Vertical Garden DIY: How To Build Your Own Vertical Garden

How to build your own vertical garden

Last Updated on February 18, 2024 by Jason Nguyen

In the realm of urban gardening, one innovative solution has taken root and is rapidly climbing upwards – the vertical garden. A vertical garden, also known as a green wall or living wall, is a method of growing plants on a vertically suspended panel by using hydroponics. These gardens can be created both indoors and outdoors, making them a versatile addition to any home.

Vertical gardens are not just visually stunning; they carry a host of benefits that make them an excellent choice for city dwellers. They serve as a green oasis in concrete jungles, providing a touch of nature to our increasingly urbanized lives. Apart from their aesthetic appeal, vertical gardens also improve air quality by filtering pollutants and producing oxygen.

In urban spaces, where horizontal space is often at a premium, vertical gardens offer a smart solution. They allow for the cultivation of a wide variety of plants without requiring vast plots of land. Whether it’s a small balcony, a sunny wall, or even an indoor room, these spaces can be transformed into lush, green sanctuaries with the magic of vertical gardening.

Stay tuned as we delve deeper into this fascinating world and guide you on your journey to creating your very own vertical garden.

Basics of Vertical Gardening

A vertical garden is a technique used to grow plants on a vertically suspended panel by incorporating hydroponics, a method of growing plants without soil. This type of garden can be freestanding or attached to walls, and they are often used in urban environments where space is limited.

What is a Vertical Garden?

A vertical garden, also known as a living wall or green wall, is a way to turn a barren wall into a vibrant oasis of green. It’s an innovative solution for gardening in small spaces. The garden can be set up using various methods, including trellis gardening, pallet gardening, pocket gardening, or using specially designed modules.

Suitable Plants for Vertical Gardens

When choosing plants for your vertical garden, consider factors such as light requirements, growth rate, and compatibility with neighboring plants. Here are some plants that are commonly used in vertical gardens:

  1. Ferns: These plants are excellent for vertical gardens due to their shade tolerance and compact growth habit.
  2. Succulents: Succulents require little water and can thrive in vertical gardens provided they have enough sunlight.
  3. Herbs: Many herbs like basil, parsley, and mint do well in vertical gardens. They are light in weight and have shallow root systems.
  4. Vines: Vines like English Ivy and Creeping Fig can cover a wall quickly and create a lush green backdrop.
  5. Ornamental Plants: Plants like Begonias, Bromeliads, and Orchids add color and variety to vertical gardens.

Environmental Conditions for a Successful Vertical Garden

The success of a vertical garden depends largely on environmental conditions. Here are some factors to consider:

  1. Light: Most plants need plenty of natural light to grow. If you’re setting up an indoor vertical garden, choose a spot near a window or supplement with artificial light.
  2. Water: Vertical gardens require a good irrigation system. Drip irrigation or soaker hose systems are often used. Some vertical gardens also incorporate a hydroponic system.
  3. Temperature and Humidity: The ideal temperature and humidity depend on the plants you’re growing. Most indoor plants prefer temperatures between 60-75°F (15-24°C) and humidity levels of 40-60%.
  4. Nutrients: Since vertical gardens often use soil-less growing mediums, you’ll need to provide nutrients through a liquid fertilizer.

Materials Needed for a Vertical Garden

Creating a vertical garden requires some essential tools and materials. Here’s a list to get you started:

Essential Tools and Materials

  1. Vertical garden panel or container: This could be a pre-made vertical garden wall panel, a pallet, or even a shoe organizer. The choice depends on your budget, available space, and personal preference.
  2. Plants: Choose plants based on the light, temperature, and humidity conditions of your space, as well as their compatibility with each other.
  3. Growing medium: Depending on your setup, you may need potting soil or a soil-less growing medium like coconut coir or perlite.
  4. Irrigation system: This could be as simple as a watering can if you have a small indoor garden. For larger outdoor gardens, you might need a drip irrigation system or a soaker hose.
  5. Drainage system: Consider how excess water will drain from your vertical garden. Some panels come with built-in drainage systems.
  6. Fertilizer: Liquid fertilizer is often used in vertical gardens because it’s easy to apply through the irrigation system.
  7. Gardening Tools: Basic gardening tools like a trowel, pruning shears, and gloves will come in handy.
  8. Mounting hardware: Depending on your setup, you may need hooks, nails, or brackets to secure your vertical garden to the wall.

Where to Purchase These Materials

Most of these items can be found at local garden centers or home improvement stores. For a wider selection, you might want to check out online retailers. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Amazon: Amazon has a wide variety of vertical gardening supplies, from pre-made panels to individual plants.
  2. Etsy: Etsy is a great place to find unique and handmade vertical garden containers.
  3. Home Depot or Lowe’s: These home improvement stores carry a range of gardening supplies, including vertical garden panels and tools.
  4. Local Nurseries: Local nurseries are often the best place to find plants. The staff can also provide valuable advice on plant selection and care.
  5. Gardening Supply Websites: Websites like Gardener’s Supply Company and Green Wall Supply offer a wide range of products specifically for vertical gardening.

Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Vertical Garden

Creating a vertical garden is an exciting project that can transform any space into a vibrant, green oasis. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started:

Step 1: Choosing the Right Location

The location of your vertical garden is crucial. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure, ease of watering, and suitability for the plants you want to grow. Outdoor gardens will need a sturdy wall that can handle the weight, while indoor gardens should be near a window or a light source.

Step 2: Preparing the Wall or Structure for the Garden

If you’re attaching your garden to a wall, make sure it’s strong enough to support the weight of the plants and the growing medium. You may need to install a trellis or some other type of support structure. Consider using a waterproof barrier between the wall and the garden to prevent water damage.

