“The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.” – Michael Pollan
Gardening, the act of meeting nature halfway, is a hobby that over 36 million Americans enjoy. But what should you do if you want to try your hand at gardening, but your backyard isn’t big enough for an actual garden? What if your apartment is on the 20th floor, with just a small balcony serving as your only outdoor space?
If you cannot dig in ground-level dirt, vertical gardening is a beautiful way to experience the joys of gardening. By making use of your available vertical space, you can create a gorgeous garden design that satisfies your need to connect with nature. Scroll through our best vertical gardening ideas and discover all the ways you can turn any small space into your own personal Eden.
1. Vertical Planter Garden Ideas
A vertical gardening planter can be made from just about any type of container or material. Basic clay pots, DIY wooden planters, a hanging basket, or even spray-painted tin cans can turn into useful vertical gardening containers. Felt panels covered in pockets are a lightweight type of planter that works well for herbs and succulents.
If backyard garden space is limited, design a vegetable planter box garden along your deck or patio. Stack each row of a vertical vegetable garden according to the weight of each plant, with heavy plants at ground level and lighter plants up high.
2. Indoor Vertical Garden Ideas
DIY vertical garden ideas aren’t only meant for the great outdoors. A small indoor vertical garden can thrive in a sunny room. A living wall planter for inside the home can be found for around $30, or you can buy a vertical garden stacking system for around $75. Turn an empty corner into a hanging garden area with a hanging planter collection filled with flowering and trailing plants.
An indoor succulent vertical garden is a popular feature in many homes today. Succulent plants are low-maintenance and come in a huge variety of shapes and colors. Some species actually thrive better in an indoor environment, especially if you live in a colder climate. Fill a frame shaped wall container with blue agave, purple prickly pear, red echeveria, and yellow sedum for a rainbow-like indoor garden.
3. Wall Planter Vertical Garden Ideas
4. Living Wall Vertical Garden Ideas
A living wall is a conversation-provoking feature in any home whether located indoors or out. A vertical wall garden can be as large or as small as you desire. Some of the most impressive wall garden structures take up an entire interior wall in the living room or dining area. A vertical wall garden covered in trailing, flowering, and climbing plants makes a stunning feature on your patio or other outdoor space.
An herb garden living wall in your kitchen or outside your kitchen window is a practical way to embrace vertical gardening. Having a vertical herb garden is the best way to ensure that you always have your favorite herbs on hand for health purposes and for cooking. DIY gardening also ensures that your herbs are organic and free of harmful pesticides.
5. Balcony Vertical Garden Ideas
A vertical garden or hanging garden is a beautiful, practical addition to any balcony, rooftop, patio or other urban outdoor space. If your landlord or homeowner’s association permits, plant lovely trailing plants that cascade over your balcony’s railing.
If not, mount a vertical garden planter to one wall and stagger several potted plants in front. Or plant a small patch of grass beneath your vertical garden so you can enjoy the sensation of bare feet on fresh grass even in the concrete jungle.
You can also grow an edible vertical garden on a balcony. In under three hours—or less with pre-cut wood—you can build a DIY vertical herb planter that only takes up nine square feet of balcony floor space. You can also use this structure to grow microgreens and lettuce for your salads. Find basic instructions in this video:
6. Creative Vertical Garden Ideas
With enough imagination, virtually any container can become a home for your vertical garden ideas. Plant tiny succulents in the holes on bricks stood on end for a unique colorful garden. You can use a ceramic drill bit to make drainage holes in thrift-store mugs and hang them from a mug rack. Watch this video to learn how easy it is to turn any ceramic container into a planter:
Create a wall garden along a blank wall or fence by hanging a series of small potted plants in creative arrangements. For example, use containers shaped like birds and fill each with vining plants or different herbs.
Paint a simple tree rising from ground level and paint its branches so that each bird appears to be sitting on a branch. Paint a few butterflies flying whimsically between the branches and add a row of colorful potted plants on the ground in front of your living wall mural.
