How to Build a Vertical Garden

Vertical GardenThe design of vertical gardening systems are limited only by your imagination and desired building materials.

You can create your own design quite easily. I’ll share some ideas and a few easy projects to show the ease and versatility of doing it yourself. 


It’s possible to source out supplies to build your vertical garden right in your own neighborhood. Many nurseries have a free “pot” exchange. This is where people can drop off unwanted plant containers and then others can come and pick up desired plant containers for their own projects. This is a win-win situation. Call around and see if any of your local nurseries do this.

6″ Round Pots

If you decide, for example to use 6″ round pots screwed to a wall or screwed into a wood frame, it’s very likely you’ll be able to find these pots in a pot exchange for free. Many times you’ll be able to find larger pots there as well. 

The internet can also be huge source of free and cheap materials. Check sites such as Craigslist or the many local bidding and trading sites in your area. These sites are a treasure trove of great things for low prices. Use these resources to save money and find what you need.

Pop Bottle Vertical GardenPop Bottles

It’s possible to use 2 liter pop bottles in various ways to create vertical growing space like in the image tot he left. Just use your imagination.

3′ or 4′ Window Boxes

Another way to do it is to buy 6 smaller sized window boxes and screw those to an A-frame structure. This creates a lot of growing space in a small footprint.

It’s important to build a proper A-frame so it’s strong and stable enough to support the weight of the soil and plants. Use 2×4’s to build the frame and support the structure horizontally by using 1×4’s. This is also to make a small ledge for the window boxes to rest on as well as it will help stop the frame from falling sideways.

You can choose to make it taller to accommodate two more window boxes for more growing space but 6 window boxes will likely be enough especially if this is your first time gardening or your first time gardening in this way.

Another very simple way to create a vertical garden is by using PVC pipe that’s been customized to create growing troughs. This is great for growing all different herbs, lettuce, peas, beans, strawberries and many other small rooted plants. The PVC pipe is used instead of the window boxes but in the same way.

Note: It’s very important to use PVC pipe (white) and not ABS pipe (black). PVC pipe is rated safe for potable water use and ABS is not. Therefore PVC is safe for gardening and ABS isn’t.

When you’re at the home improvement store pick up some lengths of PVC pipe and enough end caps to close both end of each pipe as well. It’s important to keep the soil in the pipes. Without end caps the soil would pour out the ends and wash away.

Vertical Garden using Stair Stringers

Photo credit:

Stair Stringers & Window Boxes

This method is quite easy to do using two normal stair stringers from the lumber store. They make the base of support for a great tiered vertical garden. It’s also possible to cut them yourself if you know how to do that.

The width of the stringer and total height is up to you. Decide how much gardening space you actually want and then choose the number of window boxes that matches. I recommend 3 tiers for a patio or small space, then 4 or 5 tiers for a medium to larger size garden.

Share your gardening story and let me know how you created your own vertical garden.


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