Step 3: Setting Up the Irrigation System

Vertical gardens require regular watering due to their vertical nature. Drip irrigation systems are a popular choice as they deliver water directly to the plant roots. For indoor gardens or smaller installations, a simple hand watering method may suffice.

Step 4: Installing the Planters or Pockets

There are various options for housing your plants, from pre-made vertical garden panels to DIY solutions like fabric pockets or repurposed pallets. Securely attach your chosen planters to your support structure, making sure there’s enough space for the plants to grow.

Step 5: Selecting and Planting the Plants

Choose plants that are suitable for your climate, light conditions, and the orientation of your garden. It’s a good idea to mix different types of plants to create visual interest. When planting, ensure the roots are well covered with the growing medium.

Step 6: Maintenance Tips for Your Vertical Garden

Regular maintenance is key to a thriving vertical garden. Keep an eye on the health of your plants and remove any that are diseased or dying. Prune regularly to maintain shape and control growth. Check the irrigation system frequently to ensure it’s working properly.

A Creative Alternative for Tiny Crates

Benefits of Having a Vertical Garden

Vertical gardens, also known as green walls or living walls, are not just a trend in modern landscaping, but they also offer numerous benefits. Here’s a look at some of the advantages of having a vertical garden:

Space Saving

One of the most significant advantages of vertical gardens is their space efficiency. They’re perfect for urban environments where space is at a premium. A vertical garden allows you to grow a variety of plants in a small area, opening up opportunities for gardening in apartments, small yards, balconies, and even office spaces.

Improving Air Quality

Plants naturally absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, improving the air quality around them. But they also absorb other harmful toxins present in the air, making vertical gardens an excellent option for improving indoor air quality.

Enhancing Aesthetics

Vertical gardens can transform a dull, lifeless wall into a vibrant, living piece of art. They can add color, texture, and beauty to any space, indoor or outdoor. The design possibilities are endless, allowing you to create a unique garden that reflects your personal style.

Reducing Noise Pollution

Believe it or not, vertical gardens can help reduce noise pollution. The plants in the garden can absorb, reflect, and refract sound waves, making your space quieter and more peaceful.

Promoting Wellness

Being around plants has been shown to reduce stress and promote a sense of well-being. A vertical garden, with its lush greenery and soothing presence, can create a calming and relaxing atmosphere, contributing to mental wellness.

Energy Efficiency

A vertical garden on an exterior wall can provide natural insulation, reducing the need for heating and cooling and lowering energy costs. It can also help to reduce the urban heat island effect in cities.

Boosting Biodiversity

Vertical gardens can attract a variety of insects and birds, promoting biodiversity. They can provide a habitat for pollinators, which are essential for many plants to reproduce.

Common Challenges in Vertical Gardening and How to Overcome Them

While vertical gardens offer many benefits, they also come with their unique set of challenges. Here’s a look at some of the common problems you might encounter and practical solutions to overcome them:

Insufficient Sunlight

Challenge: Depending on the location of your vertical garden, some plants may not receive adequate sunlight, affecting their growth and health.

Solution: Choose plants that are suitable for the light conditions in your space. For indoor gardens or shady outdoor areas, opt for shade-tolerant plants. If necessary, use artificial grow lights to supplement natural light.

Water Drainage Issues

Challenge: Unlike traditional gardens, vertical gardens can have issues with water drainage. Too much water can lead to root rot, while too little can cause the plants to dry out.

Solution: Install a proper irrigation and drainage system. Drip irrigation systems are ideal for vertical gardens as they deliver water directly to the plant roots. Ensure there is a system in place for excess water to drain away.

Pests and Diseases

Challenge: Just like any garden, vertical gardens can be susceptible to pests and diseases. The close proximity of the plants can also mean that these spread quickly.

Solution: Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pests or disease. Use organic pest control methods, and remove any infected plants immediately to prevent the issue from spreading.

Difficulty in Maintenance

Challenge: Maintaining a vertical garden can be more challenging than a traditional garden. Some tasks, like pruning and harvesting, can be difficult due to the height of the garden.

Solution: Use a sturdy ladder or step stool to reach the higher plants. Consider using long-handled tools for tasks like pruning. Alternatively, design your vertical garden at a height that’s easily accessible.

Weight Constraints

Challenge: Vertical gardens can be quite heavy, especially when the plants are fully grown and after watering. This can be a problem if your wall or structure isn’t strong enough to support the weight.

Solution: Before installing your vertical garden, ensure that the wall or structure is sturdy enough to hold it. Consider using lightweight materials for the planters and growing medium.


Building a vertical garden is a rewarding project that can transform any space into a lush, vibrant oasis. We’ve walked you through the key steps: selecting the right location, preparing the wall or structure, setting up an irrigation system, installing your planters, choosing and planting your plants, and maintaining your garden.

Along the way, we’ve also discussed some of the challenges you might face, like insufficient sunlight, water drainage issues, and pests, and offered practical solutions to overcome them.

Remember, creating a vertical garden is not just about growing plants; it’s about enhancing your living space, improving air quality, promoting biodiversity, and even boosting your mental wellness. It may seem daunting at first, but with careful planning and preparation, you’ll find that it’s a project well worth undertaking.

So why wait? Start planning your vertical garden today. Whether it’s a small herb garden in your kitchen, a floral display on your balcony, or a green wall in your living room, the possibilities are endless. With each plant you add, you’re not just building a garden; you’re creating your personal sanctuary. Happy gardening!