illusion of space, even in smaller gardens. It’s perfect for those who want to make use of vacant walls or patios.

Another advantage of vertical gardening is that it provides a solution for growing vegetation indoors during colder periods.

Using vertical space, you can still enjoy the benefits of gardening even when outdoor conditions are unfavorable.

Nevertheless, vertical gardens also have their cons.

The shallow root systems of plants grown vertically require delicate care and attention. You’ll need to water them frequently due to the limited amount of soil they have access to.

Plus, not all plants work well with the vertical planting style, so research and careful selection are necessary.

The Bottom Line

Creating a vertical garden is a fantastic way to make the most of limited space and add beauty to any area. Whether you choose traditional pots, pocket planters, or trellis walls, embracing the world of vertical gardening opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for your green thumb adventures.

Following the step-by-step guide above, you can easily build your own vertical garden and enjoy its benefits.

While there are cons to consider, such as accessibility and maintenance requirements, the pros of having a functional vertical garden heavily outweigh them.

So go ahead and start creating your own vertical garden today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of plants are best suited for a vertical garden?

Lettuce, cabbage, greens, potatoes, beans, tomatoes, peppers, carrots, radishes, and parsnips are all great choices for a vertical garden. These plants should be flexible and have similar needs to thrive in a vertical gardening setup.

How much sunlight does a vertical garden require?

Vertical gardens require a good amount of sunlight to thrive. Most plants need at least 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, so choose a location for your vertical garden that receives adequate sun exposure.

Can a vertical garden be installed indoors?

Yes, it can. It is a space-saving option that can be placed on a wall or even on wheels for easy movement. Choose flexible plants with similar needs for your indoor vertical garden.

How often should a vertical garden be watered?

Vertical gardens should be watered regularly to maintain moisture levels. The watering frequency will depend on factors such as the type of plants, weather conditions, and the specific needs of your garden. Monitor the soil and water when it feels dry to the touch.

What are some common challenges or problems that may arise when maintaining a vertical garden?

Common challenges include:

  • Proper watering and irrigation,
  • Ensuring adequate sunlight,
  • Managing pests and diseases,
  • Regular pruning and maintenance.

It’s crucial to monitor the health of plants and address any issues as soon as they arise.

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