Building a Vertical Garden
Updated on 12th January 2022
Vertical gardening can be a very interesting task for every homeowner. It’s an alternative type of gardening when you don’t have enough horizontal space, want to cover up an unappealing wall, or want to experiment a little bit. Some of the main advantages of having a vertical garden are: providing an extra layer of insulation, keeping homes cool in summer, bettering the air quality and reducing noise pollution. Learn how to create your own garden wall art by following our guide.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build a Vertical Garden
1. Choose a Vertical Garden Style
There are many variations on vertical gardening. You can use pretty much anything to build it – wood, pallets, containers, wall planters, pockets made of felt or canvas, hanging shoe organizers, old cupboards, etc. You can go at the end of the article to see some great examples. All of the options have their advantages and disadvantages which have to be taken into consideration based on the flowers you want to plant. If you are new at gardening or want some advice, you can always consult a professional gardener who will give you the most valuable tips.
2. Decide on Plants
Before you start building your outdoor vertical garden, you should decide on the plants you want to have. You can grow pretty much everything from succulents to herbs to vegetables to perennials and ferns. However, since you want them to grow vertically, you should take into account their flexibility. For example, herbaceous plants are the best plants for vertical garden and are more suitable than woody ones. Herbaceous are more flexible in the way they grow downwards because they have soft, green stems. While trees, shrubs or vines have rigid, wooden stems, which will just stick out.
Next, you should choose plants that have the same growing habits. For example, choose only all-sun or all-shade plants. The rate of growth it also important. If you put a plant that grows faster next to one that doesn’t, the more aggressive one will take over the space and shade out the other one.
3. Choose the Place
Technically, your vertical garden can be placed anywhere. However, the one thing you should take into consideration is the sun exposure. The type of plants you want to grow will determine where to start vertical gardening. For instance, if you plan to have succulent plants such as cactuses, you should choose a place where there is half-exposure rather than full sun or full shade. Moreover, you can always hang your plants outside in the summer and bring them inside during the winter. Once you figure out how your plants can grow better, you can start building your vertical garden.
4. Construct the Structure
Now it is time to build the structure where your plants will be growing. Depending on the style, it can be made of pretty much anything. Even old cupboards or hanging shoe organizers. A classic construction for vertical gardening, however, consists of three layers – frame, plastic sheeting and fabric.
Firstly, it is advised to use PVC pipes for the frame. Alternatives are metal, which will add additional weight and expense, or wood, which needs a lot of maintenance against moisture rot.
Secondly, attach the sheet of plastic to the frame. It will serve as a support for the fabric and will keep the water off the vertical garden wall.
Finally, attach the fabric to the frame. This fabric will hold water and will be the place where your plants will live. Anything that can keep water without rotting, such as basic felt carpet padding, is suitable. Avoid any buckling or wrinkles when you are done attaching.
5. Implement Some Basic Planting Practices
Make sure you familiarize yourself with some best practices in gardening. Using potting soil is the key in making a vertical garden since they dry out quickly. Potting soil helps keep the water and moisture that the plants need. Gravity is also an important factor when planting. Plants that don’t need a lot of water should be placed on the top. The ones that need a lot of water should go on the bottom of the garden to avoid drying out faster.
6. Start Planting Horizontally
Depending on the style you’ve chosen, you might need to follow this advice. In order to achieve an astonishing effect with your vertical garden, you should try growing your plants horizontally first. So, if you are using a wooden pallet or a system of panels, place it horizontally and let the roots establish themselves in the soil for a few weeks. Otherwise, planting vertically first will result in weaker roots. The idea is that the roots have to grow still. Some people use wire and glue to hold everything together. However, if you plant vertically first, you will see how the plants do their own work. Finally, you can gradually lift the pallet to a vertical position during those first weeks in order to secure the garden.
7. Attach an Irrigation System
Usually vertical gardens need more care and watering since they rely on less soil. The bigger the wall, the more need of a drip irrigation system there is. There are many options for vertical gardening systems. The drip system can be complicated with hoses and timers that you can buy from the store or simpler with planters or pockets with holes in the bottom for water to drip down. You’ll want a quick flow of water for 10-15 seconds from 3 to 6 times per day. It depends on the weather conditions, your setup and your plants’ needs. Most probably, there will be some overflow, so you can plant a flower bed under the vertical garden to utilize the extra water.
8. Have Some Extra Plants on Hand
Planting a vertical garden is definitely a harder job to maintain. For sure some plants will die out but that doesn’t mean you are bad at gardening. It’s just how it happens sometimes but you can be prepared even for this scenario. You can always keep a few extra plants to plug in the holes left from the dead ones. This procedure is especially easy when you use a container-style design where there’s more space between the individual plants.
Benefits of Building a Vertical Garden
Utilizing limited space
Vertical gardening is all about making the best of limited garden space by planting and displaying plants in a vertical manner. This type of small space gardening is especially popular in urban areas where people try to bring life to their tiny gardens and small balconies.
Vertical gardening maximizes small spaces in aesthetically pleasing ways. Typically, the plants would occupy a portion of a wall, fence, flower display or another rising feature. A vertical garden transforms these empty vertical structures by creating a lush combination of flowers, greens, vines or/and edibles that makes a small garden stand out.
Vertical farming allows people to grow their own food by reclaiming disregarded sections of their homes or outdoor areas. Growing food in a vertical garden is easy, effective, accessible and sustainable. Most small fruits, veggies and herbs thrive in planters and make the perfect addition to space-saving vertical installations.
Better air quality
Green walls vastly reduce the carbon footprint of a building. The plants filter and absorb pollutants and carbon dioxide and remove volatile organic compounds. Even a small vertical garden makes a huge difference when it comes to the air quality in compact spaces.
Exterior vertical gardens and living walls provide great thermal insulation to buildings. People get to enjoy warmer winters and cooler summers. Hence, the demand for heating and cooling services goes down, leading to vast energy savings and reduced electricity bills throughout the year.
Vertical Garden Design Ideas
Now that you learned how to create a beautiful vertical garden, let’s see some great examples of garden wall ideas that will inspire you even more to start planning. You will notice that you can go as creative as you want.
Hanging Plant Pots
Tray Herb Garden
Hardware Cloth Frame
Recycled Bottles Garden
A Hanging Shoe Organizer
There are many more ways to go in order to make your own vertical garden. Using your imagination is key with this type of gardening. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with your vertical gardening ideas and start planning now!