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Materials Suitable for Building a DIY Vertical Garden

By on April 10, 2017
Materials Suitable for Building a DIY Vertical Garden

For an increasing number of people, yard size is a problem when deciding how to plant their garden. Downsized homes usually mean less outdoor area, making creativity a necessary element in garden planning.

When you don’t have enough square footage to hold the plants you’d like to grow, try going 3D and moving your garden up instead of out. Hanging planters have been around for years, but these vertical garden plans take that concept a step further.

Shoe Organizers

For smaller herbs, flowers and vines, a hanging shoe organizer makes the ideal spot for a compact container garden. Made of vinyl or tough fabric, these multi-pocket organizers can hold two dozen plants in one small space. Poke holes in the bottom of each pocket for drainage, then fill them with potting soil. Stick to smaller plant varieties so their roots won’t get crowded. Strawberries, patio tomatoes and many herbs do especially well with these planters, especially when hung in a sunny area.


The standby of the DIY world, pallets can be transformed into any number of useful home goods, including neat and tidy vertical gardens. For a rustic look that holds a surprising number of plants, a recycled pallet planter can’t be beat.

Pick your pallets wisely for the best results. Avoid those with rusted nails, staples and broken slats. If you’re planning to grow edible plants, avoid pallets made with pressure treated wood and look for those sterilized with heat instead of chemicals. Look for a large “HT” stamp on the wood as proof.

Staple a double layer of landscape fabric over the back, bottom and sides of the pallet, then lay it with the slatted openings facing upwards. Insert a row of plants in the space that will be the top of your planter, then fill the inside of the pallet with potting soil. Add small plants, tightly spaced, until you can’t see dirt anymore. Allow the pallet to lay on the ground for a couple of weeks until roots begin to grow, then hang your vertical planter on a sunny wall.

PVC Pipe

Leftover PVC pipes from previous projects are ideal for creating vertical strawberry towers. Using the same concept as traditional strawberry jars, they allow you to grow a dozen plants or more in the space of one ground planting. Drill 2-inch holes evenly over the surface of the pipe. Drill multiple holes in a smaller pipe to be used as a water delivery system. Place the smaller pipe in the center of the larger one, holding it in place with potting soil packed around it. Put one strawberry plant in each larger hole and water the soil by pouring it into the smaller pipe. The vines will grow to cover the PVC, creating an attractive accent for your property.

Rain Gutters

Used or leftover rain gutters make durable planters for lettuce, radish and other small garden plants. Drill small drainage holes along the bottom of each gutter, fasten them to your home’s aluminum siding, then fill with potting soil and plant. The metal will warm the soil, along with the plant’s roots, helping them grow. This makes for quicker growth, especially in the spring, but also means more frequent watering.


For a whimsical accent wall near your porch or patio, recycle your family’s discarded Crocs (yes, Crocs) into flowering planters. Those rubbery shoes with holes already in them are perfect for holding potting soil or small flowers like marigolds or petunias. Nail the Crocs right to a sunny wall. The holes allow drainage so the roots stay healthy and the bright Croc colors can make a great accent for your patio décor.

Creating a vertical garden doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money at the garden center. Using recycled materials is a frugal solution that can result in unique and attractive garden spots in your yard.

Frugal Village

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