Vertical Gardens – Living Walls – Green Wall Planters
Vertical gardens make more use of available space by growing vegetables, flowers and herbs up a wall instead of taking up lots of growing space on the ground.
I speak to people all the time who admire my large yard and gardens but say “I don’t have the room to do this.” While a large yard gives you lots of space to garden, those with small yards can still grow both flowers and vegetables by growing up, not out.
What are Vertical Gardens?
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Vertical gardens are those that allow the gardener to make better use of small spaces by creating gardens on fences, balcony railings, walls and by using pre-designed vertical planters.
Vertical gardening is on the rise in a country where many homes are land challenged. But this lack of ground area does not deter a fervent gardener. They just grow up instead of out by using walls or special vertical wall garden kits.
Many nurseries now offer vegetable seedlings which are mainly suited to large planters. But what if your space is even more limited?
A solution is to build or buy planters that will house many plant types in one large vertical planter or individual planters that can make use of the vertical structures in your home.
These wall garden ideas take a small space and give you lots of growing room for many types of plants.
Types of Vertical Garden Planters
There are many ways to accomplish this type of garden. Vertical gardening just takes a bit of thinking outside the box.
Many areas of your home are just waiting for a planter of some sort.
These planters make use of your existing fence by adding planters to it either individually or in rows. This space saving type of planter is ideal for growing herbs, vegetables and flowers in a very little amount of space.
Watering is a breeze with these outdoor planters. Most fence planters have a flat back to them, which makes these wall plant pots perfect to hang from a fence or any wall.
This photo shows fence planters used on two pieces of lattice attached to a wall, but the planters could also be used on any freestanding fence in your yard.
Another idea using galvanized planters is an idea from Ron and Lisa. This creative project uses old style wall mail boxes that are attached to fences and planted.
Try this idea using a flat backed galvanized planter.
Tiered Wall Planters
These planters are an all in one planter unit with a flat back which can be fixed to a wall. The planters have more than one planting area to add plants to, which gives a lot of bang for the buck.
Some wall planters are made from wood and others can be fashioned in metal, plastic or a combination of materials.
The design below shows three planters with ornamental peppers, lettuce and fresh herbs growing.
See a selection of wall planters on Amazon here.
If you have room for an arbor in your yard, you can use it to grow hanging vegetables in the overhead area. Pergolas can also be used this way.
This arbor at the Wellfield Botanical Gardens shows hanging gourds under the canopy of green in the arbor at the entrance. Strawberries, zucchini, cucumbers and even squash and canteloupes can be grown this way.
Living Walls are the ultimate in vertical gardens
One of the most dramatic types of vertical gardens is a living wall garden. This type of gardening uses walls on the outside of your property or inside to house a collection of finely grouped plants.
The finished product looks like a wall of plants and is very impressive.
This living wall was a part of the Lerner Garden of Five Senses in the Coastal Maine Botanic Gardens. A freestanding cement structure about 6 feet tall was planted with a variety of grasses and flowering plants such as begonias and chenille plants.
Succulents are a popular choice for a green wall garden. In this living wall, air plants and other succulents form a spectacular wall of green.
Another good use of a wall garden is shown below. In this large vertical garden, large rows of leafy and flowering plants cover the strips between wood slats on the sided of a building. Shared from –>> A Bowl Full of Simple.
For the ultimate living wall garden, the pillars and walls of the Delhi metro in India were planted with vertical gardens in a bid to stop bad air pollution and an effort to release more clean oxygen.
Now that’s what I call a living wall!
Turning shoe organizers into vertical pocket gardens
I love this idea! Use metal or PVC tubing to surround a large shoe organizer and attach it to a fence wall.
Fill the pockets of the shoe holder with soil and grow your favorite herbs. I have a place on my back deck garden that would be perfect for this outdoor vertical garden in mind.
A hose attached to it makes the job of watering this large vertical garden easy.
These vinyl hangings have individual pockets which can be densely planted to cover the whole hanging and give the impression of one wall of plants.
Bottle Wall Gardens
Heavy duty hose clamps can turn colorful bottles and a plain wall into a work of art bottle wall garden.
