12 Vertical Gardening Ideas

vertical gardening pallet with pots
  • 2-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 0-300

Vertical gardening offers the same delicious and beautiful benefits of long garden beds or raised boxes. However, vertical gardening is much more compact, making better use of space inside or outside the home. That means it’s a valuable option for urban gardeners and can even be used in conjunction with tiny living lifestyles.

Even better, vertical gardens can be constructed in a variety of ways, most of which are very budget friendly. Here are some ideas to inspire, but use your creativity based on supplies you may already have around the house.

A word of caution—depending on the style of vertical garden you choose, water may escape and cause damage to the surrounding structure, such as wall paneling or wood fence planks. Consider the backdrop to your garden during the planning stage and provide a barrier as needed.

1. Pallets

vertical garden in old pallet

Wood pallets are a prebuilt way to create an instant vertical garden. Simply position the pallet in a way that allows you to fill the compartments with dirt and seeds or flowers. You may need to add a board along the bottom of each section to hold dirt. Alternately, use peat moss to support the dirt inside the layers.

A wood pallet can also provide a strong foundation if you choose to mount potted plants to the front instead. Just be sure to either mount the pallet to another surface or angle it backwards to avoid toppling over with the weight of the pots and plants.

2. PVC Pipes

rows of lettuce in pvc irrigation pipes

Long pipes are a durable way to grow plants. To convert them into a garden, cut them lengthwise, creating a trough. Put a few holes in the bottom for drainage. Mount the trough to a fence. You can create a taller vertical garden by mounting one above another up the fence. Create fun looks by angling them to “pour” into each other.

3. Tin Cans

tin can herb planters

Easy to come by if you use soft pet food, canned tomatoes, or coffee, tin cans are versatile and durable. Clean them off for their natural shine, or paint them all the same colors or rainbow of shades for a vibrant or subdued look of your choice.

Again, provide drainage and match plants with depth requirements suitable for the cans you’re using. You can easily mount cans to a board or directly to a fence or wall.

4. Clay Pots

vertical garden of plants in clay pots

Pots are naturally made for plants—suitable for a variety of options from herbs to colorful flowers. While it’s more difficult to drill through clay pots without risking cracks and breaking, they can be fitted into holes in shelves or mounted with a hose clamp. The clay material is easy to personalize with color to match your theme, too.

5. Shoe Organizers

hanging fabric shoe organizer

One ready-made option for small plants is a pocket-style shoe organizer. Simply choose the fabric that appeals to you and hang it. Then stuff the pockets with dirt and seeds or plants.

6. Mason Jars

plants in mason jars

Jars are another strong material to house the plants in your vertical garden. Again, shelving or hose clamps are stable options to support the glass jars. Have fun with paint to add color and use labels to keep things organized.

7. Wood Boxes

plants in tin pots and wood boxes mounted on a wall

If you enjoy woodworking, there are endless ways to incorporate the material into a vertical garden design. Create structure with a criss-cross of 1x2 boards or frame in a vertical succulent garden. For a prefabricated option, the easiest way to use wood is with crates or boxes mounted with a tiered effect.

8. Hanging Plants

hanging plants under a row of lights

Any type of hanging plant is considered vertical, but there are a variety of ways to turn that idea into a garden. For example, a curtain-rod style wall mount allows you to attach hanging pots using rope wrapped around the dowel or rod. Alternately, you can dangle chains vertically and use hooks to attach hanging pots.

9. Ammo Boxes

flower plants in an ammo box

Looking around your house, you might find eclectic options in unlikely objects. Metal ammo boxes, for example, can be mounted to a fence, wall, or board in any pattern you desire for a unique vertical presentation.

10. Chain Link Fences

plants hanging on a metal fence

Instead of wood, if you have a chain link fence, you can mount pots of any style using heavy gauge wire or hose clamps. Wrap the wire or clamp around the pot and through a gap in the fence to secure it in place.

11. Bookshelves

plants on a bright white set of shelves

Instead of having a single row of pots on a single shelf, use the same idea to create a vertical garden. Each shelf should have grooves to support the pots of your choosing. Attach the shelves vertically with room for plants to grow in between using ropes, chains, or cables that go through the boards from top to bottom.

12. Gutters

strawberries growing in metal gutters

Old (or new) gutters are another easy option. Similar to the PVC pipes above, gutters allow you to skip the cutting step, since they're already in a trough design. Simply mount and fill them for rows of bountiful garden goodness.