From Trash to Treasure: 6 DIY Vertical Garden Ideas

May 29, 2023Resources & Inspiration, DIY

Upcycling and Vertical Gardens

You might not believe it, but your home is a treasure trove of potential upcycled vertical garden ideas. With a sprinkle of creativity and a dash of effort, you can transform items that you no longer use into beautiful, living pieces of art. This is the magic of upcycling. 

More than just recycling, upcycling breathes new life into items, turning what was once waste into something wonderful. One of the most vibrant and life-affirming ways to do this is through DIY vertical gardens. By building upwards, not only do you save on space, but you also create a unique and eye-catching green display.

We’ll explore everything from the essential considerations before starting your project to a variety of inspiring ideas like pallet planters, hanging bottle gardens, and repurposed gutters.

Whether you’re a gardening guru or a green-thumbed beginner, there’s an upcycled vertical garden project here for you. Ready to join the green revolution?

Plastic Bottle Vertical Garden Allow You to Get Creative

Understanding Your Space and Needs

Before you start building, it’s important to take a good look at the space you have. Do you have a sunny balcony, a shaded wall, or an empty corner inside your home? Each of these spaces could be perfect for a vertical garden. Consider the amount of sunlight that your chosen spot receives each day, as this will influence the types of plants you can grow.

Next, decide what you’d like to see in your garden. Are you interested in colourful flowers, tasty herbs, salad greens or lush green leaves? Keep in mind that some plants need more sunlight and water than others. You will have more success choosing plants that are well-suited to your climate and the specific conditions in your home.

Finding and Selecting Upcycle Materials

The thrill of the hunt is one of the best parts of upcycling. It’s like going on a treasure hunt right in your own home or neighbourhood. Old wooden pallets, discarded bottles, gutters, pipes, unused shoe organisers, bed bases, and ladders – all of these (and so much more!) might seem like junk at first, but with a little creativity and some elbow grease, they can become the foundation of your vertical garden.

However, while hunting for these potential treasures, safety must always be your top priority. Be sure to check whether your materials have been exposed to toxic chemicals or treatments that might be harmful to plants or people. Pallets, for instance, are sometimes treated with chemicals to prevent rot, and you wouldn’t want these chemicals leaching into your soil and plants.

Cleaning your materials thoroughly is a must. Make sure to remove any dirt, rust, or sharp edges that could potentially harm you or your plants. Considering the weight and durability of your chosen materials is another important step. When filled with soil and plants, your garden can become heavy, so it’s crucial to make sure that both your materials and the structures supporting them can handle the load.

Finally, bear in mind that since these materials weren’t originally made for gardening, they might not last as long as purpose-built garden containers, especially when exposed to the elements or constant watering. You can, however, prolong their life by taking a few extra steps such as adding a coat of weather-resistant paint or lining the containers with a layer of plastic.

Don’t let these precautions put you off, though. The joy of creating something new and beautiful from old and discarded items is well worth it. So, let’s roll up our sleeves and start building your green masterpiece!

6 Ideas for Upcycled Vertical Gardens

Idea 1: Pallet Vertical Garden 

One of the simplest and most effective vertical garden structures can be created from an old wooden pallet. But be careful to use a pallet that hasn’t been treated with harmful chemicals. The first step is to secure a strong fabric or plastic sheet on the back and sides of the pallet to create a large pocket and prevent soil from spilling out. Next, fill the pallet with a good-quality potting mix. Now you’re ready to start planting. The spaces between the pallet boards make perfect planting pockets. Choose your favourite plants – herbs, flowers, or succulents all work well – and plant them in the spaces. Remember to water carefully to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged.

Discover two methods to create a DIY pallet vertical garden.

Idea 2: Hanging or Wall Mounted Bottle Garden 

Don’t throw out your old plastic bottles – they can be upcycled into stylish hanging planters for your vertical garden. Clean the bottles thoroughly before starting. Then, using a craft knife or scissors, cut a large hole in the side of each bottle. Be sure to leave enough plastic at the bottom to hold your potting mix. Add some drainage holes at the bottom too. Fill each bottle with soil, plant your chosen plants, and hang the bottles up with strong twine or wire. You can arrange the bottles in a row or in a staggered pattern to create a beautiful, cascading green effect.

