Have you always wanted to grow more — more flowers, more veggies, or more herbs? But you aren’t sure how you can, with the limited space you have available.
You’d also appreciate a garden that’s easier to water, with less bending and lifting, and fewer weeds and pests.
And you could really use a privacy screen around the patio that is decorative, serviceable and easy to maintain!
But the growing space you have available in your small yard , balcony or terrace is limited.
The perfect solution is to grow vertical!
A vertical garden is one that grows upwards — mounted on surfaces or using supports — instead of spreading horizontally.
Vertical gardens aren’t a new trend — gardeners have used walls, trellises and fences to support upward growth and conserve garden space for centuries.
Today’s gardeners have created and shared dozens of ingenious solutions to growing a garden vertically. Here are 24 proven ways to grow vertical:
Hang Your Gardens
One of the most obvious ways to save ground or floor space is to hang your plants. Here are five ideas to use vertical space and get your plants off the ground:
1. We’ve all seen them — hanging baskets of flowers to brighten up a porch or entry. Use the same idea for hanging baskets of strawberry plants (easy picking!).
2. Ever heard of upside down tomatoes? Make a hole in the bottom of a container, and push the root ball of the plant through it, upside down. Fill the container with damp potting soil, and suspend it in a sunny spot.
3. Attach hanging baskets of flowers to the railing of your balcony or below windows for a pretty European look.
4. Go retro, and make customized macramé hangers to display your indoor or outdoor plants.
5. Build a set of shelves, each with four pre-drilled holes for a small pot to fit through, and suspend them, ladder like, with strong cord.
Build a Tower
A great way to go vertical if your space is limited is to find a way to create a tower of plants. Use any of these four ways to go tall and use your space efficiently:
6. You may not have to build a tower — you can buy planters designed to stack up to 8 high at most garden centers. It’s a space-saving way to grow kitchen herbs, strawberries or greens.
7. Make an outside flower tower by threading several 8 inch terra cotta pots onto a piece of rebar (pound the rebar solidly into the ground first). Alternately tilt each pot from right to left as you fill them with soil and your chosen flowering plants.
8. Create a flower tower for your front step with four terra cotta pots, ranging in size from 6 to 14 inches. Fill the largest 3 quarters full with potting soil, and plant just around the edges. Put the second largest pot in the center, and continue in the same way until all are stacked, filled and planted.
9. Get your home handyman to build a pyramid tower from wood, fill it with soil and plant with strawberry plants, flowers or herbs. Here’s how:
Create Supports and Trellises
Plants that naturally grow vertically, especially vining ones, are the perfect choice for trellises. However, you can also create a vertical framework to hold vertically-challenged plants. Create an eyecatching support system with one of these five ideas:
10. Build or buy planter boxes with an attached trellis for climbers like beans and peas or colourful flowering vines— a perfect privacy addition for patios.
11. An arched trellis covered with climbing roses or fragrant honeysuckle makes a stunning entry to the yard.
12. Build an obelisk framework from long poles or 2X2 cedar for climbing vine plants or runner beans.
13. Mount a series of V-shaped troughs between sturdy 2X8 planks, attach the structure to a wall and fill each trough with soil and herbs, greens or cascading plants. This could also make a privacy screen by sinking the supports into the ground.
14. Build a strong overhead pergola to define your patio, and plant cascading purple flowering wisteria or golden honeysuckle vines at its foot. This permanent installation will offer years of enjoyment.
Green Up Those Boring Walls
You can liven up blank walls or bare fences in many ways. Start with one of these four ideas, and make good use of that often wasted vertical space:
16. It takes time and work, but cordoned apple trees trained along a wall offer greenery, spring flowers and autumn apples to enjoy.
17. Buy grow bags or pockets (available at Amazon), mount them to a wall, fill with potting soil, and you have a vertical wall garden! The bags which hold up to 20 pounds of soil apiece can last for several years.
18. Mount several wood planter boxes to a wall or fence, staggered to allow growing room. Your herbs will thrive on a south-facing wall, like this one.
19. Mount sections of rain gutters along a fence for a perfect place to grow small herbs, strawberries, and greens. Close off the ends, fill with good potting soil and install a drip watering system for a low maintenance and weed-free garden.
Reuse and Recycle Upwards
And finally — here are five funky ways to show how inventive gardeners reuse and recycle almost anything. Use your creative talents make your own unique vertical garden!
20. Rather than throwing out an old dresser, place it outside and fill it with soil. Stagger how far the drawers are pulled out to create a cascading waterfall-like effect. Place supports beneath the lowest drawer so it doesn’t tip over.
21. Mount an old used metal gate or the parts of a baby’s crib you no longer need to a wall as a unique trellis for climbing vines.
22. Paint a wooden step ladder a bright colour and place pots of flowers or herbs on each step.
23. This old washtub, mounted to a stone wall and filled with an array of flowering plants, makes a stunning focal point.
24. Recycle 2-liter soda bottles as individual planters.
This link takes you to a bonus of 13 unique ways to repurpose them and help save the environment!
How Will Your Garden Grow?
Small yards, tiny patios and balconies need more planning to transform them into private, restful and efficient spaces. Using vertical gardening techniques can be the solution you’re looking for.
As long as you have a blank wall or a bare fence, you can grow edibles, annuals, or perennials with a vertical approach. The ideas and inspirations gardeners have found and shared are almost endless!
Take time to look carefully at the space you have, decide what you’d like for your garden, and use some of the vertical gardening ideas we’ve shared here.
Are you ready to use these ways to “grow vertical” and transform your area into a beautiful and green private paradise?