7. Vertical Garden Wall Ideas
Even if you have a blank wall that’s perfect for vertical gardening, you may not want to cover the entire structure in plants as you would with a living wall. There are many ways to accentuate your garden ideas by decorating the exposed wall surrounding your plants. Paint designs on the wall or hang artwork amidst the plants. Nestle small sculptures or figurines between shelved plants.
Cover portions of the wall with horizontal wood fence slats and hang hooks to carry plant-filled buckets. Simple wood lattice panels serve the same purpose and work well with traditional decor. You can even use simple wood fence panels to create a freestanding wall that separates different gardening plots in your backyard.
8. Herb Garden Vertical Garden Ideas
A vertical herb garden makes a lot of sense, even if you aren’t limited on outdoor growing space. Grow the herbs you like the best as most herb plants are well-suited for vertical gardens. When choosing plants for your herb garden, get smaller plants that have a minimal root system. They fit well into vertical planter containers and require less soil, making them more lightweight.
Be careful to keep mint in separate containers from your other herbs. Mint tends to grow rapidly and will overtake the other plants in your vertical garden. Arrange your herbs in order based on how much water they like. Place herbs that prefer dry conditions—such as rosemary or lavender—above herbs that will benefit from receiving extra water run-off from above, like bee balm or spearmint.
9. Modern Vertical Garden Ideas
Modern vertical gardening ideas combine minimalist design with the beauty of nature. Simple, understated plants are best in modern vertical gardening, where the focus is usually just as much on the structure as on the plants. Growing plants with unusual shapes or colors is a good idea to add an exciting twist to uncomplicated modern design.
Many homes with modern interior design have a monochromatic color scheme. While your plants can be a way of adding a pop of color, you can look to succulents to create a black and white vertical garden. Shop for black-toned aeonium, “Black Knight” echeveria, white wooly senecio, and white-flowering gray lithops (also called “Living Stones”). Your monochromatic vertical gardening idea is likely to attract compliments from visitors for years to come.
10. Shelving And Stand Ideas
Gardening is a hobby that often includes a lot of creative recycling. Virtually any type of shelf or stand can be repurposed into a plant holder. An old-fashioned baker’s rack with wire metal shelves is ideal for a vertical garden stand, but any type of shelving system will do. Mix and match wood and metal structures to add a whimsical or eclectic flavor to your vertical gardening zone.
A wall covered in floating shelves topped with plants is an attractive vertical gardening display. If you are into vegetable gardening, you will need a sturdier stand than if you are planting lightweight herbs or flowers.
Root vegetables that need deeper soil, such as carrots, will end up being too heavy for some shelves or stands. Keep heavier vegetables on the bottom shelf, or put them in planters set on the ground in front of the shelf or stand.
11. Pallet Vertical Garden Ideas
A simple wooden pallet can be repurposed into a planter box wall feature or used as-is to house your favorite vertical gardening ideas. One of the more popular garden ideas in farmhouse style houses is to use pallet wood to build a gardening shelf or a series of wall-mounted bins.
Repurposing wood pallets is one of the easiest and most economical DIY vertical garden ideas. You can simply prop a pallet against a fence or wall and insert small planting containers into the gaps. For just a little more work, pry off every other plank and nail it to the plank above it to make simple shelves.
Paint a pallet-based vertical gardening structure or stain it to coordinate with other furnishings. If you have particularly rustic décor, it may look better to leave the wood unfinished.
12. Easy Vertical Garden Ideas
Vertical garden design doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, you can purchase a pre-made vertical planter structure if you need one of the easiest starts to vertical gardening. Another easy way to begin your vertical garden is to place plants in small galvanized buckets and use metal hooks to hang them from an existing garden wall or fence.
An old ladder can be easily repurposed into a vertical planter holder. Prop the ladder against the wall or fence, and hang baskets filled with small flowering plants or herbs. A wall-mounted trellis structure can serve the same purpose. Look for a sturdy metal or wood trellis that can hold brackets for potted plants. Add a climbing plant or two, as they will appreciate the trellis and help fill in the wall garden area.