How to Build a Vertical Garden – Backyard Food Growing


If you have barely a speck of space then growing vertical might be the only option. Thankfully the design of vertical gardening systems are limited only by your imagination, available space and your desired building materials.

You can buy one in literally hundreds of different designs or you can create your own. I’ll share some ideas and a few easy projects to show the ease and versatility of growing UP. 

The structure in the image to the right is a very efficient way to use the space you have and grow many different plants. The one featured here is simple and inexpensive, it uses five window boxes on a frame, this creates quite a bit of growing space in a small foot print. It’s perfect for lettuce, radishes and Thumbelina carrots. 

If you have even less space than a speck and you have only wall or a fence, there’s an answer for that too. This is a pocketed wall garden. It will hold many plants and it doesn’t take up any ground space at all. It’s easy to use, watering is easy, it runs through from top to bottom for maximum water efficiency

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.

PVC Pipe Garden

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 on a vertical frame. It would work on stair stringers or on a fence, just choose the part of the fence that get the most sun. 

It’s very important to use PVC pipe which is white and not ABS pipe which is 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 section 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.

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Stair Stringers & Window Boxes

This method is quite easy to do using two normal stair stringers from the lumber store or it’s possible to make them yourself with a little bit of skill, space and tools. They make the base of support for a great tiered vertical garden using inexpensive plastic window boxes. 

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 steps and size 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.

This big boy is easy to purchase and just set up easily, this is great if you just don’t want any hassle and just want to get started gardening right away. I can’t blame you, I always want to get going in the garden, it’s never too soon.

It’s 6′ tall and holds 4 really big planters, they are sufficiently deep for growing lettuce, spinach, small carrots, radishes, herbs and more.

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