This video shows how to upcycle plastic bottles to grow strawberries or get creative with these principles to form different designs and grow a range of plants.

How to create a strawberry garden using plastic bottles

Idea 3: Shoe Organiser Garden 

An over-the-door shoe organiser provides plenty of planting pockets for a vertical garden. Choose an organiser made from a sturdy, weather-resistant material. The first step is to hang the organiser in your chosen spot, making sure it’s secure. Poke a few small holes in the base of each pocket to help with drainage. Fill each pocket with potting mix, and then you’re ready to plant. This kind of vertical garden is great for a variety of plants, including herbs, strawberries, or small flowers. Remember to water carefully to avoid over-watering.

Use this video for inspiration to create your own shoe organiser herb garden.

How to create a shoe organiser vertical garden

Idea 4: Upcycled Gutters and Pipes Garden 

Old gutters and pipes can be turned into unique vertical garden planters. Clean them well and make sure there are drainage holes. They can be mounted directly onto a fence or wall in tiers to create a ladder effect. Depending on their size, these gutters and pipes can be a perfect home for smaller plants such as herbs, lettuce, or succulents.

This video provides a creative approach to using gutters along the length of a brick wall to create vertical gardens. Get creative to upcycle your gutters.

How to create a vertical garden with gutters

Idea 5: Repurposed Metal Bed Base Garden 

A metal bed base can become a standout feature in your yard. The grid pattern is perfect for holding pot plants or attaching small pots or containers. You could also weave a climber plant through the grid for a different effect. Ensure the base is secure, especially if you’re attaching heavy pots.

Idea 6: Ladder Plant Stand 

If you have an old ladder gathering dust, why not turn it into a vertical garden? Each step can hold pots or planters, and you can even attach hooks or shelves for extra space. Make sure the ladder is sturdy and safe before loading it up with plants.

Planter boxes for a ladder vertical garden are created in this video to make the most of an old ladder.

How to create a ladder vertical garden

Caring for Your Upcycled DIY Vertical Garden

Now that you’ve built your upcycled vertical garden, it’s important to take good care of it. Here are some essential maintenance tips.

  • Watering: Watering your vertical garden can be tricky because water will naturally flow downwards, which can lead to the plants at the bottom getting too much water while the ones at the top don’t get enough. Water from the top and have drainage holes so water drips to the plants underneath. You may Consider a drip irrigation system, which can be installed to deliver the right amount of water to each plant.
  • Light: Ensure all plants are getting enough light. Rotate your garden if necessary or consider using a grow light if you don’t have adequate natural light.
  • Feeding: Feed your plants with balanced plant food or compost. Each plant’s nutrient needs will be different, so check the specific needs of your plants.
  • Pruning: Regularly prune your plants to maintain the desired shape and size, and to keep them healthy. Remove any dead or diseased leaves or stems.

Enjoy the rewards of your creative upcycling efforts, and don’t forget to share your green space with friends and family. Your DIY vertical garden is not just a testament to your creativity, but also a contribution to a greener world!

Embracing the Green Revolution Through Upcycling

There’s something truly satisfying about breathing new life into old items and turning them into something practical and beautiful. By creating a DIY vertical garden from upcycled materials, you are not only creating a vibrant, green space in your home, but you’re also reducing waste and contributing to the sustainability of our planet.

Upcycling isn’t just about creating a budget-friendly green space, it’s about embracing a lifestyle that values sustainability and creativity. Every time you water your plants or see them thriving in an object that might have ended up in landfill, you’re reminded of the positive impact you can have on the world around you.

These DIY vertical garden ideas are a great starting point, but don’t stop there. Be creative, be imaginative, and most importantly, have fun with it! You’ll be amazed at what you can create with items that others might see as junk.

So, grab that old pallet or ladder, those empty bottles, or that unused shoe organiser, and start your green revolution today! Your journey to a more sustainable, green lifestyle is just a few upcycled planters away.


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