This type of garden is more decorative than practical. For a larger pot, mason jars can be used instead of the slim neck soda bottles.
Use Stepladder Planters as vertical gardens
An ordinary wooden stepladder does double duty as a vertical planter stand in this idea from my friend Carlene of Organized Clutter.
The step ladder planter is even combined with a vertical bird house for a some extra eye appeal.
If you don’t have an old ladder handy, this vertical plant stand gives a similar look and is available from Gardener’s Supply Company. The retail version has long trays of pebbles upon which the plants sit.
The pebble tray on the vertical ladder plant stand will hold water to give off extra humidity for the tropical indoor plants.
Privacy Wall Garden
I first saw this type of wall used in my trip to the Venice Beach Canal Historic area. In this section of the city, the homes were very close to the canal walkway.
To keep their gardens more hidden, many of the properties used a front privacy wall garden to add visual appeal and privacy at the same time.
It is amazing the amount of plants that can be incorporated into one privacy wall.
Other Ideas for Vertical Gardens
If you can think of a way to extend your space, there is probably a way to add plants at the same time. Here are some more vertical garden ideas.
Hanging vertical gardens
In a hanging vertical herb garden, the plants are attached to a balcony overhang making use of long curved hooks instead of being attached to the main wall of the building.
Baskets of basil, parsley, mint, chives, cilantro and other herbs for a kitchen garden are all suspended in this herb wall planter, leaving the floor of the balcony free underneath them.
So much in just a few square feet!
Vertical Planter Stand
You can get the look of a living wall without a wall by using a vertical planter stand.
It is easy make one of these vertical garden stands with some wire screening and pieces of 2 x 4 wood.
This idea is one of several in the children’s garden of the Boothbay Harbor Gardens in Maine. The back had a single piece of wood that made the structure stand, much like a picture frame does.
These special planters are meant to be used on railings of decks or balconies of apartments.
Normally, there would be no room to grow plants but these specialty planters have a cut out on the bottom of a long planter to allow a small flower garden to be planted in the planter and displayed on a railing.
This beautiful planter was displayed at one of the cafés at Biltmore Estate and Gardens. It is lined with sphagnum and overflowing with succulents and flowering plants that like the summer heat.
See more railing planters on Amazon.
This is recycling at its best. Rain gutters were re-purposed into a gutter garden for strawberries, flowers and green veggies.
The gutters were attached to strips of wood on a piece of freestanding lattice and the display takes up very little space but houses dozens of plants.
Image shared from Bill McNeese on Flickr.
Increase your yield of plants by using multi tiered planters. These planters have more than one planter that is built into the top of the planter below it.
Topsy Turvy planters are another type of tiered planter.
A large scale strawberry planter like this one from Biltmore estate is another idea for cramming a lot of plants into one vertical planter.
This huge planter has lots of holes to add plants, so the sides are overflowing with succulents and the top is densely planted with ferns.
More ideas for vertical gardens
Here are a few other ideas for vertical gardening.
Skyscraper Garden Trellis
These wire trellises allow you to grow climbing vegetables such as beans, cucumbers and zucchini in a compact space. See them on Amazon.
If you want a huge amount of flower power in a very small footprint, try a flower tower.
These freestanding planters are made from recycled polypropylene and hold 30 plants in the space of one planter. A unique watering system waters all of the plants at once.
Another space-saving vertical planter idea is a stackable planter.
These five tier vertical planters hold stackable posts that will hold up to 15 different plants in the space of one planter. Make the best use of a small living space by growing your plants vertically.
Are there other ways that you have tried to garden up instead of out? Please share your ideas for vertical gardens in the comment section below.
Pin these Vertical Wall Garden ideas for later
Would you like a reminder of these ideas for growing vertical gardens? Just pin this image to one of your gardening boards on Pinterest so that you can easily find it later.
Admin note: This post first appeared on the blog in May of 2013. I have updated the post to add new photos, more ideas for vertical gardens and a video for you to enjoy.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Vertical gardens and living walls are an ideal way for those with small garden spaces or yards to still grow their favorite plants and vegetables.