by Matt Gibson
With vertical gardens becoming all the rage in modern gardening design, it was only a matter of time before using shelving in the garden—and creating garden shelving out of repurposed items—became a trend. Well, that trend is here to stay, it’s sweeping across the world of gardening, and we are loving every fanciful design and terrific tip that comes along with it.
We’ve been looking around for inventive and creative new ways to get your garden growing vertically, and we’ve found a whole lot of new options. So get out your DIY gloves and gear up—it’s time to get vertical with your garden. Keep reading for plenty of ways to get your garden vertical with DIY supplies you may already have around the house.
Rain Gutter Shelves
Rain gutters can be repurposed to become planter shelves if you affix them to a wall or fence and then put potting soil inside of the gutter crevices for planting. Just remember to drill drainage holes every few inches so that the gutters don’t become waterlogged the first time it rains on your new gutter shelf garden.
Using rain gutters to make gardening shelves may be a recent innovation, but the movement has already spread like wildfire. There are some crafty hobbyists out there who fashioned their entire garden schematic out of rain gutters. These gardeners call their designs gutter gardens and refer to themselves as gutter gardeners.
You don’t have to go all in like the gutter gardeners, but a blank fence or an empty wall could easily be turned into an extension of your garden space using the cheap, durable, quality material provided by the rain gutters. You can find rain gutters to make this gardening option your own at any home improvement store.
For some of us, becoming a carpenter for the weekend and fashioning your own shelving units from the ground up like some handy vertical gardeners do isn’t your idea of a good time. If that’s the case for you, it may be time to consider repurposing a household item, such as a ladder, to add a new vertical dimension to your garden arsenal. Simply follow these steps to create your own ladder shelving unit for the garden.
Either begin by purchasing a ladders specifically for your garden display, or repurpose a ladder you already own. Neatly stack some containers and pots on each rung of the ladder. Add a few sturdy hooks on the sides to hold a couple of hanging baskets for a bit of extra flair. Use your ladder planter to fill in an otherwise lackluster location in the garden, or display it in front of a wall or fence line that hasn’t yet become part of your garden design.
Old Chest of Drawers
Don’t just toss out old dressers when you purchase a new chest of drawers. Instead, lug the old one outside, and use some creativity and elbow grease to turn it into an interesting and unique garden shelf. Just follow these directions to make an old chest of drawers into an unexpected place to hold your plants.
Open each of the drawers of the chest, and stagger the openings so that the open width gets smaller as the drawers go up to create a cascading effect that will be the envy of all of your neighbors. Fill each drawer with potting soil, then, annuals, perennials, or edibles (like strawberries or radishes) on each level to turn the chest of drawers that once held your socks and pajamas into a living work of art.
Shipping Pallet Planter
There are lots of ideas thrifty gardeners have come up with that involve repurposing old items and turning them into planters. In fact, that’s all we’ve used in this list so far—a few household items like rain gutters, ladders, or old chests of drawers. This one is slightly more clever, however, as most folks just toss the would-be supplies out with the garbage.
There’s actually a long list of ways that you could put old pallets to use if you have the time and creative prowess to do so. Someone had the great idea of turning one into a vertical planter, and the idea has spread like crazy. It’s really simple to do if you have the right tools and the time to fix your pallet it up a bit before recycling it and turning it into a planter.
First, you will want to reinforce the slats by nailing some lumber, either one-by-fours and two-by-fours, to the bottom of each one for additional support. Then use a staple gun to attach black gardening plastic to the back and bottom of each shelf. It’s up to you whether you want to paint the pallet or add designs to it, but if you do, the final product will look a whole lot better than a plain wooden shipping pallet would look without a coat or two of paint or stain.
Stacked Up Crates
If you have a bunch of unused crates laying around, then you have the perfect ingredients for creating your own living wall or divider. You’ll just need to use all those crates to hold potting soil and garden plants instead of letting them pile up and continue to collect dust in the shed or garage. But before you start adding plants, so you don’t wind up with an accident on your hands, take the time to make your crate pyramid or living wall completely safe by reinforcing the stack with nails and wooden planks.
Shoe Organizer Planter
A hanging shoe organizer with big fabric pockets can double as a vertical planter. Each pocket is roomy enough to hold quite a bit of soil, and each pocket full of potting soil can house about one individual plant or herb.
Your shoe organizer planter can be placed wherever it can hang, like on a wall, fence, or doorway to create extra space in your garden getaway. Some of the best places to use a shoe organizer planter are indoors, not out. This vertical garden works great when hung over a door—like in the kitchen, where it can hold lots of fresh herbs for you to use in cooking.
Hanging Garden Pockets
You can purchase giant fabric gardening pockets on Amazon to attach to any wall or surface. To make these massive pockets into a vertical garden, use metal grommets and screws to attach the fabric pockets to your selected wall in no time.
With enough space for tons of soil within each pocket and row, you can grow a massive amount of plants by adding just one small wall section. Whether you install these fabric pockets on the back wall of a balcony or patio garden, along one outside wall of your home, or as a cheery window display, you’re sure to end up with space for everything you want to plant.
Stacked Wooden Boxes
Similar to the method of the stacked up crates we explained, you can build your own wooden boxes and make them into a stacked structure that can be attached to any wall. This vertical design will allow you to save space and fit more gardening into your garden area. For more specific instructions, check out the DIY tutorial by ManMadeDIY.com. All you’ll need to make this stacked display your own are a couple of standard tools, wire hardware cloth, weed blocker fabric, and planks of cedar in various sizes.
Videos About Shelved Gardens
This short DIY tutorial video teaches you how to build your own hanging garden vertical shelving unit that looks great and functions both indoors and out:
Check out this video to learn how to make your own hanging garden shelf out of rain gutters and steel cables:
Check out this video to learn how to build your own vertical ladder garden shelf: